Why train your front office team?
As a specialist, YOU spent many years mastering your craft. In fact, your entire clinical team continues to receive additional training in the form of yearly CEUs. As the ones providing care, it makes sense to continue their training. By ensuring they have the best skills possible to make that diagnosis and provide the care that your patients both need and expect, your practice works to create 'patients-for-life'. Those patients know that you can and will help them in a time of need and you’re their first choice for care.
A 'patient-for-life' is the life-blood of a practice. The more ‘patients-for-life’ that your practice has, the better off it will be and the practice will expand as community trust and recognition increases. And you find that the practice no longer just ‘survives’ from year to year; it begins to thrive!
But there’s one variable that can negatively affect and completely derail your practice’s ability to help more people; and that’s the front office of your practice.
One of the main causes of same-day cancellations and no-shows, lack of new patients and poor schedule utilization is an untrained front office team.
You may wonder how the front office affects your ability to help your patients. Well, most front office employees ‘fell’ into their position, their training was done ‘on-the-job’ and skills were passed down from one employee to the next. In fact, most have never had any formal training related to patient management, objection handling or sales; but that’s exactly what they need.
When you entrust your patient list to your front office team members, you need to be certain that they can and will help your patients get the care they need.
In order to maximize the number of patients that your practice helps you need your front office team to be experts in the following:
UNDERSTANDING THEIR ROLE IN THE PRACTICE: They are not receptionists, medical receptionists, front desk representatives, or front desk reps. They aren’t there to ‘answer the phone’, files charts, or check people in. As the main point of contact for every patient, their responsibility is to effectively manage your patients’ care, handle objections, and sell your services. Their job position is as a Patient Care Coordinator and their job title should match.
RECOGNIZING AND HANDLING EVERY POTENTIAL PATIENT: who reaches out for your help: This is key to helping more people get the care they need; and it’s how you expand the practice while building patients for life! On average, about 20-25% of calls that come in aren’t identified as potential patients or they aren’t properly managed to close the sale. And in the end, those potential new patients aren’t converted to a scheduled and arriving new patient appointment. This ends up costing you more in marketing and even more than that, it means that you could be helping 20-25% more people get the care they need.
GUIDING THE PATIENT ALONG THE PATH: Every patient, no matter their diagnosis, has a path that they need to follow throughout their care. In order help more patients get the care they need, each Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) must understand the path that someone must take throughout their care and be able to effectively manage each patient regardless of their objections. If they don’t know the path or cannot manage patients along the path they need to take, you'll have a high-rate of lost leads, higher than acceptable same-day cancellations and no-shows, a significant amount of patient drop-offs, and accounts receivable will continue to rise.
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL PATIENT DROP-OFFS: Managing patients and their care also means that your PCCs need to be skilled at identifying patients who may drop out or discontinue care. As the main point of contact for each patient and the person who’s managing the patient’s schedule, a PCC should be able to identify and prevent a potential patient drop-off.
EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CLINICAL TEAM: This is key to your success! Patient care requires a team effort. In order to properly manage patients and ensure they receive the best possible care, your PCCs need to see themselves as a valuable member of the team and effectively communicate with your clinical team.
COLLECTING THE PATIENT RESPONSIBILITY: If the patient responsibility isn’t collected at the time of visit, valuable time and resources are wasted trying to track down past patients and collect what’s due. But, for many people, money is a button and that can make explaining insurance benefits and having to tell a patient that they have to pay a large sum per visit super stressful for an untrained PCC. Better trained staff have the skills needed to handle financial objections and they will feel confident asking for money.
Without trained Patient Care Coordinators running your front office, you end up with patient-related problems and you struggle to expand; no matter how much you put into your marketing.
A well-trained front office team is just as valuable to you as your clinical team and the good news is, you don’t have to work in your front office or develop the training. I’ve done it for you!
At Front Office GURU, I offer 1:1 coaching, training and systems for your front office team.