Making reception run smoothly is everyone's responsibility


Here's a position-by-position list of who should do what.

Making the front-desk run smoothly is everyone's responsibility.

When stretched thin at work, it's hard to stay positive let alone motivated to go the extra mile. But when every team member pitches in, you'll find the elasticity you need to pull through. Here's an example of each team member's role in creating a calm front desk.


Be hospitable. You don't need to designate an official greeter to guarantee clients a friendly reception—although, it's not a bad idea. Instead, everyone at the front desk should be on the welcome wagon. Whether you check them in or see them walking to an exam room, acknowledge clients with a hello and a smile. Let them know you're there to do everything you can to help move them through their appointments.

Technicians and assistants

Review records. Coming-attraction previews aren't just for the movies—or receptionists. It's important that you look at a patient's medical record before an appointment. Besides the obvious reminders—wellness needs, medication refills, and required tests—the files show how many times your team has recommended services like dental cleanings. This information helps you know how to approach clients. If a pet owner has been given three dental recommendations and still hasn't complied, you shouldn't say the same things to this person as a client who's never received a dental recommendation.

Practice managers

Handle complaints. If a pet owner encounters a problem, step up and be the team member who listens. It's common for clients to give technicians, assistants, and receptionists an ear full because those team members are most visible. Help these employees stick to their jobs by being accessible when they call to ask you to handle a tough client situation. And walk the reception area periodically to ask pet owners how their visits are going and whether they need anything. This will help you head off some troubles before they start.


Stick to the schedule. It's important to spend quality time with each client, but avoid long soliloquies about your health care philosophies or your most recent vacation. Stick to the topic at hand, present your recommendations, and keep appointments moving. If you have trouble with this, ask team members to help you stay on time by providing constant feedback. Have team members use a code phrase like, "The emergency case is in treatment room two," to tell you to wrap it up.

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