Are you in search of the Ideal Receptionist?
It is often said that patients judge the quality of their dental care on the aspect of their dental experience they fully understand – such as how they are greeting, whether treatment delivery is streamlined and whether the promises made to them are kept.
Although many dental patients’ judge their dental experiences based upon how welcome they are made to feel at the practice, it is without doubt true that all patients base their impressions about the quality of their dental care upon the quality of those aspects of their dental care they understand best, such as whether the appointments were well planned, ran to schedule and whether the calculation of treatment fees was professional, accurate and problem free.
Practices cannot afford to side-line their ‘front of house team’
Receptionists often feel like they are the Cinderella of the dental team. This feeling of being a second class team member is furthered when receptionists are left behind in training and development activities, now that their GDC Registered colleagues needs to complete mandatory continuous professional development. As their GDC registrant colleagues build-up their knowledge, confidence and professionalism, receptionists feel like ‘just the receptionist’ even although-dental businesses are unwise to overlook the training and development of their front of house team, who ultimately project the practice’s image in their patient interactions in person and over the telephone.
Reception Training and Qualifications
It is not likely that suggesting the introduction of registration and mandatory CPD for receptionists (over and above the existing medical emergencies currently required) will be greeted with whoops of delight. However in order for receptionist to be effectively involved in delivering excellent patient experiences, some formal training will go a long way to turn policies and procedures for essential CQC inspected aspects of care provision into sleek and practical tools for exceptional standards of patient care.
It is undeniable that the skills and aptitudes of the reception team are hugely influential in building patient trust and loyalty. Selecting the right person for the reception role is the essential first step to reaping the benefits of customer care excellence to showcase high quality clinical care. The right receptionist with advanced skills will ensure the smooth running of the practice- and more importantly guarantee the all-important excellent patient experience.
The Ideal Receptionist
The right person on the front desk will effortlessly deliver excellent, caring and proficient patient administration services. However, it’s important that levels of service and care are well defined, to the extent that they can be consistently provided irrespective of which team member takes the reception role. For that reason reception and administration services need to be defined using the quality principles of standardization and communication to ensure consistency.
A good reception training programme should aim to enable receptionists to deliver consistently excellent front-desk services, whether they work alone, or as part of a reception team their training should cover:
- Reception skills and qualities;
- Quality and service;
- Telephone skills;
- Appointment book management;
- Building enduring patient relationships;
- Converting enquiries into appointments.
Knowledge and understanding is the pathway to reception excellence
The people working everyday on the practice’s reception desk need a clear knowledge and understanding of practice’s procedures, plus a clear understanding the roles of their clinical colleagues and most importantly understanding of dental legal and ethical responsibilities, plus an insight of patient and team psychology. This type of training can be delivered through a blend of formal training, and on-the-job learning. In this way it’s possible to gain real job satisfaction from this pressured and busy role.
Glenys Bridges – QCS Expert Dental Contributor
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