By: Charlene White

Many doctors underestimate the power of the initial meet and greet in their practice.  It is a powerful 30 second event that is over looked.  Ask yourself a question, “How much time and effort have you put into training the meters and greeters on your team?”  If the honest answer is “not much,” your patients are probably experiencing what I call the “Average Meet and Greet.”  It goes something like this:

The following is an Example of an “Average Meet & Greet”:

  • Mom and David, the patient, walk in for his new patient appointment. Mom walks over to the desk and says to the appointment coordinator, “David Williams is here for his appointment at 10 a.m.”
  • The appointment coordinator says, “Oh, OK. Did you bring your paperwork?”
  • Mom hands it to the appointment coordinator and she proceeds to explore the paperwork. Then the appointment coordinator asks, “Did you bring your insurance card?”
  • Mom gives her the insurance card.
  • Or Mom may say, “No, I’m sorry I forgot the paperwork.” The in-depth questionnaire and medical history forms are handed to Mom and she is asked to sit down and complete the forms. Often this takes 10 – 20 minutes to complete. The Treatment Coordinator is nervous because now she is running behind.
  • Mom is thinking, “Why did I have to fill out so much information when we have not accepted treatment yet?” She is annoyed.
  • Mom comes to the desk when she is done and hands over the paperwork. The Treatment Coordinator is notified that the patient is ready. The Treatment Coordinator comes to the reception area and calls the patient from the edge of the room. Mom is a little unsure if she is supposed to come with David.
  • The mother and patient are seated in the consultation room. A generic video about orthodontics is played for 7 – 10 minutes. The Treatment Coordinator leaves them watching the video. The treatment coordinator returns with the doctor shortly after the video ends.
  • No time has been spent building rapport, chit-chatting, and discussing the patient’s and Mom’s wants and needs. The personal connection is missing.
  • A tour of the office has not been done and initial panorex and photos have not been taken.

The following is a Peak Performance Meet & Greet:

  • The new patients coming in for the day have been discussed at the morning huddle. Everyone is aware of who is coming in and the information gathered on the phone has been researched.
  • A check to see if the new patient has other family members currently or previously treated in the office is completed.
  • Insurance information has been confirmed.
  • A check to see whether or not the paperwork has been completed online. If not, Mom will receive the quick and easy form.
  • The appointment coordinator is aware that David is due at 10 a.m. If he does not show by 10:10 a.m. a phone call will be made immediately to assess the status. This will be communicated to the Treatment Coordinator.
  • Mom and David walk in and go to the front desk to check-in. The appointment coordinator says, “David, welcome to our office. My name is Tracey. It’s so nice to meet you. Mrs. Jones, thank you so much for being on time and completing your information online. Terry, our treatment coordinator, will be right with you. Feel free to help yourself to our refreshment area and I’ll notify Terry you have arrived.”
  • If needed, a copy their insurance card is made at the front desk.
  • The treatment coordinator walks over to David and his Mom. She greets them warmly, introduces herself, and shows him how to sign in the computer.
  • The child fun questionnaire or teen questionnaire is given to the patient. This facilitates rapport building.
  • David is taken back to have his preliminary photographs and x-rays taken.
  • On the way back to the records area, the treatment coordinator points out positive things about the office.
  • Mom is either seated in the consultation area while the records are taken or she stays in the reception area to enjoy the atmosphere.
  • The patient’s initial records are taken and downloaded for the doctor’s discussion.
  • When the patient walks into the consultation room, ideally they should see their name on the monitor or display board.
  • In addition, a shopping logo bag with a gift of some type should also be there for them.
  • A little something for the parent is nice too. Even if it is something as simple as a mouse pad or rubber jar opener.
  • The Treatment Coordinator chit-chats with the patient and mom. This rapport building is essential to the process. She is building a relationship with David and his mom. Her goal is to find out their wants and needs. She can also refer to the fun questionnaire. “Oh I see you are on the soccer team.” Mom pipes in and adds, “David’s team won the championship this year.” “Wow! That’s awesome,” the treatment coordinator response.

Charlene’s Comment:

Don’t assume your team member knows how to make others feel important.  Practice and train together as a team. “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression” is an old saying that still holds true.  Kick it up a notch by adding passion and energy to everything you do!  People won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel.