12 Aug 2016  •  HR & Employment Law  •  4min read By  • Emma John

The six must-have skills for your front desk team members

In today’s blog, Dental Consultant and multi award-winning practice owner, Emma John, looks at the skill-set required within your team if you’re going to offer and maintain ultimate levels of customer service in your dental business.

I was first asked to consider and write an article to describe the perfect receptionist, and the skills and attributes I am looking for when I either recruit or am assisting a practice I work with to recruit someone for this role.

I believe the title and job description a receptionist portrays is a long way from the person I am looking for.

Receptionists are, in my mind, a thing of the past and if you were to ask a member of the public to describe a receptionist, I am certain that what they would describe would be a long way from the front desk professional that I have in my mind. Receptionists sit behind a desk, often working within very strict parameters and are often used as a way to keep the customers away from the directors or boss. I am generally looking for quite the opposite, and for a person who actively encourages conversation and interaction at every opportunity.

So the first thing I am looking for when considering this vitally important role in the practice is, ‘Do I have someone here who can see beyond the desk?’

By this, I want a team member who sees the role as one of a host, welcoming each and every person as they come through the door. They need to demonstrate that the desk (if they have one) is merely an item of furniture and not a barrier they can hide behind.

“ The ability to show true concern and empathy, followed up with a solution, is priceless”

I am looking for a skill set that includes:

Attention to detail

This vitally important skill is the ability to pay attention when a customer gives you a name or information that is specific to them. Someone who picks up the small things will ultimately set your business apart from the rest.

Manage first impressions

There has to be a clear understanding that whoever is working at the front desk will be providing an impression of the business as a whole.

A true front-desk professional will realise that judgements on all other aspects of the care and treatment they will receive will be based on the attitude and how the front-desk make them feel.

Listening and speaking

To be able to truly listen is a skill. The ability to show true concern and empathy, followed up with a solution, is priceless and can often change perception from poor to exceptional.

The use and tone of voice should not be overlooked as it can be utilised and has the ability to project your enthusiasm and willingness to help.

Building relationships

The ability to interact will help build relationships. Front-desk teams have to understand that there are many different personality types and we interact with them may need to be adapted for each individual.

Have a passion in what they do

A front-desk host has to want to be involved in something special and be ready to pull together with a number of other team members all doing different jobs but with the same main aim if fulfilling the commitment to the customer.

Product knowledge

I believe the dental team needs to know the products and treatments they offer inside out in order to cater to all the needs the customer/patient may have.

Product knowledge is the substance to delivering service. Product knowledge will also make your customer service team sound confident, competent and efficient.

As many practices differ in the treatments they offer, this product knowledge can often be learned in-house.

It is true that the team make the business. I am the first to support that the training of teams is essential, however, you have to first find the motivated, happy people with natural warmth that want to be part of your business culture.

As a customer, you know it when you see it. As an employer, you know it when you see it. It cannot be bottled or mass-produced. The business needs to support these professionals with systems that encourage their enterprising thoughts and actions.

About the author

Emma John is a dental consultant who specialises in working with front-desk teams, ensuring that they have a uniformed approach to maintaining a ‘wow’ customer service.

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