A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Practice Management showed, after analyzing more than 30,000 doctors nationwide, that 96 percent of all patient complaints are a result of poor customer service. That’s a startling statistic, regardless of what industry you’re a part of! Customer service at your front desk is absolutely critical—it’s quite literally the first thing potential clients will see or hear. If your front desk demonstrates poor customer service practices, you won’t convert potential clients into actual paying ones.
Here are a few tips to help your front desk shine when it comes to customer service:
When to Answer the Phone
Don’t allow your front-desk employees to answer a phone call on the first ring. Your caller doesn’t expect an answer that quickly—it can be jarring and set a bad tone for the entire call. Instead, have your staff wait until the second or third ring whenever possible.
Placing Callers on Hold
When your front desk gets busy, it may be necessary to place callers on hold. This is a part of almost any business, but remember: clients are not going to wait forever once they’ve been placed on hold!
Whenever possible, try to avoid placing callers on hold as it’s a fast way to frustrate clients and miss out on an appointment-booking opportunity. When you do have to put a caller on hold, though, make sure it doesn’t last longer than a full minute. If you’re losing a lot of business because of on-hold callers hanging up, it may be necessary to implement a call-back strategy where callers are contacted back by your front desk at a later time, rather than being placed on hold.
In our increasingly digital world, phone conversations aren’t the only way that your front-desk staff members are talking to customers. If your business uses email or text services to connect with potential clients, make sure your front desk’s electronic communication skills are up to par. Work with your staff to set up guidelines for appropriate e-correspondence, as well as timeframes for responding, how much information to reveal in an email, etc.
Ending the Conversation
Ensure that your front-desk staff members are consistently ending conversations with a pleasantry, such as “Thank you so much for calling, have a nice day!” or “We look forward to seeing you soon!” When your callers are left with a positive end to the call—or an in-person interaction, for that matter—they associate your business with good things!
Remember: when a client has a great customer service experience at your business, they’re not likely to forget it. They may even tell their friends and relatives—making sure that your front desk is in peak shape when it comes to customer service can quite literally grow your new client numbers!