CLIENT SERVICES JOB DESCRIPTION
Receptionists are referred to as customer service representatives (CSR) and are the customer-relations experts at Companion Animal Hospital. They are the clients’ first impression of the practice, on the phone or in person. CSR’s must possess strong organizational skills, excellent telephone and in-person communication skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. CSR’s must have compassion for animals and their owners and understand the stress that patients and clients endure.
CSR’s are responsible for greeting clients; differentiating routine cases from emergency cases; scheduling appointments; entering client, patient, and financial data into the computer; generating invoices and explaining them to clients; processing payments; and managing the retrieval and storage of medical records.
CSR’s should expect to spend nearly all of their workdays at the front desk. The position requires competence in the English language, patience, and a pleasant manner. Ideally, newly hired CSR’s will possess computer skills and have had cashier and related front-office work experience.
General Knowledge and Tasks
- Have the knowledge to be able to give directions to the practice.
- Know the range of services the practice provides and the species it treats.
- Be reasonably familiar with breeds and coat colors.
- Follow OSHA standards. Be able to find Safety Data Sheets quickly.
- Know standard medical and business abbreviations.
- Use proper medical terminology when speaking and writing.
- Competently speak and write the English language.
- Understand the life cycle and pathology of common parasites (intestinal parasites, heartworms, fleas, ticks), and know the names of most common preventatives, recommended treatments, and diagnostics.
- Be familiar with zoonotic (contagious) diseases, including their prevention and steps to reduce or eliminate transmission.
- Communicate with clients about the various pet-identification systems available, including tags and microchips.
- Know the policies regarding provision of veterinary care, treatment of stray animals, deposits for hospitalized patients, payments, credit, pet health insurance, and finance/service fees.
- Always be in position and prepared to work by the start of each scheduled shift.
- Maintain accurate personal time cards, entering notes when needed.
- Occasionally enter the practice through the front door so that you see what clients see. Routinely pick up trash from the parking lot, sidewalks, or entryway on your way into the hospital. Notify an animal care assistant if there are feces in the parking lot or on the sidewalk.
- Maintain a professional appearance while at work, including clean and neat scrubs. Change clothes as necessary to look professional and avoid carrying odors.
- Smile and maintain an even, friendly demeanor while on the job.
- Perform job tasks efficiently without rushing.
- Handle stress and pressure with poise and tact.
- Show respect for clients, team members, and animals (alive or deceased) at all times.
- Have the physical strength and ability to stand for an entire shift when needed, and be able to lift pets and objects weighing up to 50 pounds without assistance. Assist in lifting patients weighing more than 50 pounds.
- Prioritize tasks to maximize client satisfaction and patient health.
- Maintain a list of tasks and engage in productive work during slow periods.
- Assist other team members as needed. Take over for colleagues when they are called away to another priority.
- Read and refer to the personnel policy manual for answers to team policy questions before asking the manager or Dr. Cashwell.
- Participate in your performance appraisal, and, as requested, in those of others.
- Participate in all team and training meetings.
- Conduct tours of the practice and/or kennel.
- Maintain constant vigilance regarding open doorways that could allow pets to escape from the facility.
- Maintain strict confidentiality regarding clients and patients for whom the practice provides veterinary services.
- Be prepared to handle any facility emergency that may arise, including facility fire or weather-related emergencies. Follow contingency plans.
- Follow established closing procedures to ensure the security of patients, staff, data, revenue, inventory, and the facility.
Face-to-Face Client-Interaction Tasks
- Immediately and cordially greet arriving clients and patients, and address each by name – stand to greet if you can. Familiarize yourself with the appointments for the day, if a boxer comes in at ten til 9, and Mrs. Jones and “Rex” (a boxer) have an appointment at 9:00 ~ chances are they are one and the same. You can take a chance and say, “Hey Rex”.
- While handling phone calls, acknowledge the arrival of people in the reception area with eye contact and/or a hand wave.
