I was talking to a client recently and the subject of his front office staff came up. I was trying to get across to him the importance of having an upbeat, friendly and helpful person as his receptionist.
To make the point real to him, I gave him an assignment. He was to pick twenty professionals from the phone book and call their offices to get some simple information from the receptionist. Afterwards we had a chat about what he discovered.
He was amazed about the differences from one receptionist to the next. A couple were so “downbeat”, unfriendly and unhelpful that he had actually decided he would never use the services of those offices.
On the other side of the coin, there were a few receptionists that were so upbeat, friendly and helpful that he was left with a really good feeling after the call and thought “that’s an office I could enjoy doing business with.” All because of the way he was greeted and treated by the receptionist.
Then came the crucial test. I had him listen in on how his receptionist was handling calls from the public. It turned out she was fairly cheerful and friendly, but a bit lacking in the helpfulness department. In fact, she let two potential patients go without even getting their names and phone numbers. Not only was this enlightening for him, but more importantly, it gave him a way he could improve the productivity of his front office by educating the receptionist on how to be more understanding of callers needs and more skilled at directing them in to the office for the services they needed.
I highly recommend this simple but effective strategy if you are looking for ways to improve your front office. Listen in and learn. Then handle appropriately.