Front Desk Disasters: Show Me the Money

Front Desk Disasters: Show Me the Money

Rhonda the receptionist means well, but her customer service skills usually hit a sour note with clients.
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Nov 25, 2014

Acknowledge your client

Firstly I believe that all clients and patients be walked to the front desk/check out by their technician who should introduce them to the receptionist (sometimes in busy practices they may not have been the receptionist to have checked them in). Eye contact and a smile are a must.
I always engage clients regarding their visit and ask if they have all their medicines to go home, ask if there is anything they need me to go over prior to checking out. I want my clients to see the value they have received prior to check out.
I then let them know their treatment/visit cost, (they should already have known this as we give estimates for every appointment and have the client sign them).
I also set up re-checks at this time.
I thank them for their visit with us and let them know how much we appreciate them choosing us for the care of their family member. Offer to help them to their car.
I try to treat each and every one of our clients like I would expect to be treated.
Receptionists are the first and last face of your clinic! MAKE THEM WANT TO COME BACK!

Pay Attention

At least acknowledge the client--even if you are waiting for the back to put the charges in so you can check her out.

Especially with large invoices, don't just say 500 dollars--start off with "this is what we did for Fluffy today". Break the invoice down.

Don't back the client into a corner. Yes, you may require payment at time of services, but you just put the client on the defensive.

And finally, it wasn't all the receptionist's fault! Why wasn't the client given an estimate in the back before they started accumulating a $500 bill? Estimates should be commonly generated if the bill is going over 150 or some other number. If Fluffy and owner were the third, fourth or fifth client to be handed such a bill, no wonder the receptionist is being defensive!

Clean Up Your Act!

A lot of us see our jobs as just that-- a job. But positions like receptionist truly put the employee in the spotlight, almost like a performance. An actor on stage would position his or her body towards the audience. The same should occur with a receptionist. Perhaps the computer screen could be up higher, so when she's looking there, she can simply cheat her head a little to make good eye contact with the customer.

Her demeanor is poor, as well. When the customer was shocked by the price on the invoice, the receptionist should have helped her understand the charges, and also look for any potential errors (remember the old saying... "the customer is always right"). There may not be an error, but the customer should never be made to feel like their opinion isn't valid. Checking over the line items and explaining their costs and value (different things!) can help a customer understand why the care they received was so wonderful, and that wonderful care does require a realistic cost.

The receptionist also should consider that the $500 charge indirectly goes into her pocket in the form of salary! A friendly handshake, a thank you for visiting with your pet, and a have a wonderful day could have completely changed the customer's opinion of the practice as a whole, and made that $500 charge a little more worthwhile.

The idea is... 'was your service enough for the customer to return?' In my opinion, it wasn't even close.