Conversations: Is your front desk saying the right thing to patients?

The right words delivered by the right people. It’s the difference between a lasting connection and a bad impression, a life-long customer and a one-time sale, or no sale at all.

Stop for a moment, read the opening statement again and ask yourself this question:

“In my office, which employees have these conversations every day?”

In most clinics, the answer is: Your front office staff.

They are the people in the office having conversations everyday — mostly with patients.

They are your point of first contact for your potential new patients. Are you sure they know the words and conversations they need to have to make that customer an actual scheduled new patient?

If you want the opportunity to deliver on the outcomes you know you (or your clinicians) can produce, then that patient has to be scheduled first. No booking, no treatment. It’s as simple as that. So those conversations really count — you need to get involved.


Recently I spoke to a Physical Therapist who manages an outpatient clinic in North Carolina.  We were talking about the need to have the front office dialed in on the value that the practice brings to the patients. He followed up with me a week later to share an experience.

A potential new patient had walked in to inquire about Physical Therapy. The PT by coincidence happened to catch this potential patient (who had not scheduled) as she was heading out (meaning, the front desk had not scheduled them).

The PT stopped the potential patient and engaged her in a conversation. He shared the fact that his clinic sees patients one-on-one with no double booking. Guess what happened?

The woman went back to the front desk and scheduled appointments.

Why was the new patient headed out the door?

The PT took full responsibility on our call and stated that his front office was not aware of the clinic’s ‘Value Proposition.’

The front office did not know what conversation needed to happen with potential new patients; therefore they did not give the potential new patient any reason to schedule her appointment in this office.

My follow up question to him was: “How many times a day does this happen?”…on the phone?… or when you’re not catching them at the front door?”

I also asked: “How many times can your practice afford to have that happen?”

Two Easy Steps To Make the Right Conversation Happen

To ensure that this conversation with patients occurs successfully, first, you need to have your front office fully prepared to share your Value Proposition.

Next, you have to check and recheck that the conversation is happening.

For example, sit at the front desk for an hour or two and listen to the conversations. Take my word, you will know exactly what’s going on just by listening to one side.

I know what you’re thinking: you don’t have the time to sit at the front desk.

Well if that’s the case, how many patients are you willing to lose on the phone?

Make the time!

And train your staff to have the right conversations. Design the whole process so you know exactly what the outcome will be!

Jerry Durham is a patient engagement expert from San Francisco, USA, who helps Physical Therapists build better, more profitable businesses. With a following of over 11,500 on Twitter, Jerry is a massive influencer in the US — sharing his cutting-edge tactics to break through what they perceive their PT role to be and step into a role that cracks the core to a never ending stream of patients.


By | 2017-04-13T22:48:50+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on Conversations: Is your front desk saying the right thing to patients?

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