Focus is often put on software solutions for attracting, tracking, and converting new leads into established weight loss patients. However, your team has an integral role in personalizing each step for optimal success.
While software is critically important to streamlining your practice communication and operations, your team is the personal touch that can make or break your practice growth. In particular, your front desk team can greatly influence your patient’s perception of your practice. To build a thriving weight loss practice, it is important to prioritize front desk etiquette and ensure that such customer service is continued with each patient interaction.
Exceptional front desk etiquette can create a welcoming atmosphere that fosters trust and nurtures patient loyalty. Some guidelines for cultivating excellent front desk etiquette are outlined below:
Efficient Appointment Scheduling
Efficient appointment scheduling is crucial in your weight loss practice since patients often have busy lives and tight schedules. Make sure that your scheduling team is well-trained in your appointment booking system. While some appointments may be made online, many are scheduled through your team. They should be able to offer flexible scheduling options and assist patients in finding appointments that suit their needs. Of course, this needs to be balanced with the finesse to efficiently block schedule various appointment times/types to avoid long waits in the office.
Professional and Friendly Greetings
Gone are the days of slowly sliding the glass door open after a patient approaches the front desk. Your first impression and your impression at each appointment (virtual and in office) matters. Train your team to greet patients with a warm and professional demeanor. A genuine smile and a friendly greeting can make a world of difference. Whenever possible, encourage them to use the patient’s name and to maintain eye contact throughout the greeting. A polite and welcoming tone sets a positive tone for the entire patient experience.
Clear and effective communication is key to maintaining patient satisfaction and trust. Your team should be fully knowledgeable about your weight loss programs, products and services so they can provide accurate information and any associated costs. Encourage them to answer phone calls and respond to e-mails and text messages within your EMR/tracking system as promptly (same day) as possible. Such personalized and transparent communication is appreciated more than you may realize.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Of course, in healthcare, confidentiality and privacy is critically important along with following all HIPAA requirements. Ensure that your team is well trained in these requirements for all methods of patient communication. Your patients should feel confident that their personal, financial, and medical information is safe and secure.
Inevitably, for various reasons, conflicts and misunderstandings may arise. If and when they do, your team needs to respond with professionalism and empathy. A calm and empathetic approach to conflict resolution – fully engaging, listening and recognizing the concern – can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
Maintain a Clean & Organized Front Desk Area
Cleanliness and organization go a long way when it comes to impressions and promoting a sense of calm – no matter how busy you and your team may be. Encourage your team to maintain a clean and organized workspace free of clutter and food. This not only reflects your professionalism, but helps with efficiency.
Encourage open and transparent communication with your team. Promptly address concerns and invite feedback from your team on how to improve productivity, customer service, and efficiency. If an issue arises, address it quickly and privately in a professional manner. Offer training and constructive feedback for continuous improvement and be sure to have a chain of command in place for the rare occasions when a situation at the front desk may escalate.
Front desk etiquette is a vital component to growing your successful weight loss practice. By following these tips, you can create a welcoming and efficient environment that not only retains existing patients, but also attracts new ones through word-of-mouth referrals.
Take the time to personally test and experience any automated communication from your office as well. Being able to have a personalized touch to automated communication is well-received. In addition, having multiple ways to communicate with your patients such as secure e-mail, test and phone calls goes a long way since people have varying preferred communication methods.
If you are looking for an all-in-one seamless platform for tracking new and existing patients and communicating securely in all modes, there is a solution. You can learn more at https://www.pronexinc.com/ And, it is one of the few solutions that is inter-operable with most EMR systems and can serve as a powerful EMR as well – making it truly an all-in-one system.
About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, www.BariatricBusinessAccelerator.com. She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss physicians and their teams helping them simplify creation of a profitable and enjoyable bariatric practice.