Strategically designing your practice and your interactions with prospective patients from beginning to end is one of the most important elements of consistent practice growth.
Patients have expectations about their visit to your practice and if their experience doesn’t match-up with, or exceed, their expectations psychologically they’ll have a hard time justifying remaining a long term patient or better still being a ‘PSR’ (Pays, Stays and Refers others) patient of your practice. When the actual experience in your practice clashes with their expectations your prospective patients sense what psychologists refer to as Cognitive Dissonance.
Cognitive Dissonance is an emotional state set up when two simultaneously held attitudes or cognition’s are inconsistent or when there is a conflict between belief and overt behaviour…….belief patterns are generally modified so as to be consistent with behaviour.
Even though this often occurs sub-consciously, it causes a level of mental discomfort – something you certainly don’t want occurring with a prospective new patient. Cognitive Dissonance can be triggered by the initial exposure to the practice marketing or by the wrong interactions in the practice, with your staff, during the Patient journey or in the consulting room.
Quite simply: What the Patient experiences compared with their expectations:
If there is too wide a gap between expectations and reality the results will range from poor conversion, to disappointment and even to rage.
You might not get a second chance so it is crucial that you and your team manage the customer experience to optimise the conversion process, the long-term viability of the patient and your practice.
As a strategic practice owner it is essential to consider and design your practice and script the entire patient visit from beginning to end.
This not only includes the physical layout, design, the ‘look and feel’ of your practice. It also includes the dress of the staff, the greeting and the entire process of welcoming and orientating a new patient in your practice.
Second, you want to design a scripted and choreographed process prospective patients go through from the moment they walk in the door through to the case presentation process in the consulting room and the recommendations, all the way to the dispensing process and the ‘goodbye’.
This process should never be done haphazardly or willy-nilly. It should be designed, practiced, drilled into your staff, and adhered to with every single prospective patient – from beginning to end (paying particular attention to the connections between each of these processes).
This is the most effective way, you will experience consistent and predictable results with your conversion process of prospective patients into ‘PSR’ (Pay, Stay & Refer others) patients.
Think of it like this:
The job of your marketing is to get prospective patients in the practice.
The job of your systems (in this case call it your ‘sales process’) – everything that happens from the moment a prospective patient walks in the door – is to turn them into a loyal ‘PSR’ patient.
If you’re spending a nice chunk of change and investing a serious amount of time and labour designing your marketing, fascia and shop fitting process(s), and investing thousands in high tech equipment and paying for your staff etc. doesn’t it make sense to place at least the same level of priority on the systems and processes before, during and after the consultation?
The effect of the care and service you deliver to your ‘PSR’ patients will not only impact directly on them, but will grow their lifetime value to your practice.