Why Your Physical Therapy Practice Needs Virtual Receptionists

Sep 24, 2021 | Blog, Business Outcomes, Virtual Receptionist

When creating a front desk strategy, you may typically lean towards one of two options for managing the patient experience. In-person PT medical receptionists create a welcoming environment for patients by greeting them with warm, friendly smiles. Self-service kiosks streamline front desk operations by automating check-in, appointment scheduling, and other front-office processes.

However, both are ineffective in managing front desk operations. What you need are virtual receptionists.

Here’s why:

What’s Wrong With In-Person PT Medical Receptionists And Self-Service Kiosks?

Both in-person receptionists and self-service kiosks have substantial drawbacks that lead to operational inefficiency.

In-person receptionists have disadvantages such as:

  • Unavailability – Paid time off, sick leave, and sudden emergencies can leave your front desk unattended. This leads to provider frustration as providers are forced to divide their attention between administrative tasks and attending to appointments
  • Underutilization – Clinics that have low patient traffic underutilize their receptionists. Thus, clinics are unable to maximize the productivity of their receptionists
  • Staffing issues – On average, it takes 3-6 months to hire a new receptionist. However, each receptionist lasts only about 6-12 months. This means that your clinics will regularly have an empty front desk

Self-service kiosks struggle with limitations like:

  • Lacking the human touch – Kiosks are unable to provide the same warmth that human receptionists provide. This can affect the patient experience and make your clinic feel cold and unwelcoming
  • Struggling with complex interactions – Automated kiosks are only capable of accommodating basic interactions. They cannot sympathize with frustrated patients or answer complex inquiries
  • Being inflexible to operational changes – Unlike human receptionists, kiosks are not agile in adapting to workflow protocols. They have to undergo regular periods of downtime for maintenance and updates

How PT Virtual Receptionists Can Help Empower Your Practice

Virtual receptionists are receptionists that manage front desk operations remotely. They combine the best of in-person receptionists and self-service kiosks without their weaknesses.

With a live-streaming receptionist platform like WelcomeWare, they can significantly enhance operational efficiency in your physical therapy practice.

Here are a few ways how:

Enables an always-available front desk

By letting your physical therapy receptionists work remotely, they’re less likely to be unavailable. They no longer need to travel, which allows them to have more energy and enthusiasm when interacting with patients.

In addition, with a platform like WelcomeWare, you can implement protocols in place to enable a front desk that is always available. When a receptionist becomes unavailable, another receptionist from your front desk team can easily fill in.

Retains the human touch

Virtual receptionist platforms like WelcomeWare utilize kiosks to facilitate check-in and other front office processes. But unlike automated kiosks, these kiosks retain the human touch through live-streaming receptionists that interact with the patients.

Plus, virtual receptionists are significantly more flexible and agile than automated kiosks. They can adapt and accommodate complex interactions while maintaining a warm, friendly smile that creates a welcoming environment for patients.

Can attend multiple front desks simultaneously

If you manage multiple clinics, you can tremendously benefit from virtual receptionists.

Each virtual receptionist can cover multiple front desks from a single location. With a platform like WelcomeWare, they can live-stream themselves spontaneously on a kiosk and switch to another kiosk when the previous interaction finishes.

This maximizes the return on investment of your front desk team and ensures that each receptionist brings a lot of value to your overall operations.

Reduces costs

Virtual receptionists allow you to utilize a single front desk to manage all your front desk operations, providing you the opportunity to reduce your headcount, focus on your best receptionists, and cut down on staffing costs.

Also, virtual receptionists are more likely to stay at your company due to the rare prospect of working remotely in a front office role. This means that you no longer have to worry about constantly hiring, training, and retaining receptionists.

Expands your candidate pool

Since virtual receptionists can manage your front desk operations from anywhere, you can now expand your talent pool and source your receptionists from anywhere.

This is significantly beneficial if you were previously unable to access skilled candidates due to location.

How To Leverage Virtual Receptionists

Leveraging a virtual front desk may seem like you need to hire new receptionists. Fortunately, you can use your currently existing front desk team and train them on protocols for working remotely.

The main challenge is finding the right virtual receptionist platform that will enable remote work for your receptionists. It must contain features that enable them to perform essential front office tasks while securing your patients’ personal identifiable information (PII).

This means that the platform must provide robust software integrated with a variety of powerful hardware options that suit your clinic’s needs. Receptionist platform providers like WelcomeWare, for example, offer desktop kiosks for small clinics and freestanding kiosks for larger clinics.

Other helpful features include:

  • Visitor arrival notifications – When a patient interacts with a kiosk, the platform will notify the provider about the patient’s arrival so they can prepare properly
  • Customizable branding and forms – The platform should be flexible and modifiable to match the brand image and protocols of the clinic
  • Reporting dashboard – You must be able to have a clear view of the performance metrics of each virtual receptionist so you can make better-informed decisions on your front desk strategy

It can be difficult to choose the right virtual receptionist platform that will provide everything you need. If you want to cut right to the chase and utilize the best one for your clinic, WelcomeWare is a versatile, flexible platform that specializes in physical therapy practices. Our software and hardware solution is designed specifically to significantly enhance the operations of practices like yours.

Virtualize and maximize your front desk

Enable your receptionists to attend multiple locations at the same time

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