The Importance of First Impressions

~ Glenn Akins, Medical Marketing Whiz

Today, I wanted to talk about something that is super important....first impressions.

I'm going to talk about two different experiences I had today. The first experience not a pleasant one. I was going around and visiting some of my clients and just talking with them to get caught up and I decided to more or less “cold call” on this other clinic in the building. I won't mention its name or the practice, but I walk in there and I'm waiting behind a patient who's checking in and all the sudden that patient turns around and just rolls their eyes at me. I'm thinking “this isn't good. What's going on?”

I get up to the window and I ask to talk to somebody who is in charge of marketing. Before I could even finish my sentence, the girl who is sitting behind the front desk cuts me off. She's sitting at the front desk eating her lunch. She seems super irritated with the world. She cuts me off and she says "What doctor you seeing?" I said “I'm not seeing a physician. I'm here working with a couple of other offices in this office building and I'm trying to talk to somebody here that's in charge of marketing and I just wanted stop in and introduce what we have to offer.” She says “no” and just stares at me. Talk about an uncomfortable silence! So I say “okay well, I guess I'll be going then.” It was just a super bad experience. Not to mention what type of impression the patient in front of me had with this same staff member.

Then, I go down the hall and walk in to one of my clients offices. I walk into the clinic and I'm greeted right away. They're saying “Hey how's it going today? What's going on? How are you doing?” Their front desk is just super smiley and it just felt like an ah-ha moment. I felt “wow what a huge difference between the first clinic experience and the second clinic experience.” I spoke with the doctor asked, “I need to know something. Is there anything that you're purposely doing here to encourage your staff? Or do you filter through your staff to figure out who should be at the front desk today?” Because first impressions are so important.

The patient's first impression is going to be from the front desk. This person is the one introducing your practice to patients and it's just crazy that people doctors wouldn't gauge this and pay more attention to it.

As I was talking to the doctor, he said, “actually you know, a couple years ago I learned the hard way.” He was getting some negative Google reviews and those Google reviews mentioned the unfriendly staff at the front desk or a specific person that was interacting with the patient.

He used that as a learning experience that his staff was affecting his reputation as a doctor and he needed to get the very best person possible to be the front line to fix the issue.

I would encourage you to look at who's working your front desk and giving the initial office presentation to patients. Who is that person? Are they the best person to leave that first impression about your office?

So lesson learned here. You have to pay attention to your staff and what they're saying because that first patient could turn into five patient referrals, or it could result in a bad online review. As a patient at that first clinic I went into, I would have given them some bad reviews just because of that person at the front desk. So pay attention and correct it if you have a problem.

Hope this helps!

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