- Review consent forms with clients and have clients sign the forms.
- Confirm all current telephone numbers and ensure they are in the computer.
- Confirm address when pet in for annual vaccines to ensure correct address on rabies certificate.
- Using reminder, recall-system, and outpatient-visit and patient-admission protocols, advise clients of recommended services for their pets.
- Advise clients of significant changes in policies or services since their last visit.
- Provide clients with accurate and thorough information about all over-the-counter products. Understand and explain internal and external parasite products as well as diets, dental products, and behavior management tools.
- Refer product questions you are unable to fully or accurately answer to doctors or a nurse.
- Prepare Treatment Plan’s (estimates) for services to be performed in the patients Avimark file. Any dental plan or declaw surgery will be done by a nurse.
- Provide clients with handouts and brochures regarding relevant medical conditions, surgeries, immunizations, internal and external parasites, pet insurance, and diets.
- Explain delays to clients. Ensure the comfort of clients and patients during their waits. Reschedule appointments as needed. Offer water – small bottles kept in fried in break room.
- Placate and/or compensate clients distressed by long waits, scheduling glitches, and other problems.
- If needed, escort clients and patients to clean, empty exam rooms free of persistent, offensive odors.
- Assist clients with unruly or unrestrained pets. Ensure that all dogs are leashed and that cats and smaller pets are caged. Isolate aggressive pets. Request assistance as needed.
- Monitor patients’ behaviors and note potentially aggressive behaviors. Use caution when handling aggressive or potentially aggressive pets. Request assistance when needed.
- Offer water patients in need (or withhold water from patients as appropriate).
- Handle angry or grieving clients in a calm, reassuring manner. Escort complaining or angry clients from the reception area to a separate, closed room where their complaints may be heard privately. When necessary, enlist a doctor or the practice manager to resolve the complaint.
- When talking with a client in the clinic or on the telephone and the discussion escalates, transfer the call or client to another team member and step away.
- Dispense prescribed medications and diets to clients. Discuss dosing and administration instructions to ensure that clients understand the use of prescribed products. Advise clients of common side effects of dispensed medications as instructed by doctors, assistants or technicians. Give the client a medication form to help with compliance.
- Discharge boarded and groomed pets.
- Hospitalized or surgery patients are discharged by a nurse or doctor, occasionally we will have to review discharge instructions and medications with clients. Discuss any problems noted in the record. For hospitalized patients, schedule medical progress appointment if needed and follow-up callbacks.
- Schedule next appointment for patient and give client appointment card.
- Provide basic grief counseling. Always be sensitive to background chatter or conversations that could exacerbate anxieties and grief clients experience during euthanasia’s or deaths of their pets.
- Always assume that a client can hear what you are saying.
- Provide clients with information regarding options available for the remains of deceased pets.
- Assist clients to their cars when purchasing food and/or taking pets to the car.
- Ensure that client get puppy and kitten kits, or other information/medication that has been gotten up for them.
Client-Interaction Telephone Tasks
- Use clients’ and patients’ names during conversations.
- Schedule appointments for exams, rechecks, surgeries, medical procedures, boarding, and grooming.
- Provide basic pricing information to callers. Never give total of quote first, give a general break down and then give total. Respond in a manner that encourages potential clients to visit the practice, offer to mail a brochure. Offer a tour of clinic.
- Answer routine questions or refer callers to the appropriate colleague.
- Get basic information from new client to fill out new client and pet form prior to appointment.
- Receive and record prescription-refill requests, write the request on the whiteboard.
- Schedule euthanasia’s to maximize the comfort of clients and patients while allowing the practice to run efficiently.
- Call clients scheduled for the next day to confirm their appointment times, and special instructions, such as the need for fasting or withholding or administering medications. Refrain from saying remind, say confirm.
- Call clients on the callback lists to check on patients’ well-being and answer questions.
- Call clients who missed appointments and reschedule their appointments.
Doctor/Nurse Support Tasks
- Seek the assistance of doctors or nurses immediately when assessing potentially critical patients.
