How to create a lasting impression

How to create a lasting impression
4th April 2018

You have one chance at making a lasting impression with a new patient, and it often happens outside your surgery or even before they enter the practice.

This vital initial impression is often handled by the person answering your telephones.

As a result of this, anyone within the practice who is likely to be the first contact a patient has must be polished within an inch of their lives! Maybe not so far as that, but we must be fully aware of their importance and make sure that they are the right character for the job, and trained to be the best they possibly can be.

They need to be highly skilled at: Answering questions; making sure they are an expert in what they do; answering questions in a succinct and simple way. Having set procedures and capture forms in place ensures consistency among team members.

Planting the seed of trust within the patient reinforces that this is the practice for them.

Kindness goes a long way to building trust and confidence.

The appearance, be it of staff, or of the general practice can sometimes be overlooked. Take a look at yourselves from a patients perspective and see how you score. What would you change? Look at your competitors.

Creating a lasting impression in surgery is also vitally important. Your new patient needs to feel confidence in your abilities, but also that you genuinely care about their wellbeing. We all know that the best way to do this is by listening, making eye contact, responding to their questions and building up a rapport. However, being genuinely interested and sincere goes a long way to ensuring that these skills are received by the patient as they are intended. It is also essential that you ask them why they are there and what concerns they have. Let’s not make assumptions about a patient, about what they want, and, heaven forbid, what they are able to pay.

The final step to making a good impression is the follow-up process after the patient has had the initial visit. Ensure there are procedures in place for patients to be followed up, depending on their needs. This helps to aid consistency and re-enforce that positive first impression.

Finally and sometimes overlooked is: are you leaving the correct lasting impression on your patients? It is important not to leave this to chance, think about how you end conversations. Regardless of what you actually say, make sure it always has a feeling of sincerity and humility.

All interactions between patients and practice team members are important towards building the right impression. However, the last impression is the final impression that creates the lasting impression. This is what makes patients decide if they want to return to see you or not.

The exit must be equal to, if not greater than, the welcome.

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