10 Tips For Front Desk Training At Your Dental Practice

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Did you know that a whopping 96% of complaints from healthcare patients are made regarding customer service?

According to the Journal of Medical Practice Management, only 4% of complaints from patients are related to the quality of their care and treatments.  

This means that all kinds of healthcare practices (dental practices included) should ensure that their receptionists and those who handle customer service are well-trained and equipped with all the skills they need to deliver high-quality customer service to your patients. 

Here are ten important and super helpful tips that your customer service staff can use to ensure that your patients are left satisfied with your business and its services.

So, check them out and forward them to your customer service team, so they are empowered to deliver quality customer care! 

Service With A Smile

One of the first things customer service staff are told is to smile. 

This may sound condescending, but patients feel more welcomed when employees smile at them.

It instantly gives your reception a warm, welcoming vibe that brightens up the atmosphere of your practice. It also helps avoid your staff’s impression that they are rude, unwelcoming, and unhelpful.

A smile can also help ease patients who are nervous about asking for help or are uncomfortable at dental practices. Your customer service team greatly impacts your patient’s experience at your practice. 

There’s a lot of power in a smile and it’s such a minor thing that can make a world of difference to your patients.

Be Helpful 

The whole point of a customer service team is to be there to help your patients.

Whether answering questions, booking appointments, or dealing with complaints, good customer service staff members will try to be as helpful as they can be to patients. 

Patience and great listening skills are important when dealing with patient requests and queries as you will need to try and meet the patient’s needs to solve their problems.

Going above and beyond for your patients can also help give the impression that the practice is caring, helpful, and super appreciative of its patients – so do your best in your duties! 

Be Positive

We all have our ups and downs, but customer service staff are the literal face and first impression most people have of your practice – so it’s essential that they also embody the traits and behaviour you want to associate with your business. 

Positive language can help create a better, friendlier atmosphere in your practice and improve your business’s relationship with its patients. Phrases such as:

“Happy to help!” 

“Good morning, nice to meet you!” 

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” 

These are great ways to enforce positive language and help create a healthier relationship between your staff and customers. By eliminating negative phrases and words, you are also eliminating negativity from your practice. 

Show Patients That You Care

Patients don’t want to feel like they’re being a nuisance or pest even when they are, so it’s important to show your patients that you care when discussing queries and requests. 

Listening to their queries, asking questions, and reacting to things they say are great ways to show that you care about their experience at your practice.

As a result, having great listening and communication skills are key to creating a strong customer-to-business relationship, helping improve your practice’s reputation, and turning customers into long-term patients. 

So, ask your customer service team to greet visitors to your practice, ask patients how their treatments went, and express excitement for their next visit.

Little comments and questions prove to customers that staff genuinely are interested in their wellbeing! 

Respond To Queries Quickly 

Another factor that customers greatly appreciate is speed. After all, no one wants to stand around, waiting for ages, while customer service deals with queries and requests.

So, you will want your customer service team to be efficient in their work so they can quickly complete tasks and respond to customer queries with great speed. 

Things like having paperwork prepared, computers set up, and organized filing systems and storage can cut down service time by a huge amount and stop customers from feeling like something simple as booking an appointment, is taking forever. 

Also, ensure your customer service team answers the phone promptly and responds to online requests and queries within one or two days.

This will overall improve your customer service and improve your business’s reputation.  

Know Your Stuff

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having a patient ask you a question whose response is ‘I don’t know’.

Of course, your staff can’t be expected to know everything off the top of their heads, but they should know the basics of your practice’s information. 

Prepared, knowledgeable customer service staff will give your patients the impression that your staff are well trained and professional – plus it will increase their confidence knowing that such intelligent, hard workers handle their personal information and healthcare. 

However, if you find yourself stumped, it’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ as long as it’s quickly followed up by a ‘ but I will find out shortly’.

Not only will this give your patients the information they desire, but your staff will come across as hardworking, caring and willing to go the extra mile to help them! 

Treat Others With Respect

Respecting your patients is an obvious priority for any business. Still, it’s important to remind your customer service staff to do the same; if patients feel like they are not being respected or being brushed off, they will look elsewhere for the services they need. 

So, staff need to respect their patients. This means listening to their queries and answering politely, trying their best to meet their needs when finding the right treatments and times for an appointment. 

Staff should also know to respect their fellow team too.

Toxic work environments can seriously impact the morale of your team, which can affect the atmosphere your practice projects onto its patients. So, promote a healthy work environment by reminding your staff to respect others. 

Good manners cost nothing! 

Stay Professional

Sometimes, it’s easy to get a little too friendly with patients.

Although it’s great that your team is making an effort to be helpful and welcoming to your patients, it’s also important that they respect boundaries too and keep things professional in the workplace. 

Keep in mind that if a patient is near, your team should keep private, casual conversations to a minimum.

They should also treat others with respect, and if a patient is being particularly disrespectful, your staff should not sink to the same level of insults or shouting.

They have every right to refuse service to a patient who is being aggressive, but this does not mean they can resort to similar abuse either. 

Your customer service team should be professionals at their job, which means being responsible, organized, and reliable. 

Never Give Away Personal Information

Your customer service team will handle important, private data, and it is their legal duty not to share that information with anyone.

Even trivial things like birthdays and what treatment the patient is undergoing should not be discussed within earshot of other patients or displayed online. 

So, it’s super important that your customer service team know they cannot give away personal information, or they will face serious legal consequences! 

Follow Up With Clients 

If your practice has received a complaint (don’t worry – every practice will have a negative review at some stage), it’s a good idea to have your customer service team follow up on that complaint to see what can be done.

This can help retain patients, and your business can come across as professional and caring! Plus, it’s a great way to get vital feedback that can improve your dental practice. 

This can also be done after a new patient has completed their first-ever visit to your practice or if a patient has tried one of your more serious treatments. 

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! 

The key to high-quality customer service is good manners, communication skills, and respect for others.

Without these skills and traits, patients can easily feel ignored, dismissed, and disrespected, so ensure that your customer service team knows the above tips! 

This way, they can clearly understand what they need to do to avoid stacking up complaints relating to customer service. Good luck!