The receptionist has been a long-established fixture of most health and wellness practices. A bridge between practitioner and client, someone to handle much of the business and administrative tasks of running a practice.
But is this necessary in 2023? Has technological advances meant that the receptionist is now outdated? An expense that can be cut?
There’s a few points to consider when thinking about whether employing a receptionist is worth your money.
Receptionists can be an asset to any practice if they save practitioners time. Inquiries, phone calls, organisational tasks such as handling bookings, and other duties can take up a lot of your time.
Time is money after all. If you have an established health practice where you can charge what you’re worth to clients, it’s a better use of your time to see more clients than handle administrative tasks yourself. Not convinced? Contrast the hourly rate you receive when you see a client vs the hourly rate you would pay the receptionist. Most times, it’s far better value for the receptionist to do this work.
One of the biggest reasons health and wellness practitioners are considering no longer hiring receptionists is because of advances in technology.
With online booking and payment systems now available, many of the tasks that receptionists previously would have done can now be outsourced. The fee of setting up these systems can be very minimal compared to the staffing fee and save you a lot in the long run.
Some clients prefer speaking to a person on the phone, and in this case, a receptionist can be helpful in a busy practice where you aren’t available to answer the phone.
The inclusion of a receptionist in your practice has an impact your clients perception of your practice. Whilst not necessarily for positive or negative, it’s something to be aware of.
Many clients expect receptionists when they enter your practice. This mindset is simply due to the fact that for so long, it’s been assumed.
Some clients may not be bothered, or even prefer dealing directly with you for administrative tasks. Performing your own administrative duties can show clients that you have a personal interest in overseeing all aspects of their care. On the other hand, some more traditionally-minded clients may see this as unprofessional and a statement on your practice.
The receptionist has value in welcoming clients to your practice, often in your absence. The receptionist often assures people that you are aware of their arrival, which is reassuring to clients. If you don’t employ a receptionist consider how you will ensure clients who arrive early (or late) will be made to feel welcome.
Ultimately, you cannot control how all people perceive your practice. So long as you have a plan in place to fulfill the welcoming function of a receptionist, it’s up to your own personal preference.
Do you have the budget to employ a receptionist? Whilst they can be a valuable asset they also cost money. Experienced medical receptionists on average earn a salary of $50,000 - $100,000 a year.
If your practice is unable to sustain a receptionist, or you’d like to invest that money elsewhere it may be worthwhile considering an alternative.
Our final thoughts
If your practice is still growing and you haven’t got the capital or client business yet, be reassured that thanks to technology your practice can still function effectively without a receptionist.
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