The demands of being a CCS/CSR/Front desk receptionist (whatever name your hospital chooses to call you-I like to call us the gatekeepers) can be very hectic. So, please give yourself a pat on the back for being a part of such an important role in the hospital. Being able to manage your time and juggle everything being thrown at you is a MUST. This is not an easy job, it definitely takes a special breed to do what we all do on a daily basis and succeed. The DEMANDS never stop from the clients to the techs to the doctors, we are needed!
How I manage, is making a list and prioritizing my day as things get put on my to-do list.
Keep a written list-not a mental one.
Write. It. Down. Jot everything down! Then cross it off once you're done. Think of it as your brains external hard drive. A few examples on my list right now: call referring clinic for records, make office supply order, complete appointment reminder calls for tomorrow, and write a blog.
It helps to prioritize your day, doing the most important first based on the list of task you have already. Things will get added on as the day goes, but you have to keep prioritizing what needs to be done first as more are added.
How do you determine what is most important?
When I am dealing with a client in front of me, that client gets my undivided attention.
If a call happens to come in, excuse yourself from the client and ask the call if this is an emergency or would they mind holding for a moment? If you have another team member, you can always ask if they do not mind grabbing the call so the client does not have to hold for an extensive amount of time.
If a team member or doctor comes up while you are working with a client and needs you to send records, or call a clinic, write a note to remind you until you are done assisting the client. Again, writing it down increases the chances of it getting done.
Finish up with the client in front of you, always thank them for their time and patience!
Talking in circles.
There is no such thing as over communicating. When getting pet information, start with name and signalment (age, sex, breed) and presenting complaint or question. With clients preferring text or email over phone calls, make sure to ask how they’d like to be contacted and get that information. Repeat all the information back to the owner/person on the phone as you understand it. This is a type of communication known as loop communication. Remember: you aren’t parroting back what they said to you verbatim you are summarizing your understanding in your own words. This helps you remember or recall the information better and clears up anything you may have missed or that they may have forgotten. Loop communication works with co-workers, doctors, and outside of work too. It may feel like you're wasting your time, but you save more time on the back end when you have the correct information to pass on and happy clients/doctors/co-workers.
Do not be afraid to ask for help!
Being able to let others know that you are overwhelmed does not show a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it takes a strong person to admit that sometimes, you just can’t do it all by yourself. And that is okay!
Being pulled between the doctors, technicians, and clients with demands can be a struggle. I found this a lot more in the daytime practices I worked at. Being able to make lists for what is being asked of you is very important, however, at some point- a list won’t add more hours to the day. Knowing when I had reached my limit and could not take on anymore was just as important. Saying “Can you please ask somebody else to handle that? I am in the middle of XYZ, which takes priority and I won’t get to that in the time you need me to.” was very hard for me. Just to be clear, you are not saying “NO. I don’t want to do it.” You saying “Unfortunately, I will not be able to get that done in the appropriate time-frame.” You are the only one that knows how much you can take on and handle, without letting things fall through the cracks and that limit is different for everyone.
Take it one step at a time.
With all that is demanded of us at the front desk, it can be so easy to get overwhelmed. When that happens, it shows. We’re the first face and the last that clients see so, our interactions with them leave the most lasting impression. We don’t want that impression to be: I’m on fire, you’re on fire, everything is on fire.
Remember to take it one case, one phone call, one client, one doctor, and one task at a time. Yes, it is a demanding and fast pace position but we are all here because we love what we do. This is our passion. We are all here to support one another. Just take it one step at a time and remember to BREATHE!
You are not alone.
At the end of the day, know that there is somebody else out there that feels the same way. You are not alone and if there is anything you have a question on, feedback on something that could help others that you find helps you, we are all here to listen. We are each other’s resource every day. If there is something you want to know, we’re here for you.