A recent report summarised the findings of nearly 35,000 online reviews from physicians throughout the country. It identified that customers found front desk staffing to be the most frustrating part of communication with the facility, well above their level of dissatisfaction with the expertise of the physicians. Specifically, the study reported that 96% of patient complaints were associated with customer service.
Complaints included clinicians not meeting their schedule, long waiting periods that led to frustration, issues over confusion with billing, the indifference of staff and poor clinician bedside manner.
How to solve complaints originating from the front desk
Most of the above-mentioned complaints should be solvable with adequate staffing and attention to detail. Perhaps the trickiest is requiring that clinicians adhere to their schedule and therefore prevent delays in appointments, something that is not always practical with the differing needs of patients. An alternative would be to extend the appointment period allocated to each patient, but the economics of this could be an issue. See the NHS careers site for information on the qualities needed by front office personnel.
The face of your practice
If you are experiencing complaints within your practice, it is possible to employ experienced personnel to assist with the situation. These people will be able to look holistically at your business and draw up solutions to issues associated with communication and patient experience, within a practice or hospital.
To resolve front desk issues, it is important to realize that the experience of the patient needs to be foremost in employees’ minds. People like to communicate and interact with people, so, those staff members behind the desk are extremely important, as they are the face of your organization. Communication can begin with something as simple as a smile, followed by a welcome and a listening ear. Patients in medical settings may be apprehensive or upset, so a kindly greeting and friendly manner is reassuring and usually most welcome. It is incredibly valuable to have a warm and friendly atmosphere at your front desk. This will lead to a quiet and relaxing atmosphere within the clinic or hospital, and will in turn help to alleviate patient nerves and anxiety. It is also possible to enlist the services of a Visitor Management System UK company such as ofec.co.uk/web-and-software-development-services/digital-visitors-and-staff-signing-in-book.aspx that can provide you with software that will allow for visitors, staff, and patients to electronically sign into your clinic. This would then mean the staff behind the front desk are free to deal with any queries and more complex issues that people may have. These have been used extremely successfully in many practices and have cut down on the front desk wait times of many clinics.