The great playwright and author Oscar Wilde introduced the famous quote “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” to the world. Today, though, we are not talking about the proper way to use impression material with a patient. What we are talking about is the overall impression that any patient experiences when they visit your office.
No matter if this is the patient’s first, fourth, or fifty-fifth visit to your office – what they see and how they are communicated with can affect your future relationship with the patient. This can factor into treatment plan acceptance, referrals, and the impression that they share with others on online reviews. It is crucial that you make every patient feel like your practice would not exist without their satisfaction! Here is a quick list of things that we feel are important to making a fantastic first impression with a patient.
The Front Door – Some of you might find it strange that this is at the top of our list but never forget that the front door is what welcomes patients to your office! Whether you have door made of wood, glass, or another material, a clean and presentable front door is the start of the first impression.
If there is glass in your door, is it clean, smudge and fingerprint free? If your door has dents and dings from daily use, is it time for a fresh coat of paint or stain? If you have lettering on your door, is it complete, correct, and not in danger of falling off? Also, make sure that the hinges on the door do not squeak and are able to open and close smoothly.
The Reception/Waiting Area – A great way to think of how the waiting area should feel is if you were welcoming guests to your home, how would you want the room to feel? Your patients are guests to your practice and it is important to make things comfortable while they wait for treatment.
Is the furniture in your reception area comfortable and relaxing for patients to sit on while waiting for their appointment? Do you have the same furniture in the waiting room from when you purchased the practice back in the 1980’s? Make an investment in keeping your patients satisfied and they will hopefully keep making an investment in you as a patient! Along the same lines, make sure that patients are being welcomed and greeted as soon as possible once they enter the reception area.
Every phone line may be ringing off the hook, but there is also another phone ringing right in front of you – your patient! Please make sure to take a moment and give them your full and undivided attention.
There are many more first impressions in your office to talk about, but these will hopefully give you a good start. Keep an eye out for future e-letters as we discuss more areas!
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