Dental clinics see many patients daily, meaning their need for efficiency is at an all-time high. Serving many patients means managing multiple appointments & handling the clinic’s phone calls. Thankfully, dental receptionists are more than capable of handling these tasks, therefore freeing up the dentist’s time. However, practice managers and decision-makers need to understand more about the job role to maximize efficiency.
For starters, there is more than one type of dental receptionist: the in-person dental receptionist and the other virtual dental receptionist. While nearly all dental clinics are used to the former, the latter has seen a significant increase in demand over the last few years due to digitalization and constant technological advancements that make healthcare more efficient.
In-person and virtual dental receptionists share the same goal: to increase the productivity and profitability of their clinic. However, how different are they, and which makes more sense for your dental practice?
In-person or virtual dental receptionists?
As the job titles suggest, in-person dental receptionist jobs require them to work at the physical location of the dental office. While virtual dental receptionists can work from home and physically further from the practice, they can accomplish the same tasks as efficiently without needing to be in a fixed working location. Their remote nature gives them an edge over their in-person counterpart because their work isn’t limited to a particular place – they can work anywhere, provided they have a stable internet connection and comply with HIPAA regulations.
Another area where in-person and virtual dental receptionists differ is how much they cost. The average annual salary for an in-person dental receptionist ranges from $33,126 to $43,875 – roughly around $3,210 every month. In contrast, a virtual dental receptionist’s salary will save you thousands of dollars per month as they cost approximately $10 an hour.
Because in-person dental receptionists work in the clinic, many doctors think managing them is more manageable than virtual dental receptionists. Sure, most people are used to the standard in-office work setup, but that doesn’t mean managing a virtual dental receptionist is any more demanding. Getting used to a virtual setup can take effort; however, investing that time can be worthwhile considering virtual dental receptionists’ advantages.
Although virtual dental receptionists are remote workers, they have just as much initiative, work ethic, and competency as in-person staff. Their independence means practice managers and decision-makers can hand over tasks to gain more time for other taxing responsibilities. However, that doesn’t mean virtual dental receptionists do as they please because they are affiliated with an industry manager whose task is to supervise, guide, and support them. Because of that, practices can dedicate a small amount of money, time, and effort to managing them.
Because of their self-starter nature, virtual dental receptionists are also responsible for providing equipment and working space to get the job done, minimizing the need for practice managers and decision-makers to secure such assets. This can not only spare them from the trouble of maintaining equipment and space, but it can also help them save money.
Another critical area that practice managers and decision-makers need to consider when onboarding a dental receptionist is payroll. When choosing an in-person dental receptionist, actively doing payroll is unavoidable because no one else can do it but the practice itself. In contrast, practices can handle payroll passively by opting for virtual dental receptionists because the outsourcing company commonly does payroll on their behalf.
Contrary to what most people think, managing a virtual dental receptionist is similar to in-person workers – if not even more straightforward.
Dental receptionist job description
Aside from taking calls and managing patient appointments, what does a dental receptionist do? The most important expectation that both in-person and virtual dental receptionists have to meet is to always comply with HIPAA regulations. Doing so helps ensure that the sensitive patient information they handle remains private.
Dental receptionists can also handle patient insurance verification, a process that everyone in the healthcare industry knows is very tedious. Dental receptionists can take over the task and expedite it efficiently so patients can be notified before their appointments whether or not their choice of carrier will cover their treatment.
Because dental receptionists are the main point of contact, they are in the best position to manage prescription refills as they can immediately respond and act when they receive an urgent call from a patient.
Qualities of a good dental receptionist
When practice managers and decision-makers know the process of becoming a dental receptionist, they can better understand what credentials and qualifications they should look for in a candidate.
Dental receptionists spend most, if not all, of their time attending to different patient concerns – scheduling, rescheduling, urgent matters, and more. Because of that, they should be able to make and take phone calls, have a decent typing speed, use productivity tools and the practice’s choice of EMR software, efficiently juggle multiple tasks, and understand the ins and outs of the dental industry.
Ultimately, dental receptionists need excellent customer service skills because they are on the front line of the entire clinic, making their position an important one. They are the first to greet and engage with patients before their appointment, so they should be empathetic, adaptable, and straightforward communicators.
Where to post and find dental receptionist jobs
While the position is singular, there are a lot of dynamic candidates who each come with unique qualities. The same can also be said about the many ways to fill a dental receptionist role – numerous options serve the same purpose but differ in how they accomplish it.
Here are just some of these options:
Online Job Sites
Because the internet is where people can search for something they need, it makes sense that job applicants turn to it when looking for open positions and job providers to find candidates who best fit the bill.
LinkedIn is the website that first comes to mind when discussing filling job roles. This social media platform is geared towards connecting applicants and businesses. It allows practices to post open positions where hopeful candidates submit applications. LinkedIn also lets job posters view professional profiles and their work experience if they aren’t satisfied with the applicants.
Freelancing sites like Fiverr and UpWork are also good options for recruitment. Unlike LinkedIn, these websites focus more on offshore staffing, making them the go-to platform for freelancers planning to work with international practices.
Online job sites offer the most flexibility because it allows clinics to decide how their employment process would go. However, this also makes them prone to scams and malicious intent that can be HIPAA breaches.
Virtual Assistant Companies
This option has seen a significant increase in demand from dental practices that need a better staffing alternative. Virtual assistant companies connect practices and virtual talent without exposing both parties to unwanted risks.
Virtual assistant companies perform a considerable chunk of the recruitment efforts – putting up job listings, looking at job applicants and their resumes, facilitating talent background checks, and scheduling interviews. While this option might not be as flexible as online job sites, less leg work is required from practices because they only have to interview a selection of pre-screened virtual dental assistants to ensure a better match.
My Mountain Mover receives thousands of applications regularly. However, only the top 2% of applicants are endorsed to clients as a testament to its quality and care and to ensure practices only get the best.