[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
5 Reasons the FRONT DESK is the Most Important Position in Your Practice
I preach this bit of wisdom every chance I get: There is no more important position in your practice than the staff who work at your front desk.
How many Physical Therapy practice owners can say they treat the position that way? Not many.
On a recent weekly Momentum Call, the Physical Therapists in our programs had a chance to talk with Diane McCutcheon, President of Business Management Consulting Services, Inc. Diane’s years of experience in physical therapy business administration make her an expert on how to run an efficient, effective, patient-focused, revenue-capturing front desk.
There is no other position in your business where you stand to gain—or lose—more than your Front Desk.
Here are five reasons why investing time and attention in your front desk matters so much to your bottom line:
- They are your patients’ first point of contact
Okay, technically, for many new patients, your website is the first direct contact new patients will have with your practice. (I’ll be writing soon about how to create a website that makes a great impression.)
But the first point of human contact that patients have with your practice is almost always your front desk staff. The demeanor, professionalism, and competence of the person who answers your phone is your one chance to make a great first impression with patients.
You’re putting tremendous trust and responsibility in this person. Yet too often, practice owners rush through the hiring process and don’t invest in effective, thorough training.
- They are the voice and face of your practice
It’s not only the first contact that matters. Front Desk staff are the ambassadors for your practice throughout the entire life of your patient relationships. Whether it’s handling scheduling, billing, benefits issues, or fielding every imaginable patient question and concern, your front desk person is at the front lines of your daily operations—and your reputation.
From that first phone call right through to discharge, the among most consistent relationships patients will have with your practice is with your front-desk person. Savvy practice owners recognize the front desk as the anchor of a great patient experience.
It’s command central for the work that enables you to treat patients
Your mission is to deliver exceptional physical therapy to your patients. As a Physical Therapist, you have deep, first-hand knowledge of all the work that goes into treating.
But what about all the work that goes into making treating possible? I’m talking about:
- Office management
And that’s a partial list. How much of the ins and outs of these activities to you really know?
The truth is, many private practice owners don’t truly understand the work that goes on at the front desk. As Diane McCutcheon says, “Not many owners have sat in that chair. And that’s a mistake.”
Without real knowledge of what goes on at the front desk, practice owners can’t identify best outcomes, set goals, or define success. And that quickly leads to confusion with front desk staff themselves, who often work without a clear mandate about what it means to do their jobs well.
As part of leading a successful business, practice owners need to create a culture of mutual understanding, respect and appreciation between clinical and support staff—and that starts at the top, with owners themselves.
It can be the source of significant errors
Diane shared with our group a statistic that left our jaws dropped: 97 percent of denials occur as a result of front-desk errors. Those mistakes include:
- Data entry errors
- Benefits not being checked
- Claims not being checked
- Missed filing deadlines
- Failure to get authorizations
And that’s just one component of a typical front-desk workload. Inefficient scheduling, billing and collections errors, inconsistent communications and marketing practices are all critical hot spots that result in reduced patient satisfaction and lost revenue.
- Those errors are COSTLY
In a typical PT private practice, those benefit denials alone can account for 10-25 percent in missed revenue.
In a practice that generates $500,000 a year in revenue, that means potentially losing out on more than $100,000 a year because of fixable errors in just one segment of your business administration.
For practice owners, stats like these are tough to hear. The best remedy isn’t to start scolding and placing blame your front desk staff.
Instead of getting stuck in frustration and resentment, focus instead on implementing a plan to help your front desk run better:
- Hiring the right front desk staff
- Training them effectively (including the essential, often overlooked cross-training)
- Establishing lines of consistent communication among your staff—and with you
- Setting measurable, achievable goals—and creating systems so your front desk staff can meet them
Stay tuned, because I’ll be talking about all of these elements in more detail, soon.
You know your leadership makes all the difference to how well your staff performs, and how profitable your practice is. But most days, you’re so busy you can’t get out of your own way.
Schedule your free, 30-minute Laser Focus Call to discuss how you can empower and equip your front-desk staff with the tools they need to deliver consistent, exceptional results.