It’s been said that “it’s the little things that make the big difference”. We certainly find that to be true when it comes to the Key Area of Lead Conversion. Recall, “conversion” is that critical component of effectively and efficiently handling a prospect (someone who is coming into your office to see if you can help and to explore the possibility of beginning chiropractic care). In our system they are not considered a “new patient” until they accept and invest in our recommended care AND come back the visit after the Report of Findings (ROF).
In this piece, we have included a much abbreviated look at the system/process we incorporate on a prospect’s first visit (Day 1). We have underlined and put in bold 10 tiny factors that we have found to make a big difference in the way a prospect feels, communicates, responds and makes decisions. At the bottom, is a brief explanation of each of those 10 tiny things. So, here we go …
When a new prospect enters the office they should be warmly greeted and positively impressed within the first few seconds. The front desk TEAM member must stand up, walk around the counter (1) make excellent eye contact with the New Patient, shake his/her hand (2) firmly, smile and say:
“Hi, I’m _______. You must be (3) Mr./Mrs. [Name]. Welcome to our office. Thank you for coming.”
Your team member continues by saying, “I spoke with you on the phone (4). It’s nice to meet you. If you would please have a seat, I will get your paperwork and we’ll get things started”.
Once the New Patient Packet (5) and clipboard is in hand, the front desk TEAM Member returns to the patient and says, “Mr/Mrs.[Name], I am going to be your personal assistant (6) today to help make sure things go as smooth as possible for you. If you have questions while you are here, please make sure you ask for me. Okay?”
“Mr/Mrs. [Name], (Say the patient’s name A LOT) (7) here is your paperwork for today.
After the paperwork is completed, the front desk team player will do a brief “Office Tour”(8) . Then, once they have escorted the patient to the Consultation/Exam room, they inform the doctor that the prospect is ready. The doctor is given a chance to review the New Patient Entrance Form. Once the doctor is prepared to meet the patient, the front desk team member introduces the patient to the doctor (9).
Once you, Doctor, are introduced greet the patient, shake hands, and welcome the patient to the practice. Create RAPPORT. If the patient was referred to the practice, take the time to acknowledge this and pay a compliment to the referrer (10).
All of this begins to build RELATIONSHIP with the prospect. THEN, you are ready to get rolling with the CLINICAL matters – the consultation, exam, x-rays (if applicable) etc. Again, this is a very brief flow of some day one processes. Obviously there are many more variables and key factors involved, but let’s run through the first 5 of those 10 tiny things noted above. Then, in the next piece, we will cover numbers 6 – 10.
- Walk around the counter: this simple action assures that there are no obstacles between the front desk person and the new prospect. It shows extra effort and that we are coming to greet them and welcome them – not requiring them to walk to us. Remember: patients may be nervous. Think of yourself entering a social setting. It is always nice for someone to come and greet you rather than you walking in awkwardly trying to figure out where to go and find a familiar face. By the way, your office design should enable this to be done easily and not have a “glass window” that your front desk person is sitting behind and has to open and give the entering person permission to talk then slamming the window shut!
- Shake his/her hand: shaking the hand simply demonstrates that your team values relationship building – not JUST the clinical aspect. A nice professional handshake is certainly more warming than throwing a clipboard at them and simply instructing them to “fill this out”. Train your front desk person to be sincere with this and take the extra second to actually shake and look them in the eye to make a connection and indicate that “we are ready to serve you”.
- “You must be”: by saying this simple phrase, it indicates that we are ready for them. It also shows that we know our patients and they are like family. So, when someone new enters we realize it, and are looking forward to seeing them. This sounds so much better than “who are you?” Or “what’s your name?” Or even worse just asking “Can I help you?” and requiring them to explain that they are new, they have an appointment, etc.
- “I spoke with you on the phone”: saying this gives a sense of familiarity to the person. It is now a second time they have spoken with someone on your team – and hopefully the person who took the call in your office was polite and helpful at that time. Now the new prospect immediately feels more comfortable.
- New Patient Packet: notice we use the word “packet”. All appropriate paperwork should be specifically planned and organized in the prospect’s file prior to them arriving. The front desk team members should not be scrambling to put together pages upon the prospects arrival. In fact, we always advocate having as many new patient packets prepared in advance as you expect to have in a given month (at least in a given week). Not only does this allow your team to stay in proactive mode, but it demonstrates order and systems to the prospect. That impresses and comforts them. At the same time, it assures all paperwork (which nobody likes) is simple, streamlined, efficient, and gets done at the appropriate time. You do not want to have to go back and say “we forgot to have you do this”. Of course, many times the patient can have those papers done in advance if they are available on your website and you effectively coach them to go to them, print them, and complete them. Or better, they could submit them prior to arrival (i.e. by scan and e-mail). Either way, it is that organized “packet” that must be completed efficiently and effectively.
That’s it for this week. Like so many small things that make a BIG difference, these may seem obvious. The difference in the little things is staying conscious of them… And applying them! What little things are you forgetting to do? Check yourself on that, and be sure to tune in next week when we hit on Day #1 tiny factors 6-10.