“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
– Andrew Grant
For almost everyone in this world, a great first impression is everything. If you’re thoroughly captivated by a person or a company at the first meet, you become a loyalist.
As management guru Peter Drucker proclaimed in The Practice of Management, “The reason for the business is the customer.” And every doctor must adhere to the same principle, ‘patients first’. A poor first impression will negatively affect patient confidence, reduce patient volume, as well as lower your brand value and overall patient experience.
And as patients form their first impressions before they even meet their doctors, there are three important opportunities every practitioner must leverage:
1. The appointment
Patients’ initial contact with their doctors is by phone. Ensure that whoever is answering the phone is friendly, professional, and organised. This will show that the doctor and his staff care and are efficient and thorough.
2. The waiting room
Patients gauge the standard of any practice through the ‘vibes’ of the waiting room. It begins from the moment they walk into your clinic. You can make a great impression with these simple rules:
- Friendly and engaging – Make sure the waiting room is inviting by using warm colours and comfortable furniture. Engage your patients with TV or reading material to help them while away time as they wait. If you’re a paediatrician, you can have toys for the children. But the best solution today is the Practo Tab – a tablet that engages your patients directly, impressing them with its sophisticated and clean features while getting their feedback.
- Professional and organised – Pay attention to detail with regard to the interiors of your office. While it’s great to make the waiting room warm and engaging, it is also important to ensure that it isn’t too casual. At the end of the day, patients are there for a professional meeting and not a personal visit.
- Sensitive and well-maintained – Get your employees to check the waiting room several times a day for litter, magazines that have ended up on the floor, etc. Also, ensure that you arrange your furniture such that the room is easily accessible by patients of all kinds – able-bodied or wheelchair-bound.
3. The greeting and meeting
Finally, the manner in which your patients are greeted makes all the difference. Hire & train staff that puts patients at ease. At the end of the appointment, each patient should leave feeling valued and well attended to.
Remember, patients’ experiences set the stage for their relationship with you, the treatment they will undergo as well as who they will refer you to. Clear communication with your patients ensures that your practice grows faster with long-lasting relationships.