Staff training

8 tips for training your front of house staff to manage your enquiries

As your practice grows you will need to take steps to ensure that you have the right staff in patient facing roles, whether reception or administration skills are your priority.

You may recruit someone who has a track record in working in roles on reception or in office administration, however this does not mean that they’re going to be great at booking callers into your diary for consultations and treatments. Having a proven track history in a customer service environment is valuable, but not essential to developing the ideal skills to support your practice growth. To do this You’re going to have to commit some time and resources into training, be it one member or several– they are after all the front face of your business. I’d like to cover areas of training that I believe are essential to achieving the best front-line support possible for your practice:

1) Understanding the aesthetic client: It’s really important that your staff have an insight into your clients, and can show an understanding of what makes them ‘tick’, for example:

  • Clients are purchasing an intangible product which is a decision based on trust and relationship from the outset. The initial call must represent the level of care and service that they’ll receive at all stages of the journey.
  • They may have searched for a practitioner on the internet: there are a lot practices of which many offer free consultations available so they may call a few clinics- make your staff aware of this! They have less than 10 seconds to make a great first impression!
  • Clients can be very price conscious.
  • Potential clients can be highly informed as a result of carrying out a lot of research on the internet
  • The caller may’ve been considering treatment for a while and have finally picked up the phone and may be quite nervous.

2) Understanding what makes for great customer service: Discuss great customer service with your staff. Think about situations where you’ve received excellent customer service and poor service, then discuss them, in turn asking your staff to do the same. You want them to have a high benchmark in their minds. When we do this exercise here at AR during training it almost always comes down to whether or not the caller feels as though they have been listened to and heard!

3) Staff should be equipped to answer questions: Ensure that you equip your staff with the right information to enable them to answer a range of typical questions, for example:

  • About the Clinic: Treatments offered, facilities, length of time established, where you are located, directions, opening times, accreditations, Health Care Standards where relevant.
  • About You: Give your staff key information about yourself –we call them USP’s or Unique selling Points. This means that they can relay your qualifications and experience when asked about you. For example, how many procedures you’ve carried out, how long you’ve been qualified for, any expert training that you undertake etc
  • About the treatment: It’s important for your staff to have an understanding of the full range of treatments that you offer. They don’t have to be an expert, this is after all your role, however they should be comfortable to have an initial chat with a caller. For example: costs, treatment times, sessions required, length of time treatments last etc.

4) Equip your staff to overcome objections: Any one taking calls will be faced with objections and it’s important that they learn to handle them rather than fear them. Objections are an opportunity to build a relationship with the caller. Objections may be related to:

  • Price
  • Appointment availability
  • Accessibility/Location/ Distance
  • Fear of pain or problems after treatment
  • Lack of support from a partner or loved one

5) The importance of data capture: Your staff need to ensure that they capture the contact details for every new caller. Not everyone will be ready to book a consultation during their first call and you need to be able to follow them up. It’s also important for you to know where the caller has heard about you from, especially if you are running different adverts, online campaigns and events:

  • Name
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Where they heard about you

6) Key motivators/triggers: Train your staff to ask what has prompted the call to your practice ‘today’. Clients will almost always have a trigger that’s led to them picking up the phone. Your staff should confidently refer to the trigger during their conversation with the caller, identifying with their needs. These motivators/triggers can be things such as:

  • A wedding –bride, bridesmaid or mother of the bride
  • A family outing such as swimming
  • Holidays –either one coming up or one they’ve just arrived home from feeling miserable.
  • Friends –following a night out with friends who look great or have admitted to having treatment.

7) The use of words: Using the correct language important during conversations with clients. Open and closed sentences are very important as we should avoid YES and NO – these words cut off the conversation flow, for example:

  • CLOSED: Would you like an appointment
  • OPEN: What’s a good day for you to attend an appointment?
  • OPEN: How long have you been considering treatment?
  • CLOSED: Would you like me to send you information?
  • CLOSED: Can I have your email address please?
  • OPEN: I’ll just take your email address, I’ve some information I’d like to send…

8) Listening and re-affirming: Teach your staff to listen carefully to clients and to then repeat back main points of the conversation to show they’re engaged and listening. Remember 2 ears 1 mouth! For example:

  • I understand from what you’re telling me that you’ve been concerned about your eye area for a little while now?
  • Understandably you’re nervous about coming in for the first time, but as we’ve already discussed your welcome to simply come to meet Dr xx and find out more about your suitability for treatment.

Whilst all of the 8 points above will contribute to developing your staff, they’ll not make a real difference if you don’t employ the right person to start with- look for a warm, engaged person who’s genuinely interested in what you do right from the work go!

For information about how we can support your practice please call us on 0191 7203000

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