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Patient Payments Blog

The One Essential Quality Your Front Desk Staff Should Possess

Posted by Jim Turner

Jan 10, 2017 8:30:00 AM



I put doctor’s offices in the category of businesses I am compelled to visit somewhat against my will. I don’t enjoy seeing doctors or dentists but I recognize their value and appreciate their expertise. Other businesses I don’t enjoy are auto mechanics, insurance offices, CPA’s, attorneys, and the Post Office. All necessary evils as far as I’m concerned. For me, each of these businesses is unavoidable from time to time. Knowing that, I started thinking about which one I like visiting the most. Sort of a ‘lesser of all the evils’ pick. Which one is the least ‘cringy’ experience for me?


That thought intrigued me. What is it about these businesses that makes my trip there bearable, maybe even enjoyable? I thought of the entrance to each business, the waiting rooms or lobbies, the people, the experience, the costs, and many other elements of each business. None of them have an especially striking entrance, no art deco excitement to them. None of the waiting rooms is especially cozy. Most of them just a step above penitentiary chic. The experience, at least at the businesses I use is the better side of average but not remarkable. The costs, considering I don’t want to spend the money in the first place, always seem high. I couldn’t think of anything else about these that makes them a good experience. So it comes down to people.

As I ticked off the faces of the employees in my memory the word ‘average’ kept popping up. Auto repair, average. Dentist, average. Insurance office, average. Post Office, below average. CPA, av….wait. My CPA is not average. She’s enjoyable. Always cheery, understanding, a bit scattered in a humorous way, and very helpful. She’s got some magnetic qualities that kind of stick even though if I didn’t know her she wouldn’t draw my attention if I saw her in the grocery store. That was interesting and remarkable to me. I thought there must be something to that.

The revelation is that I enjoy going to my CPA’s office much more than any of the other places on my non-desirable list. Because my CPA makes it enjoyable. My very unscientific conclusion is that the quality I most enjoy in a ‘necessary evil’ business, in fact in any business, is to be able to work with someone who has a level of personal magnetism. Someone who is at the very least enjoyable to work with.

My opinion - Personal Magnetism is important and probably essential. Some people might enjoy seeing their doctor but my guess is that most would rather pass on the trip if they could. With that in mind wouldn’t it be wise to staff your front desk with people that enjoy people? Don’t you want your patients to at least look forward to experiencing a smiling, helpful face at your counter?  Hire someone people look forward to seeing.

Think about it. You can train someone to use your practice management system. They can learn medical jargon. They can practice using the systems and filling out the correct paperwork. But you can’t train personality. You can’t send your staff away to personal magnetism class where they learn to be dynamic and friendly. You know the sort I’m talking about – upbeat, usually happy, caring, naturally helpful, and genuinely interested in others. They are out there. Find them! If there is any way to make your practice a place your patients look forward to visiting, it’s that magnetic front desk staff. Fill your front counter with personalities like this and patients will forgive a lot of shortcomings in other areas.   

Topics: medical practice management, practice management, Front Desk Tips, personnel, Hiring

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