YellowTelescope, a RealSelf Affiliate, just launched a cost-effective and useful program to address the industry’s need for front office training called ReceptionScope. RealSelf Director of Practice Development, Eva Sheie, caught up with YellowTelescope Executive Vice President and Partner, Ed Syring, to find out more about this new program that helps ignite value in aesthetic practices’ first line of direct engagement with patients.
- When your front desk lacks a consistent process, it can leave opportunities for patient engagement and additional revenue on the table.
- Staff add value to the practice by engaging in revenue-generating activities, but also by optimizing everyday work and recurring tasks that keep the lights on.
- ReceptionScope is offering webinars to teach staff best practices that help grow the practice and keep it well-run.
- Ongoing staff development not only helps staff be more valuable to their practices—it’s also a motivating investment in professional development that can increase their engagement and stem turnover.
Eva Sheie: You’ve been in hundreds of practices over the years. What are the most common issues you see with the front desk?
Ed Syring: The front desk is the front line, the first impression. And of course, interaction with the patient, whether on the phone or in person, is always the top priority. While you need the right personalities in the front desk team—positive, welcoming, service-oriented while able to be directive—there is often a lack of 1) specific process to be consistently followed, and 2) reinforcement of those processes.
Even if a front desk is generally effective, there are almost always missed opportunities for additional patient engagement. From upselling additional products or services to gathering more patient reviews, retaining patients for repeat treatments, obtaining good content for social media and marketing, and more, there are so many ways the front desk team can further contribute to the success of the practice, and their own future career success.
Beyond that, a common challenge is time and task management: it’s often either crazy busy or dead silent at the front desk. There is such a need to help the front desk prioritize and execute the myriad duties beyond answering phones and greeting patients, which in and of itself can be enough to overwhelm even the sharpest employee.
Finally, we all too often see front desk team members feel they know all the right things to do, and even think they are doing them all the time, but all it takes is one call to the office to see where they are “off-program” or missing steps. If you think your front desk team is the best on Earth, just give your office a call or spend a half hour observing them and you’ll see the need for more training and reinforcement of best practices.
Eva: What are some ways you recommend the front desk staff use their time between calls or check-ins?
Ed: Three of the most value-added activities they can perform are cross promotions, asking for reviews, and product sales—the specific needs of the position will vary quite a bit from practice to practice.
Crucially, there are also important duties that merely keep the place open and don’t directly lead to growth, but whose optimizations can pay still significant dividends for a practice. Those include tasks like charting, inventory, supply ordering, vendor or medical rep coordination, general team support, facility maintenance, etc. that need to be attended to between patient interactions.
Maximizing efficiency in accomplishing these tasks, while maintaining a sales focus without a pushy or high-pressure approach, is actually where the greatest opportunity lies for staff to contribute to practice growth.
To help grow their skill set, we’ll be offering webinars to teach practice staff:
- Best practices for promoting products to patients even if they’ve already had a procedure or treatment.
- The most effective approach to gaining patient testimonials and online reviews—including RealSelf reviews.
- Schedule management tactics that promote effective patient flow to maximize both daily revenue and patient satisfaction.
And so much more. We also welcome the feedback from front desk teams and management regarding their very specific challenges so we might address what they are seeing in real time in their practices. It will very much be an interactive program to the extent viewers are willing to provide comments and questions during and after each webinar.
Eva: I’ve heard frequent turnover is common with this position. Once someone’s been trained, it is frustrating to lose them and start over. How do you anticipate that ReceptionScope will lighten the training load when turnover occurs?
Ed: It’s actually much more about preventing the turnover than it is about addressing it when it happens. Having a consistent, monthly program presented live by a team of internationally recognized industry leaders—with access to the recordings for another 30 days thereafter—should help the front desk feel tied in to something even bigger than the practice and more valued by the practice in what often feels like a thankless job, since the practice is investing in their ongoing development.
