When you need or want more new patients, there are millions of ways to market your practice externally to attract them. Some work better than others and give you more return on your investment.
However, all those marketing dollars can be wasted if a prospect calls in to your office and is not impressed by you and your team’s care level in the first contact. In the rush and crush of daily practice from the front desk to the back, the quality of your team’s interaction with your patients can influence how long a patient stays with your practice. But, that first contact with a new person on the phone can end the relationship before it even starts.
Making a lasting positive impression on the person right from the get-go is therefore ultra important for a long term relationship.
What are the ways this can be accomplished?
From the First Moment
It is very important that the person who answers the phone has a cheerful phone voice. I recently called a practice and the person who answered very cheerfully said the name of the practice and her name and then asked me, “How can I make you smile?” I am not particularly advocating that wording, but it sure made me smile and feel better.
This morning I stopped off at a store to exchange a product. I was serviced by a lady at the front cash who was rude, angry, told me how wrong I was 2 times, and said her boss yells at her when she doesn’t know their products well enough. Phew, I was thinking that I’ll go to a different branch of that store from now on.
Taking the Time
If at all possible, the person answering the phone must have some coverage by others in the practice if she takes a call from a potential new patient or client. A relationship is not built by asking the person if they would like an appointment. The answer from the person could be “Yes” or “No”, and we don’t want the “No.”
The optimum way to define your practice in the mind of the caller is to be friendly and show you care. Ask them questions and get to know them a bit, be interested in them, then find out what they need help with and tell them, “We can help with that!” or, “We would love to help you.” Then help them select an appointment time that best works for them.
How warmly the patients or clients are greeted each and every time they enter your practice is also key. I have been to practices as a patient where I am simply another person who walked in the door that day. Sometimes I am just told to have a seat and someone will be with me shortly. Not a very positive impression, to say the least.
During and After Treatment
Really caring for the person and working to make their visit a resounding success is something to strive for by every member of the team. Laugh, have fun, and make the experience that day be a pleasurable one
When they are finished treatment, walk the person out to the front desk, help them with their coat, and shake their hand and tell them that it has been a pleasure to serve them. This too will leave a lasting impression and help create a loyal, referring client.
Don’t lose your return on investment from your marketing dollars – make sure the above points are in place at all times.