You are likely familiar with the routine of going to a doctor’s office. You walk in, the receptionist says hello, and you are given some paperwork to fill out. More often than not, there is some waiting due to your doctor being tied up with previous appointments. Before too long, you are asked to come in.
Front office management deals with a variety of elements, each of which must be well managed in order to create the best experience possible for guests. These elements involve:
- The reception area
- The professionalism of the staff
- How people answer the phone
- Location of the building
Most front offices do a decent enough job with this, with professional receptionists and reasonably prompt service. Some of the key practices of effective front office management include cleaning, professionalism, and time management.
Keeping a clean, well-ordered reception area is fairly standard. Trash, tracked in dirt, scattered reading materials, and so forth create a bad impression, but those are fortunately not the norm.
The way staff treat guests as they come in is central to their experience at the office. If the receptionist or other staff members are not friendly or professional, it can drive people away. On the other hand, making sure people feel welcome while accommodating them quickly will make a much better first impression.
When it comes to professional conduct, communication and customer service skills are a must, so the best people for those tasks are best put up front. However, in most cases, people are welcomed, but then ignored as they wait for appointments.
Front office staff are usually busy. In the hustle of keeping up with accounting, reporting, billing, and administration needs, it can be easy for them to lose focus on their primary responsibility: making sure guests feel welcome. Time needs to be well managed so that patients get in to their appointments promptly.
Usually, the reception area becomes the waiting area. Patients are asked to sit and wait for their physician, which may take anywhere from five minutes to half hour.
Preparing for Front Office Work
These skills are important for anyone in a medical office assistant program. Not only will it help create a good first impression for patients, it is also a strong indicator of the kind of care people will receive at the doctor’s office.
Summary: Most front offices are managed with a moderate degree of professionalism, cleanliness, and effective use of time.