5 Things Your Front Office Staff Does That Loses Patients

May 09, 2024

You spend money to increase patient retention, create marketing campaigns, generate leads, and get new patients in the door. According to Healthcare Success, you pay five times more to get a new patient in the door than to keep the ones you have. The better the patient experience you can create for visitors, the higher your patient retention rate can be. Because the front desk staff plays a large role in the patient experience, it is important to ensure employees are not doing anything to damage that experience.

5 things to make sure your office staff is not doing

Avoid doing these five things to help increase the odds a patient will be loyal to your practice.

1. Handling phone calls incorrectly

Spontaneous phone calls can cause patient situations to escalate unnecessarily. Avoid this by developing a script for frequent phone call scenarios. This allows each staff member to respond to patient situations appropriately. It is also critical to keep patient hold times to a minimum. Waiting on hold can cause the patient to feel frustrated and unimportant. If this is an issue for your practice, you may want to consider hiring an extra receptionist or adding automated features to your phone service.

2. Getting easily flustered

A patient asking questions about treatment costs or insurance coverage should not frustrate your front office staff. Almost every patient will have questions, and employees should know how to provide the correct answer in a calm, professional manner. It can be helpful to run through frequently asked questions during the training process to make staff members feel prepared and comfortable answering them.

3. Making billing or appointment errors

Overcharging or booking an appointment incorrectly can be two of the biggest ways to frustrate even loyal patients. It can also cause a bottleneck in the flow of revenue and appointments. Ways to avoid this could include the following:

  • Having a series of steps in place to check data accuracy on bills
  • Including more than one person in the billing process
  • Using special billing software
  • Having a patient portal that includes the ability to process payments and book appointments online

If a mistake is made, offer a sincere apology as quickly as possible and do what is necessary to remedy the situation.

4. Being negative

An inappropriate or rude patient should not translate into negativity on the part of your staff. While handling difficult patients is inevitable, train your employees to maintain eye contact, listen to the patient, and remain calm. This type of response can diffuse potentially complicated situations.

5. Having a space that is messy or outdated

If your front office area is cluttered, has coffee stains or dust buildup, or is not aesthetically pleasing, it can communicate a lack of professionalism and competence to patients. Keep files organized, surfaces clean and wiped down, and any decor current and inviting.

Develop your team and your patient roster

Investing in training and development for your team can pay big dividends in the form of practice growth. Doctor Genius can provide not only healthcare practice advice but also services to transform your rate of patient acquisition and retentionTalk to a trained team member today and customize a solutions package for your practice. Improve your team’s confidence and competence and watch your practice grow.

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