Your receptionist can do wonders for helping your practice succeed and grow, but only if he or she is saying the right things. A big component of front desk management is knowing not only how to answer the phone and deal with clients, but also knowing what not to do. Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes veterinary front desk agents make and how to correct or avoid them in your own practice.
“We’re really busy right now.”
Sure, running a receptionist desk in a busy veterinary clinic can be hectic, but part of good front desk management is being able to handle the stress and still deliver exceptional client experience. Clients should never be made to feel as though they’re not important. If a call comes in when it’s super crazy, the receptionist should politely ask the caller to be placed on hold and then promptly dealt with as soon as possible. Throughout it all, the client should always be made to feel important and valued.
“Do you want to make an appointment or are you still calling around?”
A person calling in with an inquiry should always be viewed as an opportunity to convert and be handled as such. Giving a caller the option to continue calling around dramatically reduces the chance of that person calling back and actually becoming a client. Instead, the receptionist should always try their best to get an appointment on the books – not in a way that is pushy, but in a way that demonstrates an eagerness to help.
“The price of a spay/neuter is $250. An exam costs $50. The price of a distemper shot is $15, etc.”
The true value that we provide as veterinarians to our clients and their pets isn’t monetary. It’s in the relationships we develop and the personalized care we deliver. Unfortunately, these things cannot be conveyed over the phone. That’s why quoting prices is never a good idea; because it reduces the opportunity you’ll get to show prospects why it’s worth choosing you, even if your prices are higher. Proper front desk management should involve convincing and compelling callers to come in and experience the difference before making a decision.
“You’ll need to speak with the doctor about that. I’m just a receptionist.”
When a caller hears a statement like this, what they really hear is: “I don’t know anything and I can’t help you.” That’s certainly not the impression you want your prospects and clients to have of your clinic. This is why front desk management training should include the basics of what clients can expect and how to answer commonly asked questions. For instance, a knowledgeable receptionist should be able to explain what a well puppy visit entails or how certain medications should be taken.
“Your pet will be hooked up to an electrocardiogram and pulse oximeter during surgery.”
For pet parents, it’s important to know their animal family member will be well taken care of. Speaking to them using jargon and medical terminology won’t set their mind at ease. Instead, callers should be spoken to using straightforward and easy-to-understand language. For example: “During surgery, we’ll be closely monitoring your pet’s heart rate, oxygen level and body temperature.” This explains what will be happening in a way that the client can understand and also provides peace of mind at the same time.
The things that your receptionist says to clients can make or break whether or not they’ll continue to give you their business. A poor experience – such as what can occur with the examples provided above – will most likely result in lost revenue. By recognizing what not to say and providing the appropriate front desk management support and training, you can turn things around, improving the client experience and boosting your overall profitability.