The perfect veterinary receptionist
What comes to mind when you think of the perfect receptionist? Smart, friendly? That's what most people think of. Not me. I think of being witty. Not just friendly, but a creative talker. The ideal front desk person should be able to meet and greet every client who walks in the door with a 1,000-watt smile. What better way to defuse grumpy clients than to melt them with a grin? And while you're working your magic, be sure to acknowledge the next client who walks in the door with a smile and a "be right with you" so they aren't feeling left out.
Or how about being great enough to help the people no one else wants to deal with? The deaf client who is nice but hard to understand. The client who never has enough money and you always have to be firm with when collecting. What about the single guy who gets a little overzealous? He's touchy-feely and he lingers forever at the front desk chatting you up every time he visits the clinic. How about the important detail of knowing all the ins and outs of your clinic, from how your computers work to what's involved with a dog spay?
A great receptionist is also someone who can keep your doctors on time with their appointments and keep up the small talk with waiting clients when the wait lasts longer than usual. Or someone with enough guts and brawn to take one for the team when you have that client who's completely unreasonable, regardless of the circumstances—and unfortunately, this does happen.The perfect receptionist should be a team player who works well with others, cares about his or her position, and shows it's not just a job. You know, this sounds like someone like me! The girls I used to manage joked with me about being perfect. My response was usually the same. Being perfect is too much of a burden. I told them I made mistakes so they could see I wasn't perfect. I'm pretty sure they weren't buying it, but it sounded good to me.
So what does this boil down to? Who makes perfect receptionist? Consider these traits:
Not everyone may agree with this list. We all think we're perfect in our own way. But remember, it's not what we think as much as what our clients think. If the front desk is running smoothly, we instill confidence and trust as we serve pets and their owners.
Rachael Simmons is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and head receptionist at Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Spokane, Wash.