How welcoming is Your Practice?
A friend of mine recently told me about a story she had read about a local Medical office. The story was about two people sitting in the waiting room of the Medical office when suddenly one of them started complaining.
The lady was unhappy and said something along the lines of, “I’m done. I’m not coming back here anymore. I’m tired of waiting for my appointments, and I’m tired of the unwelcoming atmosphere”.
That was that. Not only did that practice lose a patient (and he probably doesn’t even know this happened), but you can bet that unhappy patient will be more than willing to tell her friends about her bad experience, too. So, in the long run, the doctor will probably lose a lot more than just one patient!
This type of situation probably occurs a lot more often than anyone wants to admit.
It may be worthwhile for you to take a look at your own practice. How welcoming is your practice? What do people see when they walk in the door? When was the last time you walked in the front door of your practice and made note of the impression someone will get? How does it look through your patients’ eyes?
Not only was this person unhappy about her wait time, but she also noted what she called an “unwelcoming atmosphere.”
For example, the front desk people were sitting behind a glass partition – a partition that they kept closed most of the time.
That’s not really a welcoming sign, is it? That is likely to make your patients feel like they are an interruption rather than a welcomed sight.
Another issue that this lady noticed were all the “unfriendly” signs.
There were signs stating that if patients were late they would have to reschedule, yet they were routinely kept waiting for their own appointment…rather hypocritical, don’t you think?
And there were signs stating the need to pay co-payments at time of service. Not a bad thing on its own, but when you factor it all up -front desk staff hiding behind a glass partition, the unfriendly signage, the long waits, etc. – that doctor really wasn’t creating a patient-friendly environment.
This is a common mistake, and one that can be easily rectified.
Take a look around your front entrance. Put yourself in your patients’ shoes. Would you feel welcomed if you walked in for the first time?
If not, make some changes right now. Take down the partitions, re-word the signage so it doesn’t sound so hostile, and get more efficient so your patients have shorter wait times.
People don’t like to think they are an inconvenience, especially with their doctor. Make sure you and your staff are doing everything you can to make your patients feel welcomed and cared for.
Taking a little time to make sure your patients know they are appreciated and welcome is one of the easiest things you can do to help your practice thrive.