Teaching Your Front Desk Employee to Make You Money

What is the job of your front desk employee?   If you ask them, my guess is that nothing on their list of responsibilities would include making you money.  It would probably look like this:

  • Answer the phone
  • Mail batteries
  • Take messages
  • Enter data into the computer
  • Recall patients

If this is the case (and I’m sure that it is), it’s time for an employee/employer chat.   The majority of practice owners want to make money.  The majority of front desk employees want to get paid to do their job.

Make it clear to everyone you employ that your number one goal and therefore their number one goal (while employed by you) is to make sure that your practice is as profitable as is humanly possible.   The concept may seem simplistic, but the goal should be to change the mindset of your employee’s so the next time you ask them for a list of their responsibilities it’ll should look like this:

  • Answer the phone and make an appointment or solve a problem
  • Mail batteries – as quickly as possible to increase patient satisfaction
  • Take messages and make sure they get to the correct person and make sure all calls are returned.
  • Enter data into the computer making sure that the information is complete, accurate and up to date.
  • Recall patients with a plan to exceed the required monthly goal.

In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to explain the primary goal of your business.  We don’t live in a perfect world, so take the time to make it clear to your staff what’s important to you.





Exit Interviews, Why You Should Do Them

Kathy, your long time administrative assistant just gave her two-week notice.  Whether you saw it coming or not, (and I’m sure you’ll take little comfort in this next statement), you can learn something from every experience.

An exit interview is typically a meeting between at least one representative from a company’s human resources (HR) department (in most small offices, the owner) and a departing employee. (The departing employee usually has voluntarily resigned vs. getting laid off or fired.)

What’s the Purpose of an Exit Interview?

Human resources departments conduct exit interviews to gather data for improving working conditions and retaining employees. However, a hidden purpose is to help employers avoid costly litigation down the road, caused by “disgruntled” employees. In other words, limit your comments and take good notes.

About Exit Interview Questions

Employers ask exit interview questions verbally or in questionnaire form. These days, it’s not uncommon for exit interview questions to be in electronic questionnaire form on computers.

Exit Interview Questions – Samples

Listed below are samples of the types of exit interview questions that employers commonly ask departing employees.

  • What is your primary reason for leaving?
  • Did anything trigger your decision to leave?
  • What was most satisfying about your job?
  • What was least satisfying about your job?
  • What would you change about your job?
  • Did your job duties turn out to be as you expected?
  • Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?
  • Did you receive adequate support to do your job?
  • Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?
  • Were you satisfied with this company’s merit review process?
  • Did this company help you to fulfill your career goals?
  • Do you have any tips to help us find your replacement?
  • What would you improve to make our workplace better?
  • Were you happy with your pay, benefits and other incentives?
  • What was the quality of the supervision you received?
  • What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?
  • Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this company?
  • Did any company policies or procedures (or any other obstacles) make your job more difficult?
  • Would you consider working again for this company in the future?
  • Would you recommend working for this company to your family and friends?
  • How do you generally feel about this company?
  • What did you like most about this company?
  • What did you like least about this company?
  • What does your new company offer that this company doesn’t?
  • Can this company do anything to encourage you to stay?
  • Before deciding to leave, did you investigate a transfer within the company?
  • Did anyone in this company discriminate against you, harass you or cause hostile working conditions?
  • Any other comments?

It’s always a sobering moment when an employee decides to leave. The end of any relationship is usually an uncomfortable moment for everyone involved.  Use the information you gain to your advantage and hopefully you can limit the number of exit interviews you ever have to do.

Vacation Days, Personal Days and Holidays, Oh My!

It doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is, scheduling around vacation days, personal days and holidays is a pain in the neck.  Productivity can take a hit when employees take vacation at the busiest times. And scheduling employees during the holidays can cause logistical headaches, dampened morale (no, not every can leave early the day before the holiday) and legal risks (it’s not fair that everyone can’t leave early the day before the holiday).

You wouldn’t dream of having informal payroll policies, right? Yet too many employers treat vacation time  (a form of compensation) as a casual entitlement. And getting too informal can cost you.  The first year everyone has Thanksgiving Day off (the actual legal holiday).  Year Two, everyone leaves the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by noon (do you want to deny me the opportunity to get a head start on over the hills and through the woods to grandmas’ house).  Year Three, “Patients never want an appointment the day after Thanksgiving, too many great sales.  Why don’t we just take that day off too”!

You can minimize holiday scheduling hassles with some smart preventative measures, and adopt a clear policy for vacation request procedures.

Please visit this link SME Toolkit Build Your Business.  It’ll provide you with a wealth of ideas about how to create a paid/unpaid leave policy for your office.

With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make sure your vacation policies are clear and fair.  And more importantly, designed to take one more headache off your plate!

How to Write a Job Description

Job descriptions are the cornerstone of communication between you and your staff. After all, it’s hard for supervisors to measure job effectiveness during performance reviews unless you and the employee both know what you expect.

Key Ingredients

Analyze Essential Job Functions

The key part of job descriptions is an item-by-item list of the job’s duties and responsibilities.  What kind of personality, experience and education are needed to perform the job

Outline the job’s goals. It’s important to identify which are the “essential” job functions critical to the job’s successful performance.

To identify essential functions, look at the purpose of the job, the frequency of each function and the consequences if that function isn’t performed.

Carefully drafted job descriptions can be useful tools in court. For example, if an employee files an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit, courts will review what the organization has identified as the job’s “essential functions” to see if the charges have merit. Without a written job description, the court may decide for itself which functions are essential.


Position by Title

Titles may seem unimportant, but they carry a great deal of weight in the workplace and in court. Each position’s title should match the level of authority and responsibility.

For example, “administrative assistant” should be doing administrative tasks. Don’t upgrade employees by giving them inflated titles: You’ll only regret it later when they ask for more money or refuse to perform tasks they consider beneath them.

Inappropriate titles also factor into discrimination charges. For example, if you have two administrative assistants and one handles filing and the other runs the entire office, be prepared to explain why the first employee isn’t being paid the same as the second employee.


Include the title of the employee’s direct supervisor and other identifying details that separate this position from others.

Make sure the job descriptions refer to other job titles, not other employee by name.

Take the time to write a good job description. They’re an important element of the employment process.  Any employee coming into your organization needs to have a clearly defined role and expectations to ensure his or her success.  By following the tips listed above, you’re more likely to create a job description that will attract the superstar you are looking for.