- If asked by a nurse or doctor, call clients with hospitalized pets to provide patient status updates.
- Ensure that client has been taken to an exam room within a reasonable time period.
- Obtain current patient-status reports or updates from doctors or nurses if needed.
- Prepare heartworm preventive prescriptions for dispensing if patient is a current client and has had a negative test within a two year time frame. These labels must be sent to the DYMO printer in the treatment area.
- Inform the practice manager or doctors immediately of all bite or scratch wounds you suffer so that reports can be made and you can be referred for timely medical care by a physician, if necessary. Clean all wounds quickly and thoroughly.
General Telephone Tasks
- Know phone functions, including hold, intercom and horn.
- Answer the phone by the third ring and use the recommended greeting.
- Smile while answering and talking on the phone to enhance the friendly quality of your voice.
- Manage multiple phone lines effectively; prioritize phone calls.
- If the telephone rings back (amber light blinking) pick up and ask if they have been helped. If you know that another receptionist is checking on something, let them know that she will be right back with them and place them on hold again.
- Set the answering machine to accept calls during team meetings and hours during which the practice is closed. Retrieve messages and turn off the answering machine when team members are available to receive calls.
- Transcribe messages from the answering machine and distribute messages appropriately.
- Accurately record messages for doctors and other team members. Note the caller’s name, date, time of call, return phone number, and message. Notify recipients of urgent messages immediately. Place routine messages in the appropriate location.
Medical-Record Management Tasks
Daily Medical-Record Preparation Tasks
- Ensure charts for incoming patients have been scanned and ready all paperwork as needed.
- Upon the client’s arrival, ensure a brief synopsis of the reasons for the visit is in the appointment form and check the patient in thru AviMark.
- Update all phone numbers (home, work, cell and spouse’s), and address in computer. Also get/update e-mail address.
- Check for and enter medical updates (spay/neuter status, immunization status, microchip number) in patients’ record if they bring paperwork from another facility (scan in all brought in paperwork).
- For patients that are being admitted, attach cage cards and client-consent or other forms with the check in form on that’s patient’s clipboard. Nurses check in surgery and dental patients. Ensure the proper check in form is used to get the consent forms needed.
- If the patient has an alert: will bite, deaf, blind, seizure, chews matts, digs, will jump fence or any other kind of notice you must ensure that this information is one the cage card.
- If the patient needs a fecal or urinalysis – ensure that you have placed a sticker on the cage card.
- The cage card also must have noted on it any items that the client brings or their pet.
- Pre-invoice those patient records that are ready to go.
Medical-Record Scanning Tasks
- Understand the medical-record storage and scanning system.
- Know all possible locations for storage of records of hospitalized patients.
- Properly use bins or slots assigned to doctors, nurses, pharmacy, lab, and callbacks.
- Know where inactive files are stored.General Medical-Record Tasks
- Ensure that check in sheets, surgery assessments and other records are scanned and attached to the proper item in medical history
- Print, fax and/or mail patient records upon request of clients. We will verify vaccine information to other clinics and bloodwork can be faxed if needed.
- Send correspondence, including thank-you notes, condolence cards, welcome cards, referral cards and notes to clients unable to reach by phone, documenting in medical record.
Reception-Area and Front-Office Tasks
Front-Office Management Tasks
- Assist in the hiring of new CSR’s by advising candidates of openings, offering them applications, working with them to help evaluate their personalities and skill levels, and providing your opinion to the hiring manager.
- Train new CSR’s in the basic skills of the position and the practice’s philosophy.
- Train CSR’s in the areas where they need to expand their skills and knowledge.
- Repair malfunctioning equipment or bring the malfunction to the manager’s attention.
- Reception-Area Housekeeping and other Tasks
- Keep the reception area clean and organized by dusting, picking up trash, and organizing the work area.
- If needed and kennel staff is unavailable, sweep the reception area and waiting room as needed to keep these areas clean and free of hair.
