Here are 10 ways practices can motivate their front desk staff to exhibit these behaviours. These tips rely on two main qualities that practices must possess.

To motivate your staff, you must be a good leader and communicator. Your staff looks up to you and mirrors your attitude. Your enthusiasm for the service you provide will be contagious.

1. Use weekly staff meetings to rev up the front desk. Ask each staff member to bring an idea about how to increase practice revenue. The staffer with the best idea gets a gift card. (Don’t go cheap!) Put the winner in charge of implementing the new idea. Follow up to find out how it’s going and whether she needs help.

2. Reward your staff for selling or up selling services. Whether they sell additional types of treatment or get patients to accept a new product offering, reinforce your staff’s sales ability. Cash, gift cards, free products / services or paid time off all work well.

3. Let your staffer try a treatment or use a new product for free so she talks about it to patients. Who better to talk up these services to your patients than a satisfied patient who happens to work for you?

4. Reward your front desk for following up with patients who haven’t scheduled treatment. Even if it’s part of your front desk person’s job, support the action. Have staff document these calls and conversations. Reward them for each patient they follow up with who accepts treatment. Patients are more likely to book appointments if they feel that you and your front desk staff are attentive and caring.

5. Educate, educate, educate. Bring your staff to a tradeshow or sign them up for a practice management or product-focused seminar. Exposure to experts who explain products and potential results will be priceless. When staffers pass this information on to patients they will sound informed and will inspire trust.

6. Provide written job descriptions, regular reviews and salary increases. Happy, motivated employees know their duties and fully understand them. They also know what attire they are required to wear. Regular reviews at six month or yearly intervals and salary increases scaled to performance will go a long way to motivate and retain good employees. Reviews foster good communication by giving your staffer a chance to bring important feelings or issues to your attention in private. You get a chance to introduce new initiatives or responsibilities.

7. Give staff business cards or name plates with titles on them. Have some fun with this one. The title can highlight a staffer’s strength, like, “Patient Satisfaction Associate,” or “Scheduling Superstar.” How about interjecting some humour in the workplace with a title like, “Keurig Machine Diva?” Let the staff get creative and suggest their own titles.

8. Institute a bonus program. The most effective bonus programs are tied to monthly or quarterly practice production and include all staff members. Introduce the incentive program at a weekly meeting. Explain the goals and guidelines and give examples of how each staffer contributes to increased revenue. If the practice exceeds the monthly or quarterly goal, reward your staff for a job well done. The reward can be cash, gift cards, choosing an item from a gift catalogue, etc.

9. Provide public praise. If your front desk staffer goes above and beyond to be helpful or takes initiative, recognise her in public. Thank and praise her at a meeting or on the spot, gathering staff around to listen. If the opposite is the case and you need to call attention to staffer’s mistake, always do it in private.

10. Encourage staffers to recognize one another. Since you won’t always be there to see a front desk person deliver excellent customer service or do a
first-rate job speaking to a patient, encourage staff to recognize each other. This is an important way to foster teamwork. You can formalize this recognition by drawing up blank certificates that staffers can fill out about each other or you can solicit comments in meetings. Earning a small token or gift for giving and earning the recognition can bolster the action.