Dr Mark HassedThe position of front desk person is crucial to the productivity of any dental practice.

It's one of those jobs that, when it's done well, it's totally unnoticed but when it's done badly you suddenly realise how vital it is.

Visiting a practice recently I saw how a badly-trained front desk position can wreak havoc:

  • Appointments were scattered across the book with gaps in between. This led to constant stop/start and staff boredom.
  • Patients were often booked in the dentist's lunch hour even though there were spaces free before and after lunch. Occasionally the dentist didn't get lunch until 1.45pm.
  • Emergency appointments were either ridiculously long (60 minutes to polish a chipped filling) or jammed between productive appointments so that running late was inevitable.
  • Often there were no notes on the appointments so that the dentist had to ask the patient “Why are you here today?”

How did it get like this? Two factors were at work:

  1. The dentist did not provide clear instructions and performance guidelines.
  2. The front desk person had a strong need for approval and could not be assertive. Patients pushed her around.

Look at the appointing in your office and see how it is going. Are there problems? Review the front desk person in your office. Have you let them know what is expected? Are they able to be assertive when necessary?

Over the past few years I've seen pretty much everything that can go wrong at the front desk. If you're having problems — let's say with stress and running late — then I can help you put things right and get back on an even keel. Give me a call.

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