This article has been written by Chris Munro from Clinic Answer. Find out more about their service here.

A well-trained receptionist or call answering service ensures that clients finish a conversation happy and satisfied that you provide a quality service.

Everyone who deals with a client should ensure the following:

1: Have they been treated in a friendly, professional and helpful manner?

2: Have they booked an appointment time they wanted?

3: Do they know that everything they needed to know, with regards to pricing, cancellation policy, whether to bring insurance documents or, if you’re a physical therapist, what they may need to wear?

4: Were they asked the questions that they thought they should have been asked, which makes them feel their call was important to you?

How to maintain a quality service

A call seems easy and straightforward, and it usually is, BUT it is critical that each caller has the same experience and finishes the conversation knowing that their call was important to your practice.

You will maintain this type of quality by ensuring that everyone knows what is expected in your practice. It is simple to explain, but always harder to put into practice, unless the staff you have are focused this way and perform at the same level for each call. Training staff properly is the key.

Not many people see staff training as an ongoing activity, because once they have been shown what to do and processes have been explained then it is “job done!”. This is not the case: it is just the start. Business develops because your staff grow with you and understand the changes needed.

Using Clinic Answer as an example:

Example 1: How do we deal with so many practices, their different practitioners and treatments? Training on how our software works allows our PAs to answer as part of your team with more information about your practice at their fingertips that you have yourself. Without the training on our software (and new updates we commission to constantly improve) then we would just be a messaging service. Every PA has 8 weeks training when they start and then when new clients start the PAs assigned are run through the account, the diary, treatments and special notes (such as your cancellation policy, Directions, Payment methods and cover via Private Medical Insurance). Monthly updates on new processes are also signed off by each PA when understood and in place.

Example 2: We manage bookings using over 18 different online diary software packages and the training for our PAs on them never stops. More clients use them and they all use them slightly differently. New updates to a diary’s software and how it works can cause major headaches if you are not prepared. To ignore this will cause errors and misunderstandings between the customers, our clients and ourselves. This means that we can’t just train once and leave our PAs to get on with things. We would simply crash and burn!

Getting started

What is it in your practice that needs to be maintained or reviewed with ongoing training? You should have a plan to revisit this, which will ensure all things are up to date, understood and tweaked to suit any change or development in your practice’s business. As you grow your practice you naturally have to tweak and change to improve. Another great benefit of reviewing your processes and training is that you’ll naturally become more efficient and cost effective.

We have a regimented plan, which includes a dedicated trainer and specific training diaries for our PAs work with (you can’t train on live clients diaries!). This is not a visible activity (and one we don’t shout about enough) but we recognised early on that it was simply something we had to have so that we could provide a beneficial service, grow AND keep our customers happy!

Have a think about your practice. You’ll be surprised how many activities that should be regularly checked and improved aren’t.

Note from Private Practice Hub:

Clinic Answer is offering therapists a one month free trial of their service when they mention the Private Practice Hub!