First impressions are everything, especially when patients are putting their health and well-being into your hands. Retaining a physical therapy patient after the initial contact and first visit is important for building a strong and reputable practice. Here, are four ways to make a great first impression on patients:
1. Hire a friendly, sincere and ready-to-learn receptionist
The first point of contact is usually between a potential client and the person answering the phone, so it’s vital the interaction goes well. Make sure your receptionist is well-versed in phone etiquette and uses a warm, level tone to convey information to possible patients, the Houston Chronicle reported. Additionally, all members of your staff should feel comfortable answering the phone if your office doesn’t have a receptionist. The comfort a client feels when talking to someone from your practice on the phone can keep patients coming back.
2. Decorate your waiting room in a welcoming way
Once you’ve scheduled a client for an appointment, the second “first impression” happens when a patient enters your facility for the first time. It’s hard to make a patient feel at home in a waiting room, but do your best to ensure that the environment is clean and helpful. Directive signs for new clients can help them feel more at ease with their surroundings. Avoid brochures, magazines and posters with material that could make a patient question his or her choice in physical therapy practice. Funny signs can help make a client feel more relaxed, but make sure they are appropriate and tasteful.
“Honest interactions lead to a more beneficial, collaborative therapy regimen.”
3. Greet patients cheerfully
It’s easy for physical therapy patients to feel uncomfortable on their first visits to your practice. They’re new, may not know what to expect and are not familiar with the therapists at the facility. To make them feel more content, take a page out of the “Cheers” playbook and treat them like they’re a regular customer. Tell your staff to initiate eye contact and to always greet clients, even in passing. By making consistent contact a staple of your practice, patients feel more welcome.
4. Be interested in what your patient has to share
Once staff members are one-on-one with a new client, encourage them to find a common interest with their client and get to know that patient on a more personal level. Forming a more in-depth relationship with one’s client can help both parties feel more at ease with each other, according to Forbes. In addition, honest interactions lead to a more beneficial, collaborative therapy regimen. By showing interest in more than your patients’ physical injury, you can form a meaningful bond.
First impressions mean the difference between keeping and losing a new patient. To ensure your first meeting is successful, it’s important to welcome clients by being friendly and intuitive to their needs. By fostering a relationship from the initial point of contact, patients can feel comfortable with your physical therapists regarding their treatment.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.