The Art Of Front Desking

Posted on February 2, 2022 by Holly Jensen

This original article is featured in the February 2022 issue of The Chiropractic Assistant

There is so much more to being a Chiropractic Assistant than just sitting behind the front desk greeting patients and scheduling appointments. I saw a coffee mug while I was doing some online shopping that pretty much summed up what we do. It listed the definition of a CA as this:

chiropractic assistant

kai-roh-prak-tik a-sis-tant


  1. Someone who solves problems you never knew existed in ways that will blow your mind;
  2. See also wizard; badass; legend.

Another way to think of it is to picture a duck floating in the water. From the top, they are calm and everything is smooth above the surface. Below the surface, that duck’s legs are kicking like crazy to keep it moving! From the outside, you would never know! Being a CA is a lot like that. 

Being a CA doesn’t come easy. It requires a lot of skill and personality to effectively and efficiently master front desk operations. Doing all of that while making it look easy and remaining cool, calm, and collected on the outside is pretty much ninja skills!

So how do you create these skills? You have to set yourself up for success! With over two decades of running a successful office and training hundreds of CAs, I’ve come up with a list of the top things that you can do to turn your role at the front desk into a rewarding career that you’re proud of. 

One of the main stressors of running a busy office is feeling like there is never enough time in the day. The first items I’m going to discuss focus on freeing up time by identifying areas where you can be more efficient. 

The number one area I see where offices can free up the most time is handing money. Did you know that by adopting a frictionless payment system in your office you can save up to 40 working hours per month? Yep – that’s right! Imagine this…every single time a patient has to stop at the front desk and open their wallet to make a payment, pull out their card, hand it to you, you process the payment, they sign the receipt, make small talk, they leave, and you post the payment. Repeat this process over and over and over. You get the idea. 

In this world of automation, there are so many resources available to cover this time-consuming task for you. Use a complaint system that creates this frictionless payment model in your office and securely store the patient’s billing on file and automate the payment process. Not only will this free up your time, but patients love the convenience as well.

I also recommend automating patient education and marketing by assigning email campaigns. Now, don’t get me wrong here, emails are not replacing in-person patient education, these are simply another way to stay in frequent contact with patients when they’re not in our office. We use email campaigns that are educational in nature about their chiropractic journey that nurtures them automatically once a week or once a month depending on their treatment plan. It’s so easy to assign it to the patient one time at the start of care and it automatically goes out to them throughout the course of care. We also send out birthday emails, marketing emails, and so much more. Easy-peasy and saves so much valuable time!

Now, on that topic, I want to talk briefly about the power of small personal touches. I’m all about automation but there are times where a handwritten note goes a long way. You know how it is. As CAs, we become part of the lives of our patients so we know about patient Jill’s job promotion, the Smith’s new home purchase, the birth of Mike’s first grandchild, Amy’s college graduation, etc… These are situations where I like to take that extra time to send a handwritten card signed by everyone in the office. And because I have created efficiency in other areas, I get to spend time paying attention to these feel-good moments.

Make sure that your schedule allows you time to train and work on the business. I can’t tell you how many times I talk to an office that can never get anything done because they have adjusting hours all day long and patients can schedule any time! How can you expect to ever train or get anything else done if you don’t schedule time for it? 

The best way to set up your schedule for success is to have morning and afternoon/evening adjusting hours. I recommend cluster booking adjustments within those blocks of time. Then, have special times set aside for new patients or report of findings appointments. 

When it comes to the art of front desking you must focus on creating the perfect atmosphere for delivering 5-star customer service! It may seem like a no-brainer that there needs to be a high level of customer service, but you would be shocked at how often this is overlooked. 

A lot of times, the little things are the big things that matter to most patients! Every single time the phone rings, it must be answered in a cheerful and professional manner with a friendly greeting. “Thank you for calling the Chiropractic Wellness Center. This is Holly, how may I help you?” does a lot more than simply “Doctor’s office”.  You want to create a warm and fuzzy feeling over the phone that sets you apart from the rest. Plus…most people don’t like talking on the phone anymore, they’d rather email, text, chat….so if they actually picked up the phone to call your office you need to wow them so they feel like they know they made the right choice!

While you’re in the office, you want to be cognizant of your demeanor at all times. We all have bad days, I get it. But never let that show while working and most definitely never let it affect your patients’ experience in the office. You’re the first and last person the patient sees. 

Create a culture amongst your team that is happy! Happy staff = a happy environment and vice versa. In our office, we are very strict about a “no gossip” policy and we train constantly on emotional intelligence, teamwork, and problem-solving. We work incredibly hard so that there is never any tension amongst the team or office politics that the patients may pick up on. 

This brings us right back to where we started with the need for efficient systems and automated processes. These things help the team to be happy and also really prevent mistakes in the long run that not only saves time, but also money! That means the team won’t have to “fake it till they make it” with the positive attitude; They will actually already have that! 

Finally, my last bit of advice on the art of front desking and being a Chiropractic Assistant is to also be a chiropractic patient. Walk through the same exact journey that the patient goes through in your office. This will not only help you to understand what goes on in your office, but it will also help you to pick up on areas that can be improved for your new patient and report of findings process. You will be able to empathize better and know exactly how it feels to have your x-rays read to you or to be walked through your first adjustment. This is crucial! 

In addition, I’m a big proponent of walking the walk and talking the talk. How do you expect your patients to keep up on their care if you don’t get adjusted yourself? Not to mention, you will be able to reap the amazing benefits of chiropractic and we know that becomes evident in everyday life. You will have fewer sick days, more energy, and think clearer! Besides, how do you plan to create a work of art at the front desk without your power being turned on? 

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About the Author

Holly Jensen, the esteemed Chief Operations Officer of Cash Practice Systems, oversees a pioneering platform highly regarded in the chiropractic community for its unparalleled ability to boost revenue and retention rates. At its core are innovative tools like The Wellness Score, Care Plan Calculator, Auto-Debit, and Drip-Education Systems, meticulously crafted to aid doctors in enhancing patient retention and revenue. With unwavering commitment, Holly has been instrumental in solidifying Cash Practice Systems as the premier choice for chiropractors seeking practice optimization. Prior to her COO role, Holly collaborated with Dr. Miles Bodzin, CEO of Cash Practice Systems, in leading a highly successful wellness practice in San Diego, showcasing dedication to patient care. Together, they've dedicated over two decades to advancing chiropractic care, inspiring practitioners worldwide. Explore for transformative tools.

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