The Essential Structure of a Front Desk Initial Phone Call

Posted on 26 Jun 17:12
You’re probably not aware that your front desk staff is losing money—more money than you think. We have calculated that most front desk staff cost the average clinic $3,000 to $7,000 per month! Wouldn’t you like to put that monthly loss in your pocket? Lost revenue caused by front desk staff is due to poor or improper training, no established phone scripts, and/or the lack of regular performance reviews. All of these oversights are very common. The good news is that these performance issues can easily be corrected. Over the years we have put together our checklist of the 13 essentials when answering a phone call from a prospective patient. In this post, we provide 4 of those 13 essentials for your review. 1) Determine immediately if the call is related to a prospective patient who resides in YOUR area. The last thing you want to do is spend 20 minutes on the phone only to find out that the caller is calling for someone who lives in another state. This is a drain on the staff’s time and can be easily avoided by asking them earlier in the call. 2) Always provide explicit directions. Follow up with an email confirming their appointment time and include directions along with a link to Google Maps or Map Quest to ensure they know how to find your clinic. Don’t assume that patients know how to find you. Older patients in particular can be extremely impatient if they can’t find your building. They tend to become frustrated easily and frequently return home—and never come back. Make sure your patients know how to find you. 3) Show the patient that you are genuinely interested in them and their condition. Ask a few basic questions about their back pain. For example, how bad is it? How often do they experience pain? How did it happen? A few simple questions will help establish a rapport and demonstrate that you care. 4) Always, always insist that the spouse attend the initial consultation. Some clinics won’t even conduct a consultation unless the spouse is present. The reason is simple. In the absence of a spouse, 8 times out of 10 patients will not commit to treatment. The typical response is, “This sounds exactly like what I want to do but I have to run it by my husband or wife.” When this occurs, the likelihood of that patient returning is very small. It also presents the common problem of patients who do enroll without spousal knowledge and consent returning the next day asking for their money back because their significant other doesn’t think the service worth it. These are just 4 of the 13 essentials that EVERY front desk person must follow EVERY time. With scripts and training in place, you will notice a dramatic increase in new patient schedules, a decrease in “no-shows,” and an increase in patient enrollments at the end of the month. For a comprehensive compilation of proven phone scripts, from beginning to elite, visit