Rude or in Tune – Is Your Reception Staff Paying Attention?

Receptionist and PatientsThe office receptionist is the first, and sometimes only, person patients and their family members may meet prior to any medical services. The successful receptionist is both an excellent communicator and a strong office policy administrator. The receptionist also must be able to effortlessly interact with patients or family members representing all professional levels.

To make a positive first impression: 

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  1. Make eye contact
  2. Smile, be interested, and use an open posture
  3. Wear a name tag
  4. Use appropriate facial expressions
  5. Direct the patient to the correct area
  6. Assist with appropriate paperwork, if needed

To help foster a lasting professional rapport:

  1. Use thorough customer service and listening skills, including how to deal with difficult people.
  2. Be polite, respectful, and welcoming in person and when answering calls.
  3. Be aware of email etiquette, tone, and spelling – simply using the spelling and grammar check prior to sending the email may avoid an embarrassing email from being transmitted. 
  4. Foster rapport through body language.

Always strive to treat everyone as individuals. Each person has a different opinion as to what good manners are and how they wish to be treated. These interactions will vary even from day to day, let alone hour to hour. Some people welcome small talk; others want to get straight to the point. Some people want you to just concur with them. Some want you to voice your individual opinion. But in today’s busy practices, patience, privacy, HIPAA, confidentiality, and respect are important with everyone.

Always remain mindful of tone, volume, and the topic of conversation. Address conversations when necessary. If appropriate and possible, it may be safer to move the conversation to a quieter and more private area. 

For more tactics and tools to improve the patient experience, download CAP's Risk Management Self-Assessment Kit.