Today I want to change the way you think about a New Patient’s visit to your office.
It is one of the most basic elements of your entire business, but it is so easily neglected. Think about this: one of two things will happen when a patient leaves your office after their first visit…
1) They instantaneously tell a friend or family member about their extraordinary experience. 2) The experience was exactly what they expected– Average. They go about their day as usual.
I want you to realize that changing how you handle New Patient experiences will drastically (and I mean DRASTICALLY) increase the likelihood of producing immediate referral(s). If you make New Patients a priority, your New Patients are going to make your Practice a priority… and your return on investment will go through the roof!
The steps are simple, but first you need to understand the reasons behind them. Have you ever heard the saying that good or bad first impressions are formed within the first two minutes of meeting someone? Well, the same is true for your Practice!
When a New Patient walks into your Practice, they are LOOKING for things to go wrong… They are sizing up the room, the decor, your team, and then YOU. They are trying to determine if they’ve landed in the “right place.” It isn’t always a rational thought process. Honestly, about 90% of it is based on raw emotion. But you need to assure them that they’ve landed in the right place, and that they want to COME BACK.
There are a lot of strategies for triggering positive emotions in your New Patients when they walk in the door, but I’ll just go into a couple.
1) Try to touch all five senses by the time they leave the office: Touch, scent, sight, sound, taste. The five senses are the foundations for the human experience. The more senses you touch positively over the course of their visit (especially in those first few minutes when they walk into your reception area,) the greater the likelihood of GENERATING REFERRALS.
2) Think like a New Patient: Look at your physical office space objectively. If you can’t be objective, have a spouse or a friend walk in as though they’re a New Patient and tell you their first impression. Notice the parking lot, the bathrooms, the signage, how the reception area looks. Hire a decorator to help you spruce up the physical space of your office– carpet, paint, furniture, whatever it takes. The return on investment will be HUGE, I promise.
3) New Patient Gifting: There is something very important about having a New Patient leave your office PHYSICALLY HOLDING something. Whether it is a mug, or a goody bag, or a folder full of testimonials with something special inside, make sure they walk out with something in their hands that has your Practice’s NAME on it.
4) Something for the kids: Just like New Patient gifting, treats for kids is a BIG plus. Having grab bags full of dollar store toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, and pencils is incredibly cheap and gets kids excited. Excited kids at a doctor’s visit means parents who are RELIEVED, HAPPY, and ready to make referrals…
5) Give a Letter: When a patient comes to your office for the first time, they are more than likely going to be tense. Diffuse the tension by having your Front Desk team hand them a letter with a handwritten envelope. The letter should detail how experienced the staff is, how excited they are to meet and serve the New Patient, and how happy your team is to help with any special requests, etc. Make the New Patient feel like an old friend… And give them a good impression right out of the gate!
6) Create Value: You can create value not ONLY by over-delivering on service to your patients, but also by making them feel like they are part of a special and unified group of people… A community. Have a staff member say this to a New Patient: “If Dr. X accepts you as a patient, we will look forward to working with you and your family!” In one sentence, you have created a whole new perspective. No longer is your Practice ordinary… It is somewhere that people have to QUALIFY to be members, which creates value! You’ll be amazed how powerful this simple statement can be.
7) Introductions and Endorsement: One of your staff members should endorse you to the New Patient before you ever enter the room. Something like, “You’re going to LOVE Dr. X… He has a lot of experience with X.” Then, when upon entering, your staff member should professionally introduce you and the New Patient to each other, and ask if either of you need anything before leaving the room. This is a sign for respect for authority.
8) Involve the Spouse: If a New Patient has come in for a COSTLY form of service (implants, etc) make sure to involve the spouse. More likely than not, they are going to need the spouse’s approval before making such a big financial commitment, and you will meet with much higher compliance rate if you involve them early on in the process. Consider having the spouse come in for the case presentation OR sending the New Patient home with a folder full of treatment information and testimonials especially for the spouse.
Remember, you only get ONE first impression… So you really need to knock it out of the park and convince your New Patients they are in the right place. If you follow these strategies, I guarantee you will see an increase in referrals AND retention. Call 866-917-2808 for more information on my New Patient Experience trainings, and to boost your New Patient numbers anywhere from 12- 60%!
Until next time,