Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

The Rock Star Experience

By Bruna Chiarelli   

Features Business Marketing

People often ask me how to build a successful front desk. My answer is start by evaluating your team members.

People often ask me how to build a successful front desk. My answer is start by evaluating your team members.

Make sure they are all doing the job that best suits their personality. The doctor, and the staff, can only be as successful as one allows the other to become.


The staff who are your front chiropractic health assistants (CHAs) must be happy and cheerful. They must have the ability to leave their personal life at the door and become focused on making sure that every patient who walks through your office gets what I call “the rock star experience.” In this article, I will summarize five objectives that will help achieve front desk success, which, in turn, translates into office success.

Team Huddle
Every office should get in the habit of meeting 10 minutes before the day begins. All staff members start with a copy of the appointments sheet in hand. This meeting allows the staff to tell the doctor anything he or she may need to know about their day, including any important reminders about individual patients, and also gives the doctor the opportunity to let the staff know any details that they will need. An example of this: “Dr Smith, please remember to ask Mary how her husband is doing after his surgery.” The team huddles help the staff to set goals for that day and to write them down on their appointment sheet. When goals are visual, they come to fruition more quickly. Your team huddles will facilitate a smoother flow to your day, ensuring that both the doctor and the CHA can do their job without interruption throughout the day.

Be Present
During patient visit times, and long visit times, the focus of the front desk must always be on the patient. From the initial greeting to the patient exit, we must strive to make sure the patient feels like (s)he has chosen the right office to meet their health care needs. Greeting the patient and then putting our heads down to do paperwork is not what we want.

I encourage all CHAs to get to know your patients. Spend time in the reception area to educate your patients and bring to their attention anything new and exciting that is happening in the clinic. Let us not rely on our white boards and postings in and around the office to educate our patients. As a CHA, you have two opportunities to make a positive impact on your patients – once on their way into the office and once on their way out. Use these moments wisely.

Proper Appointment Book Management
When I visit chiropractic offices, I often find that much of a CHA’s day is spent scrambling to find time – finding time to get themselves adjusted; finding time to book a new patient for that day; finding time to fit in any emergency patients; and finding time to get their paperwork done. All these things can be achieved by managing your appointment book in a way that works best for the office. Make sure that patients are booked in clusters in a way that the doctor is able to handle the flow. Pre-booking patients’ next appointments before they leave the office can be an efficient way to minimize last-minute entries and ensure that there is always room for growth.

While initially this may seem impossible, it starts by simply evaluating your appointment book. CHAs must strive to make sure that the appointment book allows for flow, growth and harmony.

Be Ready for Growth
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to sit down as a team – outside the office is always nice – and brainstorm what you want the new year to bring. Some ideas might be to create a calendar listing all that you want to accomplish as a team. Set your monthly goals; prepare 150 new patient files in advance – that’s three new patients a week; set your team’s social calendar; and set dates for events that will excite and energize the patients. These are just few things that we do to prepare for growth.

Once the calendar is designed, put it in an area of the office that is accessible to all the staff members. Being ready is the key to success for any chiropractic office.

Once that is done, remember to take the time to discuss how you will achieve these goals – it’s not enough to say “we want to see 10 new patients a month in 2013.” Discuss ways to bring in these 10 new patients, and the role that each individual staff member plays in achieving each goal you set. Remember this is also a time to set fun goals that allow the staff to connect outside the office. I suggest a bonus system for those offices that are not using one, as a key to help motivate and reward.

Communication is Key
You might say I have saved the best for last, but, actually, this last point is really the cornerstone of the previous four. In my 26 years in practice, I would have to say that communication between doctor and staff is the channel that allows success to flow. It is important to hold regular staff meetings and to take time to start, and end, your day with a team huddle. Doctors, you may want to ask yourselves, “Have I created an environment where my staff feel comfortable giving their opinions?” Your staff have the opportunity to get to know the patients at a different level than you do, and to listen to what the patients have to say about their treatment, wait times, décor of your office and, yes, even about your old magazines! Allow them the time to sit and brainstorm with you on ways to improve the practice. This allows the staff to feel they are an integral part of the practice and a key member to its success.

In closing let me leave you with what I began with and that is that success in practice can only be achieved when all the team members are happy and in a good place. Giving them tools to succeed is your first step in securing that the office will thrive and every patient receive the rock star experience.


Bruna Chiarelli manages a multi-disciplinary, high volume practice in Vaughan, Ontario. She is the owner of Chiroworks Consulting, which consults with Chiropractors and chiropractic assistants in Canada and the United States. She can be reached at

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