The power of a happy and focused dental front desk team

Since the front desk team is often the face of the dental practice, it's important that they be patient-focused and happy. These tips from someone who's managed a busy front office will assist the team with being organized and helpful.

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As someone who has worked at the front desk of a dental office, I understand how busy the area can truly be. Throughout the day, the phone steadily rings, you are constantly meeting with patients who are either checking in or checking out, you are researching answers to patients’ questions, and you may even be handling insurance processing. These tasks may be in addition to the other duties that you also have as a member of the front desk team.

When a front desk team member has too many responsibilities, all of these aforementioned imperatives will start to feel like interruptions. How crazy is that? After all, these “interruptions” are exactly why your practice exists and your phone rings.

Regardless of the endless stream of activity, we need to remind ourselves of the very reason we are here—to create the best experiences possible for our patients. We do this for several reasons, and the main one is that we genuinely care and feel a sincere compulsion to help our patients feel happy and satisfied.

By doing so, as front desk professionals, we can help the practice in the most impactful ways. Fully addressing and taking care of all patient needs will lead to an increase in patient flow and production. It’s not just about the doctors and clinical team treating the patients. We also have the power to meaningfully engage patients in order to keep the practice busy and thriving.

Here are three ways you can make a huge impact on your practice today.

Patients first

Putting patients first means that you address their needs as they are presented. If a patient is in front of you, you need to acknowledge the person without distraction. If the phone rings or you receive an email, you need to treat those as secondary tasks. Placing patients first requires the right attitude. Coming to work knowing that you can positively affect others is extremely powerful. Just a smile to a waiting patient while answering the phone can make a huge difference in how your patients react to you. When speaking with a positive person, most people can’t help but be positive too!

Ask for referrals and reviews

Just like the old adage, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. After a great experience, patients will typically share their positive feedback as they are departing. That is the perfect time to listen to them and then reply, “I’m elated that you had a great experience with your hygienist today. If you don’t mind, we would be so appreciative if you told your friends and family about us. If you would be so kind as to leave us an online review, that would be great. It’s very easy and I can even show you how to do it.”

Since they feel compelled enough to mention it before they leave, encouraging patients to keep up the praise outside of the office will help your practice even more. You should let them know that you’re eager to create this same experience for everyone in your community, and by sharing it online you can do just that.

I can’t remember the last time I visited a new business and didn’t look up their Google reviews. These reviews really are the most powerful marketing tool your practice can have right now. If your team needs help with this, there are plenty of companies that automate this online request to help make this task easy for your team.

Suggest products and services

While patients are inside of the practice, they’re what I would consider a captive audience. While satisfying their current needs, you should also be addressing your additional products and services to assist with their continued in-office care and out-of-office maintenance. As a patient checks out, the front team should be made aware of anything that was recommended by the doctor or clinical team.

A follow-up is easy and can be as simple as saying, “Your assistant mentioned your interest in whitening your teeth. We have easy-to-use trays you can take home, or we can set you up an appointment here as soon as this Thursday. What days or times are best for your schedule?”

Be prepared to give patients a few details about your products and services so that sthey can make informed decisions. This is a great way to enlighten them about all of your offerings. It will also inevitably lead to an increase in revenue each month.

As a front desk member, you have the opportunity to lead the charge in gaining new patients through referrals and reviews, as well as increase productivity and revenue for the office. These tips and ideas are just suggestions and can be easily modified to suit your practice.

If you’re reading this and thinking that it’s too much and that you’re bogged down with tasks that aren’t impacting patient care and happiness, I strongly advise you to work out a schedule with your doctor or office manager. Separating tasks into specified days and times or assigning them to other team members or outside contractors will help you focus on patient care. Remind your doctors that without this crucial mindset and attitude, the practice will not survive.

Maggie MccaffertyMaggie McCafferty is a sales and marketing veteran with eight years of experience in the dental space. She runs a boutique marketing consulting and coaching company called Magnetic, where she trains practices on internal and external marketing strategies and efficiencies while generating more patients and production dollars for the practice. For more information, email maggie@coachmagnetic.com or visit coachmagnetic.com.


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