When people think about the most important parts of the dental practice, they often think about the skill of the dentist, the abilities of the dental equipment, and the speed of the dental hygienist to get the patients turned over quickly; however, a growing patient practice is also very important. To make this happen, a dental practice has to have an effective marketing campaign. To make this marketing campaign effective, they need to have a face of the practice that can reliably leave a good first impression on everyone who walks through the door. This is the job of the front desk receptionist.
The front desk receptionist is more than simply a secretary that fields phone calls. In fact, they are the first face that patients and business partners see when they walk through the door. Because they are the first person people see, they also leave the first impression regarding the quality of the dental practice. This means their etiquette can go a long way towards landing an important business deal and growing a patient base. There are a few facts about front desk etiquette that everyone should keep in mind when hiring a front desk receptionist because this is a form of dental marketing.
How Should a Front Desk Receptionist Dress?
While the appearance may not be important for phone calls, it is very important for everyone who walks through the door. Before even addressing how a receptionist should act, it is important that they dress in a way that is professional and welcoming.
A receptionist who appears too buttoned up might give off a feeling that is unfriendly towards patients who are likely nervous about their upcoming dental appointment. On the other hand, a receptionist who dresses too casually could give patients the feeling that the practice is too laid back and isn’t attentive enough to the needs of their patient. For this reason, it is important that dentists enforce the dress code in the office.
Ensure that receptionists use solid personal hygiene and that they look like a professional every day they walk through the door. Female receptionists should not wear clothes that are too revealing, and male receptionists should not wear shorts. It is also important that receptionists cover up and tattoos. While this is a personal choice, there are many people who dislike tattoos. This is not a good reason for patients to leave the practice. The appearance of a front desk receptionist is important.
Front Desk Receptionists Should Answer Phone Calls Appropriately
Before addressing face to face conversations, it is important to start with front desk etiquette over the phone. First, the receptionist should answer phone calls quickly. While front desk receptionists are occasionally pulled away from the desk, they should not let the phone ring endlessly. It is important that the first impression left by callers is that the practice values the time of people who are calling on the other side. Answering the phone calls quickly is important. Next, it is not uncommon for receptionists to hit the “hold” button if they are handling a face to face conversations.
While this is sometimes necessary, it is vital that the receptionist not forgets that someone is waiting on hold. Take them off of hold and handle their question as quickly as possible. If the practice is always busy and people are left on hold continuously, it might be beneficial to hire a second receptionist. Finally, answer phone calls with enthusiasm. Let the caller know that their time is important to the receptionist. Do not chew gum or eat while over the phone. The sound of chewing is magnified over the phone, and this can discourage many people from scheduling an appointment.
Work with Receptionists on How to Deal With Certain Customers
Face to face conversations are arguably the most important part of the receptionist’s job and a part of dental marketing. While most customers are largely pleasant people who are going to treat the receptionist with respect, there are always a few customers who are going to come in anxious or aggravated. It is not uncommon for an angry customer to come in who is upset with some part of the practice. It is important to teach the receptionist about ways to calm down angry customers using phrases such as “I’m sorry this happened to you” or “let me see how I can fix this.” Do not make false promises; however, let the customer know that the practice cares and show some emotion to help them calm down. Sometimes, patients will come in anxious about their upcoming treatment.
Teach the receptionist ways to address their anxiety by giving them pamphlets that they can use to read and educate themselves about their upcoming treatment. This is a great way to alleviate some of their fears. Finally, make sure that receptionists know when to ask for a dentist in the back. There are some questions that the receptionist is not qualified to answer. Do not let the receptionist give out false information if they receive a question that is above their head.
Receptionists Handle Electronic Communication
With the use of practice information being found online and on websites for dentists. More and more dental practices are handling patient correspondence by email because there are many patients who do not have time to take a phone call or cannot understand the person on the other end of the line.
An email is a vital form of dental marketing communication, and front desk receptionists must be skilled in their email communication as well. Remember to start every email with “Dear” or “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Do not start an email with “Hey,” as this is far too casual for a professional correspondence. Remember to close every email in a professional manner such as “Sincerely.” The email should be written in a professional manner using proper grammar. Finally, preach to the front desk receptionist that the emails should be returned promptly. Part of front desk etiquette involves making sure that people know the practice cares about their needs. Responding to emails quickly and efficiently is important.
A Front Desk Receptionist Should Handle Social Media Campaigns Appropriately
One of the more popular dental marketing ideas involves the front desk receptionist handling the social media campaigns. Dental marketing strategies have evolved, and social media is a great way to communicate with patients about deals and new hires in practice; however, make sure that the front desk receptionist is putting appropriate information on the platform. It is important to remember that social media is a professional form of communication when it is tied to a business. It is important to use proper etiquette to avoid offending people.