When you first walk into a medical office for an appointment, what are your expectations? How do you want the staff to greet you, and what are some of the things that make you want to say “I’m never coming back here again!” As a business owner, do you meet those expectations? Think about it, and if you feel like there are some tweaks you can make, then you’ll want to keep on reading! The front office is often a patient’s first glimpse into the workings of a practice and if a patient has a positive experience with your front office staff, it sets the stage for a positive experience overall. As with any business, effective communication in the medical aesthetic office is key. The first interaction you have with potential patients is often a phone call. Office staff should be trained on how to begin and execute a productive and engaging phone call (see my blog on Phone Skills Training here). In their interactions with patients, front office staff should strive to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and engaging.
7 STEPS T0 A POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION:
1. Be Enthusiastic, Engaging, Confident.
A positive attitude is infectious and an important element of success in any business. Take a look at how this article from the Huffington Post explains the importance of a positive attitude in business. Convey a positive attitude, speak and articulate information with confidence and engage the patient in dialogue to ensure you have gathered all of the facts about them and what they are requesting. This will set you apart significantly from others practices that invest in training their staff.
2. Listen first.
Listen to prospective patients—assess their needs and desires before pitching a service or treatment. Strive to make a genuine connection with each patient. You want to “land the patient.” See TSIA’s explanation of the LAER (Land-Adopt-Renew-Expand) model here. The LAER Model that I teach is (Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond). Most often people tend to Listen and Respond without really understanding patient needs. Explore more details, show empathy and acknowledge that you fully understand what the patient is telling you.
3. Ask Questions:
Your ability to connect, ask questions, and engage with potential patients is critical. The medical aesthetics space is very competitive and the consumers are far more educated and have numerous resources to explore. They also have many choices. So your ability to articulate with conviction by credentialing the business, the medical providers, and knowing the products and treatments you offer over the competition is paramount to a prospective patient wanting to schedule with you over another office.
4. Never say no!
If a patient asks if you offer Ulthera and you don’t, never say no or you’ve lost them. Instead, say: “May I ask who is calling? Hi [patient name], so you are interested in skin tightening is that correct?” This means you must know your technology and your competition and be able to effectively convince them why what you offer is equally as good if not better than another option. More importantly, your knowledge and skillset will make them want to schedule with you. If that doesn’t work, ask if you can follow up with them.
5. RESPOND TO PATIENT NEEDS IN A TIMELY FASHION.
If a patient calls or e‑mails with a question or need, make a point to respond immediately, within 1-3 hours or 24 hours at the very latest. There are several different types of patient inquiries and one of them is NEW LEADS. This is critical, as they are shopping but haven’t yet decided on your practice. Current patients are the ones that know you, trust you, and already have a relationship with you. However, communications with current patients is equally as important as this helps to establish patient retention. If a patient asks a question you don’t immediately know the answer to, respond that you are searching for the answer and will respond as soon as possible. This lets them know that they are important.
6. BE THE EXPERT.
It is essential for you to know every product and service offered in your office. Do your homework. You need to know every treatment: what it does, what it’s used for, and how it can be incorporated into a personalized treatment plan. By knowing your services and how they compare to your competitors, you engage the patient and make them feel they have landed at the right office.
7. GO BEYOND WHAT IS EXPECTED.
In attitude, knowledge, and service, go beyond the patient’s general expectations. Make sure the patient has a positive experience from start to finish. Are you the Four Seasons or the Marriott?
So now that you’ve read the 7 steps, picture yourself as a patient, walking into your office; and ask yourself if you’d return for a next visit. Even if you’ve answered yes, there might be some room for improvement in certain aspects, and I want to make sure you have reached the point of a perfect first impression. Please download the complimentary checklist to evaluate where the holes in your staff training might be.