Curing Front Desk Syndrome
Sometimes working "in the front" can feel like banishment to a far away and forgotten land. It's easy to feel out of touch with the everyday business of the practice—not to mention the social relationships that build among co-workers. In short, greeting clients and answering phones can be a lonely job.
And an isolated reception staff isn't good for anyone—the receptionist or the rest of the practice team. There's often no one more important to the practice's image and clients' satisfaction than the front-desk staff members. A receptionist is typically the first person a client talks to, and the last person a client sees as he or she leaves the practice.If a receptionist is feeling cranky, depressed, lonely, or sullen, her attitude impacts clients' view of the whole practice. On the other hand, a happy, well-informed, able-to-answer-questions-and-help-clients-with-anything-they-need receptionist makes everyone look good.
Think your practice suffers from Front Desk Syndrome? Try these six proven prescriptions to help find a cure.
Prescription #1: One dose of attitude evaluation
Yes, the differences are subtle. But this terminology can indicate a barrier between the reception team and the rest of the staff.
A one-day dose: Try not referring to things or people as being "in the front" or "in the back" for one full day. Is it tough for your team?
Prescription #2: One dose interior design
"Often there are walls or doors, even entire hallways, between the treatment areas and the waiting room," says Pamela Stevenson, a consultant with Veterinary Results Management Inc. in Durham, N.C., "In fact, newer hospital designs tend to address this issue by developing more circular traffic flow patterns, with more open spaces."
Odds are, you can't rebuild your entire building to cure Front Desk Syndrome. But you can still look for simple ways to break down those architectural and design barriers. For example, consider re-arranging furniture or leaving hallway doors open to keep your service and technical teams in closer touch.