- Offer towels to pet owners to dry their pets during inclement weather.
- Clean urinary and fecal accidents in the waiting room immediately; check with doctors or nurses to see if they need samples for diagnostics before discarding them.
- Maintain a current and attractive selection of reading material in the reception area. Magazines that are older than 4 months must be thrown out.
- If you need to place a client in a room, check and straighten them as needed by sweeping, cleaning the exam table. Dispose of used needles and syringes as set forth by the practice’s policy and OSHA standards.
- Check public restroom(s) and clean them as needed. Restock toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap as needed.
- Keep the entrance, stairs, and sidewalks clean, safe, and presentable.
- Keep the temperature at a comfortable level. As established by Dr. Cashwell, never adjust the heat or air-conditioning without permission. Ensure that windows are closed when the air-conditioning is on.
- Any client belongings that are accidentally left by the client on the counter, (or items that we failed to give) make sure that the client’s name is on it and the client is contacted, apologized to that we failed to give the item to them and let them know it will be up front.
- Ensure the television is on at the beginning of the day and turned off at night. Change the DVD as needed.
- Restock office supplies and products in the retail areas.
- Establish and/or maintain a list of depleted office supplies, handouts, and record supplies.
- Keep forms, brochures, and handouts neatly stocked and readily available to share with clients.
- Keep all printed supplies stocked, notifying practice manager to order if needed
- Keep the supply closet under the stairs stocked, clean and orderly.
- Receive deliveries; immediately note damaged shipments & check with Dr. C or Angela to see if we want to receive severely damaged boxes.Other Reception-Area Tasks
- Maintain the bulletin board in an orderly and attractive format, dating all notices and removing them after three weeks.
- Maintain contact with animal-control officers, animal inspectors regarding lost or stray animals and animals subject to rabies quarantine. We will not board a rabies quarantine that is not a current patient of the clinic.
- Maintain list of breeders in the Q & A area of Avimark.
- Maintain a phone and address list of local resources for training, boarding, and grooming, as well as for animal-control officers, animal inspectors, city officials, veterinary medical association contacts, and other professional contacts.
- Print medical records and/or email, fax as directed by a doctor for a referral appointment.
- Mail postcard reminders in a timely fashion, noting the date and cards sent in the client: Reminders, patient: Reminders sent. Enter code: RM. Add a note and enter the statistics requested. Keep follow up phone call reminder updated to remind to send 1st reminder post cards out about 2 weeks prior to the first date due. Example: Due 6/1 - 6/14 send on 5/15. This will give the client time enough to call for appointment. 2nd reminder post cards: Past due 4/1 - 4/30 send on 5/15.
- Be prepared to handle medical emergencies at all times. Recognize the symptoms of pets and clients in crisis. Alert nurses and/or doctors to emergency situations. Prepare rooms for incoming emergencies.
- Follow scheduling guidelines to maximize efficiency when booking clients. Properly utilize emergency or open slots in the schedule. The emergency slots are kept open until that morning and are used for true emergencies, client perceived emergencies or a regular appointment slot if not filled an hour prior to someone calling wishing to be seen.
- Reorganize daily appointment schedules as needed to account for emergency situations and time overruns.
- Follow isolation procedures when greeting clients with contagious or potentially contagious patients. Using the designated products and dilutions for disinfectants, properly disinfect your shoes, hands, and clothing before leaving isolation areasComputer Tasks General Computer Tasks
- Use your own password identification to enter the practice-management software and signify your work.
- Properly use the doctor’s identification to attribute work performed by various doctors to their production records.
- Each night print appointment schedule for the nest day. Three copies, one for the treatment room, one for Dr. Cashwell’s office and one for the front desk. The front desk copy will be embellished to add the breed & color of the pet coming in for easier identification.
- Schedule examinations, outpatients, surgery, grooming appointments, and boarding reservations. When scheduling appointments, use the chart found in Avimark: Work With: Appointments to correctly allow the proper time for appointments.
