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The Front Desk Factor: How to Build Your Team to Boost Business

June 05, 2024

A front desk staff member greets a patient as they approach the desk. The staff member has long, dark curly hair and wears a white shirt with a pink cardigan on top. The clinic's walls behind the staff member feature orange products on shelves and a framed logo of the clinic's name, Clementine, in orange and white. A printer sits on the side of the desk. There are illustrated elements of a blue shooting star and a blue speech bubble with three hearts around the staff member. Clementine Natural Health’s front desk / Photo: Ian Harland

By Kate Bradley

It’s a busy day at your clinic’s front desk.

Phones are ringing, emails are pinging, and your team is there with friendly smiles, greeting every visitor (for the first time or the thousandth time).

Your front desk is the face of your business, where first impressions are everything. It’s also where you can set the stage for a long-lasting relationship with your patients.

But how do you build the dream front desk team? 🤔

We’ve got your back with advice from our friends at Myodetox, a Toronto-founded multi-disciplinary wellness center.

The Myodetox team has brought in and trained their fair share of front desk staff, with 16 locations across North America and more in the pipeline.

As their business has grown, they’ve seen the importance of investing in a frontline team across their locations.

The exterior of Myodetox's clinic in West Hollywood, Los Angeles at night. We see the logo in white and can see into the reception with the front desk and a staff member standing at the desk. Myodetox’s West Hollywood location / Photo: Myodetox

In our webinar, Hiring, Training, and Retaining an Exceptional Front Desk Team, Myodetox shared they’re all about client experience — and that your frontline staff can have a huge impact on that.

A strong, knowledgeable front desk team can juggle navigating a busy schedule to help your patients get the treatments they need, answer complicated billing questions, and even help ease pre-appointment jitters. This builds loyalty which, as Myodetox has learned, translates to great business.

Here’s how you can hire and train the best candidates for your clinic’s frontline — and keep them engaged for the long haul.

Identify your non-negotiables and the gaps in your team — and hire to meet those needs

All right, so you’re ready to assemble your dream team. Your first step is to get crystal clear on what your practice needs.

Myodetox’s hiring team gets this clarity by determining their non-negotiables before beginning the interview process. This means making sure the candidate’s availability matches their clinic’s needs, that they are aligned on wage expectations, and that the candidate can start when needed.

Myodetox starts the hiring process with a quick phone screening to ensure the applicant meets all these must-haves. They’ve learned firsthand the disappointment of investing time in the interview process and being ready to make an offer to a candidate — only to find out that they can’t meet the non-negotiables.

When your phone screenings are done, you’ll be left with a pool of candidates that tick all your boxes. The next step? Identify the gaps on your team — and then hire to fill those gaps. Maybe you currently have employees who shine at the hospitality side of the job, but you’re missing an insurance guru or scheduling ninja. Keeping this front of mind can help you find the right person to help you build a well-rounded team.

A clinic staff member trains a front desk staff member. They both wear dark grey shirts. The trainer, who has long, curly blonde hair, points to a computer screen in front of them. The trainee, who has long, dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, looks at the screen. The clinic's walls are white and we see a bit of their light blue, circular logo behind them. Coast Performance Rehabilitation’s front desk / Photo: Ian Harland

In the interview process, you’ll want to make sure that the candidate will fit into your culture. Can you see them interacting well with other teammates? Consider the non-negotiable traits you value most — for example, maintaining a positive attitude under stress — and evaluate their culture fit based on that.

Take the time you need to find the right fit. After all, operations teams are the backbone of a clinic. Myodetox recommends never settling on someone just because they were looking to fill a seat at the front desk.

On the flip side, what if you come across an amazing candidate, but they’re not exactly what you need right now? Consider keeping the candidate warm. Touch base every so often to keep them engaged and interested in the clinic — you never know when they might be able to step in to help your team when the time is right.

Keep training consistent and easy to replicate

So now you’ve found a great candidate and they’ve signed on the dotted line — things are looking good for your growing team. But this is where the real work begins.

Myodetox has some tips on how to get your new employee up to speed quickly.

Making your training predictable and replicable is key. This will keep the impact of employee turnover to a minimum by allowing you to get your new hires ready to work as quickly as possible.

Myodetox has found success by creating a template of the training topics you need to cover with your new employees in a platform like Google Sheets, Excel, or — like Myodetox uses — Notion. Identify everything the trainee needs to learn and schedule the subjects across your onboarding period.

The Myodetox team uses a two-week onboarding period and recommends scheduling no more than 4 or 5 hours of training per day. Any longer than that, they’ve found, can overwhelm a new employee with too much information at once.

Engage your front desk with a one-team, one-mindset approach

When you think of a practice’s front desk, you may think of friendly employees greeting patients and answering the phone — but a talented and motivated frontline team is capable of so much more than that.

Myodetox works towards a “one team, one mindset approach”. This approach starts with hospitality, then extends to communicating with clients and clinicians, complex schedule management, billing, and overall clinic maintenance.

It has huge benefits, too. When your front desk employee is empowered, they can be a strategic business partner — sharing insights from patients, understanding practitioners’ scheduling preferences, and helping to make the most of a patient’s insurance benefits, for example.

A clinic staff member smiles and chats with a front desk staff member. The clinic staff member has dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. The front desk staff member has long blonde hair. They both wear navy blue scrubs. Behind them, their clinic's name, Restoration Health Clinic, is on the wall in silver letters against a blue and white backdrop, and there is a white shelving/storage unit with blue bins and plants placed throughout the shelves. Restoration Health Clinic’s front desk / Photo: Ian Harland

What does this “one team, one mindset” look like in action?

We love Myodetox’s example: they encourage their front desk team to book personal appointments at their own clinic. By experiencing a treatment for themselves, front desk employees can speak about the benefits of their clinic’s offerings more confidently and relate to clients on a more personal level.

This mindset not only tears down silos in your practice — it’s also helpful for your bottom line. Breaking down these walls allows your front desk team to be key players in your business by making everyone feel connected to a group win.

Having an industry-leading front desk team requires an ongoing effort. It’s the pulse of your clinic, and the more care and effort you put into it, the smoother things will flow for your whole clinic.

A checklist with an orange background and a silhouette profile with star illustrations around it. The title of the checklist is Hiring, Onboarding, and Training
Go-To Checklist. The first section is "Hiring" with the following checkboxes listed underneath: Role assessment; Job posting; Screen #1: Review resume & cover letter; Screen #2: Phone interview; Interview #1: Skills and abilities; Interview #2: Company fit; References and criminal record check (if applicable); Extend formal offer; Contract signing; Establish a start date and onboarding/training schedule. The second section is "Onboarding" with the following checkboxes listed underneath: Create an onboarding plan and schedule; Schedule time/meetings with key players; Let coworkers know when to expect them; Prepare their workspace; Prep their tech: log-ins, passwords, phone numbers, emails, etc. Gather any resources you may want them to review. The third section is "Training" with the following checkboxes listed underneath: Create a training plan and schedule; Gather resources (ex. Jane’s Front Desk Training!); Schedule time with current employees for training/shadowing as needed; Create a plan to monitor progress and evaluate the success of training

Looking for more tips to help build your team? 💡

We’ve got an awesome resource just for you: check out these checklists and worksheets on hiring, onboarding, and training your team.

And for even more expert advice on clinic life, check out Front Desk magazine. You can even sign up for print issues, delivered right to your clinic!

The cover of Front Desk magazine against an orange background with the text: "Subscribe today for your FREE magazine"

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