I’m opening a new practice and plan to recruit a receptionist. Do you have any tips?
Every person working in your practice is important. I think the most important is the receptionist. A good receptionist will help potential new patients become new patients. A poor receptionist will mean that potential new patients go elsewhere.
The tone of voice and body language of the receptionist is often the first experiences a patient encounters you’re your practice. You need to make sure the receptionist has the right tone and body language and if they don’t they need to be trained. The right tone of voice is important in face-to-face patient communication and even more so in telephone communication. Polite words are important but these need to be delivered in a polite tone of voice. The reception should not be too familiar, nor too formal. Difficult for me to describe exactly how a receptionist should speak but I know it when I hear it.
A bad experience with the receptionist means a person is unlikely to get as far as experiencing the clinical skills and excellent chairside manner of the eye specialist. An opportunity to grow the practice will be lost.
Reception models vary. Sometimes, one person is solely responsible for all reception duties and that is the entirety of their job, Other times several people will have reception duties as well as an optical assistant and/or dispensing duties.
Personal hygiene and the clothes people wear in practice are important. Smart casual usually works well.
Don’t worry if a good candidate is inexperienced. The best thing about inexperience is that the candidate is more likely to be easily trainable without any pre-disposed bad working habits picked up elsewhere. If a candidate is smart, personable, and a good fit for your practice, don’t let their inexperience be the one thing to scare you away.
Having a team of employees that get along well is very important in the building of a prosperous practice. Your staff will be happier at work and therefore more pleasant for customers and patients to interact with. If you come across a candidate that might not fit all of the qualifications that you’re looking for but is a great fit with your current employees, offer them the job. I’ve been involved with the recruitment of around 50 people during my career and always consider ‘the fit’ as an important consideration. I haven’t ever recruited someone I later regretted employing.