Of course, it’s also paramount that the training is locally reinforced not just by management but by practice ownership.
The doctors should be meeting with the front desk, even briefly, after each webinar to discuss what was learned, what was simply a refresher but valuable reinforcement, and even think of additional topics they would like to see addressed in the future—all while reinforcing the importance of implementing what was learned.
We’re in the business of developing and reinforcing best practices tested in hundreds of practices over the last decade; a lot of our processes are intuitive, but many are not. We fully expect front desk team members to think they know what we’re teaching as often as they learn something completely new. The idea isn’t to always blow their minds with brand new magical tricks—it’s much more about reinforcing what they should already be doing while introducing new techniques to increase their productivity, effectiveness, and ultimately contribute to sales while improving the chances they want to stay in the job.
Lastly, we know starting off the right way can go a long way—that’s why we offer a simple staffing service for front desk reception, as well as the ReceptionScope Launch program, where we train practices’ staff members on a whole slew of best practices.
Eva: Another challenge is when someone’s been in the job for a long time, doing great, but needs inspiration. Will the ReceptionScope program be useful to these loyal staff members as well?
Ed: Part of being great at any job is learning life skills, staying motivated, and the like so that you are open to learning and implementing the more tangible skills. Approximately a quarter of our webinars will be focused on personal and professional growth.
As for those important hard skills, one of our top requests from doctors was to do something to help train the front desk on an ongoing basis. Previously, it was simply cost prohibitive for a practice to have us work with the front desk in the same way we work with the top patient care coordinators, administrators, and providers through our YellowTelescope long term practice management, staffing and consulting services.
By utilizing the webinar format, we’re now able to have a very scalable way to reach practices with high-level information presented by a range of our executive team members—some of the most experienced in the industry. Even the most tenured folks at the highest level of the medical practice team need ongoing support with regular calls for years, so it could be even more important for less highly-paid team members.
Loyalty is a two-way street. If the practice is going to reinvest in ongoing training, the team members owe it to the practice to continually learn new techniques with the rapidly changing nature of our industry.
A front desk associate who started in the early aughts, let alone the 90s, is operating with an entirely new level of technology and human interaction today, from EMRs to phone systems, marketing, and the pace with which patients are moving in the most competitive aesthetic environment in history. And it will continue to change. The need for them to continue to develop remains paramount, and we hope to reinvigorate them with new information and an approachable, motivating, and fun presentation style.
Eva: Can you give us a preview of some topics you’ll be covering?
Ed: Absolutely! To name a few:
- Being service-oriented yet directive to best help the patient while maximizing practice efficiency
- Best practices for call and patient intake triage
- Defusing challenging situations
- Garnering the most positive reviews and testimonials
- Ethical upselling
- Marketing support and social media promotion, with contributions from our SEOversite and iScreamSocialMedia teams
- Task and schedule management
Again, there will also be some personal growth and professional development among many other topics over the coming months and years. And we are expecting to hear from practices about any other topics viewers would like covered.
This will by no means come anywhere close to our most comprehensive and costly consulting agreements, or even resemble the training and experience of attending our annual YellowTelescope Training Seminar in Miami each fall. Still, our aim is to provide an extremely low-cost option for practices to get tested, immediately implementable best practices on a month-to-month basis while getting a sense of what we do the rest of each month and year more comprehensively. If we can help save, or obtain, just half of one additional surgery or procedure each in an entire year of 12 webinars, it pays for the service. So for most practices, we feel it’s a no-brainer. We’re really excited about it and appreciate the interest from RealSelf!
To learn more, complete this short form to request more information about ReceptionScope by YellowTelescope or other YellowTelescope events and services.
Ed Syring is the Executive Vice President of YellowTelescope , SEOversite, and iScreamSocialMedia. He has worked with over 10,000 patients worldwide, oversees the staffing, sales, and marketing for clients nationwide and has worked with hundreds of practices throughout his career.