Doctors Surgery Receptionist – Job Description
1. Always let the phone ring for a good five minutes before you answer it – With a bit of luck, the caller will either get fed up and hang up or think there is a fault on the line and give up altogether.
2. When you do finally answer the phone, ask the caller if they would mind holding the line and then put them on hold before they have time to answer you – Forget the fact that they have probably been ringing and hearing an engaged tone for the past hour, this will give you a chance to finish telling your workmates what you watched on TV last night as well as letting you finish your cup of tea.
3. When answering the phone use your most impatient voice possible – This lets the caller know that you are highly important and they should only be taking up your precious time if they are on deaths door.
4. Ask the caller if it is urgent – The caller will be silently saying to you in their head ‘if it was urgent I would be down A & E you jobs worth’. You won’t hear this though and are thinking to yourself, if it isn’t urgent then why on earth are you disturbing me.
5. Ask the caller what the problem is – The caller will be silently saying in their head ‘none of your damn business you nosey cow’ but you won’t hear this and will think that being a doctors receptionist gives you the god given right to know everyone’s business.
6. If you have established that it isn’t an emergency, tell the caller that the next appointment will be exactly two months, three weeks and four days from now – It may seem like a long wait to them but you hope that by giving them such a ridiculous appointment time, their problem will vanish and they won’t need to waste your time anymore.
7. If you have established it is an emergency, tell the caller they will need an emergency appointment with the doctor in a tone like you are a headmistress telling off a school child – Hopefully they will feel so ashamed that they have taken up your precious time that they will think twice before ringing next time.
8. If the caller happens to ring early enough to get a ‘book on the day’ appointment, be as inflexible as possible – They may want a time that is convenient given that they may have other children or other commitments but you will stick to your guns and only offer them one possible time. Refuse to budge on that time until a fellow receptionist takes that time slot for another patient and then offer them the next one on the list.
9. When a patient visits the surgery and appears in front of your glass window do not under any circumstances open it straight away – It is essential that you make them wait whilst you finish your conversation with your colleague next to you. Your discussion about what you had for dinner last night is far more important.
10. Never ever smile or use a friendly tone – Never break this rule as if you do people might actually want to come back again!
Disclaimer – All views expressed here are based on my own personal experience of ‘not very helpful’ doctors surgery receptionists. If you are a doctors surgery receptionist and happen to be lovely, please don’t take offence and also, please can you apply for a job at my local surgery 🙂