A patient’s first contact with your office is by phone, whether scheduling an appointment and/or requesting information. If your staff doesn’t have the proper communication skills to create rapport with that patient, established or new, you could be in jeopardy of losing that business and any future referrals they could have provided to you. When we think about it, the front staff is the first line of communication for your practice and their demeanor is a reflection on you as the provider. This article supplies you with five ideas to help with choosing, directing, and overseeing your employees.
- Effective staff selections – Utilize the interview process correctly. Resist the impulse or pressure to hire “a warm body” and recruit employees who are the best fit for your practice.
- Proper use of scripting – develop standardized scripts – at a minimum – for simple but common situations, such as greeting patients, collecting insurance information, etc. That way everyone will be on the same page and reflect the standards you want for your practice. You obviously can’t create a script for every circumstance, but for the more difficult scenarios, think about using continuous training with staff and even role playing as a form of education.
- Focus on delivering total communication – pay close attention to the three main components of communication: what you say, how you say it and finally, your non-verbal communications. Facial expressions and/or body language can speak volumes and perhaps contradict what your words are saying.
- Analyze telephone communication skills – think about playing “mystery caller” from time to time – or ask a friend to call – and assess how your staff interacts with patients. This will give you an idea of training needs or other coaching that may be necessary.
- Take the right approach to training – for a successful practice, you need to provide your employees with the essential skills they need in order to construct lasting relationships with your patients.