- Use practice-management software procedures to properly check in patients, especially boarding.
- Ensure the computer back ups are running as scheduled thru Data Vault.
- Know the clip-art and desktop-publishing software sufficiently to develop or aid in the development of forms, notices, and newsletters.Database-Management Tasks
- Add new clients and new patients into the computer system as appropriate.
- Inactivate clients or patients using correct software procedures.
- Insert notes regarding any communications with clients in medical history, ensuring that you have used Ctrl D to auto enter the date, time and your initial. General notes will be put in patient: Account Notes, pet specific notes in their medical history.
- Inquire about and record vital changes in client or patient information, including weight, immunization status, microchip number, and spay/neuter status.
- Take current picture of all patients and place in Avimark.
- Input reminders and callbacks.
- Know the word-processing program sufficiently to draft letters and modify and print forms or letters.
- Print hard copies of forms for incoming clients whose pets will have anesthetic, surgical, dental, or medical procedures.
- Generate records of rabies immunizations for clients and town, city, and county officials.
- Produce immunization, health, and neuter certificates.
- Create daily callback list(s) and transfer them to person(s) responsible for calls.
- Generate end-of-day reports.
- Search for, save, and print special lists from the database, such as patients that are overdue for services, new patients, and/or new clients per month.
- Know how to access and navigate the Internet to download email, find veterinary websites and access information for clients.
- Prepare and send e-mail reminders or notices if needed, both thru Avimark or AOL.
- Know the websites that are recommended by our hospital.
- Cash-Management Tasks
- Ensure that the cash register has sufficient change for each day’s monetary transactions. Change money at the bank as necessary.
- Count and record the cash in the drawer at closing. Reduce the drawer to the starting amount of cash which is $100.00.
Daily Closing Financial Tasks
- Prepare daily bank deposits.
- Ask the practice manager to deliver deposits to the bank on a daily basis, if not available, the deposit is locked up overnight in the stamp/camera drawer.
- Balance the daily and monthly revenue records against check deposits and credit and cash receipts; check math for accuracy.
- Ensure that each check has two telephone numbers on them. If a 2nd number is not available, you must write: 2nd# N/A. We contract with a company that handles our returned checks. If the check is under a certain amount and has 2 telephone numbers on it, they will automatically send us the face amount of the check and they are reimbursed when the client picks the check up.
- Match each day’s monetary intake (cash, checks, and credit cards slips) with the computerized day summary sheet.
- Payment-Processing Tasks
- Correctly apply discounts, coupons, and complimentary exams.
- Properly enter charges from patient check in forms into the computer, or pre-invoice and verify charges already entered.
- Ensure that when you give the total of charges you have included the tax amount.
- Process clients’ cash, credit card, debit card, and check payments.
- Accurately record all payments in client/patient records and in the bookkeeping system.
- Give accurate change.
- Ensure that checks have proper identifying information recorded on them, that checks are correctly dated, signed and have 2 telephone numbers on them, and that clients have provided and you have reviewed proper corroborating identification if needed.
- If someone provides payment by check for a client – the client’s name and account number must be written in the “For” space at the bottom of the check.
- Check that clients’ signatures on credit receipts match those on credit cards or their photo identification.
- Provide clients with printed receipts of their transactions.
- Produce legible and accurate receipts.
- Review itemized entries on receipts with clients at the time of payment if client expresses concern over amount of charges. Refer questions to the appropriate colleague if needed.
Tasks Related to Incomplete Payments
- Process and help clients complete CareCredit®, applications.
- Help complete pet health insurance claims on behalf of clients.
- Process clients’ credit applications and store them in correct file in office.
- Properly record and file held check payments which are not available to new clients.
- When notified by Check Care of Columbus, record returned checks.
- Issue updated invoices to clients, including appropriate finance charges, and show accurate balances due on their accounts.
- Search for and refer delinquent accounts to a collection service as directed by the practice manager.