Whether they’re new or existing patients, the impression you make when a patient walks through your door sets the stage for the experience they will have in your office that day. And the people who are going to make that first impression on your patients are your front desk team members.
Front desk team members are some of the most important people in your practice. They can help to grow your practice exponentially by making patients feel welcome and giving them a WOW experience that gets them coming back and referring their friends and family.
Here’s how your team members can make a WOW first impression on every patient who walks through your door.
Introduce yourself with friendly and engaged body language.
When a patient walks through the door, a front office team member should stand up and shake their hand. Welcome them to the office—or back to the office—with a smile. It might feel awkward at first, but you will stand out in a good way.
Body language is important. When your front office team member is slouched back in their chair or looks disinterested when they greet a patient, the patient will feel unwelcome. Nothing they say will come across as authentic. The patient won’t feel appreciated or welcome.
After shaking the patient’s hand with a smile, the team member should introduce themselves or remind the patient of their name. If they know the patient, they should use the patient’s name during the greeting. If it’s a new patient, confirm their name, and then use it. Using patients’ names makes them feel less like a customer and more like a VIP.
It’s important that your front office team member never makes a patient wait for that greeting, either—even for a brief moment. Someone should greet the patient right away. If they’re busy doing other work, they should pause, greet the patient, and finish the work later.
Engage in genuine and appropriate conversation.
After greeting the patient with positive body language, the next step to making a WOW first impression is to engage the patient in genuine and appropriate conversation. Focus on the patient, pay attention to what they’d like to discuss, and make sure things stay appropriate. If the patient seems interested in talking, inquire about talking points, and keep the dialogue going. If the patient doesn’t seem interested in chitchat, shut it down to move forward with the next steps in making a WOW first impression.
Also, make sure the conversation isn’t scripted. People know when you’re following a script. Using a script just doesn’t come from the heart, and it means the front office team member doesn’t have the right intention—dentistry is about treating patients and changing their lives, not selling services and making money.
Give the patient clear direction.
The final step to making a WOW first impression is to give the patient clear direction as to what they should do next.
Tell them to get comfortable. Offer coffee. Show them where the restroom is. Offer other amenities you provide patients. Then, tell them when the doctor will be ready for them so they know what to expect next.
How is your front office greeting the patients who come into your practice?
Your front office team members are responsible for patients while they are in their area. Do they treat patients how they would want to be treated?
If patients feel welcome and comfortable, they will trust you and your staff. They will be more likely to accept your treatment plan. And they will be more likely to refer their friends and family or leave a five-star review. Ensure your team members make a WOW first impression every time a patient walks through your door.
For more strategies on building a WOW front office team, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program, where you and your team can access the best training and coaching from leading experts on all aspects of growing a WOW dental practice.