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Front Desks + First Impressions: Foundations for Managing the Patient Experience

Your front desk impacts your patient experience and overall reputation

They’re called first impressions for a reason: you seldom get a second chance to make a positive, lasting impression.

In the age of healthcare consumerism where patients can shop around for the best value and patient experience, it’s more important than ever that your holistic practice delivers a great first impression. One of the foundational steps for this is managing your front desk.

From the greeting used when answering the phone to how well your receptionist is able to answer questions a client might have, there are a handful of qualities about the front desk’s role that impact overall patient satisfaction and the patient experience.

We’ll cover these qualities, how to manage the patient experience, and why all of this matters to your reputation in this article. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is the Patient Experience?

The patient experience is a general umbrella term for everything that your patient might interact with over the course of receiving care from your practice.

This includes:

  • Your marketing efforts and overall brand awareness (your name, slogan, etc.)
  • Website, social media accounts
  • Online reviews
  • The location of your practice
  • Front desk experience
  • Your practice’s mission
  • Types of awareness accepted
  • Appearance of your practice
  • And more!

Understanding that the patient experience is more than just interacting face-to-face with your patients is the first step to improving and elevating their experience.

Another important step is recognizing that the patient experience doesn’t end when the patient leaves your practice after their appointment; it’s a continuous cycle with a multitude of touchpoints that can impact their satisfaction with your practice and thus your overall reputation.

Your Front Desk and the Patient Experience

One key area of the patient experience is their engagement with your holistic practice’s front desk. This is where patients will call to ask questions about your practice, schedule appointments, and more!

Your receptionist, whether it’s you or a staff member, is the liaison for your practice–that includes connecting patient to provider, practice to community, contacting payers for reimbursement, and so many other parties related to your practice.

That’s why providing a stellar front desk experience to your patients is vital to your short-term and long-term success. If patients are constantly having to call back or chase after getting answers from your receptionist, then it doesn’t bode well for your reputation. But if your front desk staffer is on the ball and offers cheerful help, then patients will feel more connected to your practice.

Our Top Tips for Managing Your Practice’s Front Desk

Now that we’ve covered all that is entailed in the patient experience and the impact of your front desk on overall patient satisfaction, let’s dive into a few top tips:

Keep an Orderly, Organized Appearance

This tip applies to just about every room in your practice that patients might go to–including the bathroom. But this is especially important for your front desk. If your front desk looks cluttered with sticky notes everywhere and empty coffee cups by the keyboard, then you won’t be making a great impression on patients.

On the other hand, if your front desk is organized and includes some patient education materials, like helpful brochures or more information about your practice, then you’ll make a winning impression! Your practice is responsible for sensitive patient and payment information, so it’s best to appear professional and organized as such.

Establish an Enthusiastic Phone Greeting

When you call a business, would you enjoy just getting a bland “Hello” or a distant “How can I help you?” when the business answers? Didn’t think so! The same goes for your patients; keep a cheerful tone, speak clearly, and consider including some of the following in your phone greeting:

  • Your receptionist’s name
  • Your holistic practice’s name
  • Your practice’s slogan
  • A quick snippet of your mission statement
  • Asking for the name of the caller to personalize the conversation

These details will help distinguish you from the competition and quickly build rapport with patients, whether new or returning.

Keep FAQ Answers Handy

At some point, you’ll realize what questions are most frequently asked by patients. To save time and make the most of a phone call, keep these responses handy! This might include:

  • What types of insurance you accept
  • Office hours
  • Directions on how to get to your practice
  • Phone numbers to provide to patients who need to contact another department or medical agency

By establishing yourself as a resource for your patients, you’ll instill trust in them–that’s a huge win for delivering a great patient experience!

Partner with Holistic Billing Services to Deliver an Optimal Patient Experience!

Providing your patients, whether new or returning, with an excellent experience takes consistent time and effort. There are so many factors to consider that make or break a patient’s impression of your practice that sometimes it can feel overwhelming to handle your behind-the-scenes tasks, like medical billing.

If you’re passionate about providing an optimal patient experience and tired of excessive paperwork and confusing regulations, then partner with Holistic Billing Services to boost your revenue cycle! Our friendly experts have decades of medical billing experience and can’t wait to help your holistic practice thrive.

Contact us today to build a solution customized to your needs!

November 28, 2022
 - by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

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