Far too often we hear comments from physicians like "It's the front desk. How hard can it be?" or "All the they do is check patients in/out and answer the phone.". When we hear comments like this we just shake our heads in wonder. If this is the attitude taken during the hiring process for the front desk then a practice is setting itsself up for failure. As we all know the front desk is an entry level position. With that said not just anyone can handle this position. Here is what to look for in a good front desk person:
Can they multi-task?
Do they have good phone communication skills?
Do they have good face-to-face communication skills?
Any experience handling money? (ie, experience balancing a drawer, collecting co-pays, giving change, etc)
The front desk staff are the people that often have the most interaction with a physician's patients. This interaction is going to have a major impact on patient satisfaction. They are the people that patients are basing their first impression of an office. A front desk staff's actions can have a direct affect on the A/R of a practice too. If the staff does not have the personality to collect money that is due from a patient or is not able to work well with the billing department, then this is can cause issues with a practice's revenue flow. This is why great communication skills are a must.
Just remember the front desk respresents a practice. They have the most interaction with patients and other employees. If there is a weakness with the front desk it affects everyone associated with the practice. More importantly, the front desk has an impact, good or bad, on every practice's A/R.