By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Just up the street there’s a popular restaurant that greets customers as they’re arriving. Often a staff person will open the door, and, with a bright smile, offer a warm greeting of “Welcome Back!”
The thing is, EVERYONE gets the “welcome back” greeting, even first-time guests, and even if the greeter and guest have never met.
The marketing-smart dynamics at work in this four-second welcoming snapshot are significant, with some useful ideas that transfer nicely to healthcare provider and medical offices.
The Patient Experience Lesson
If you take a moment to dissect the front door interaction at the restaurant, it illustrates good staff training. Plus, what’s going on here is:
- This is a neighborhood restaurant, so the odds are that a “welcome back” greeting is appropriate. (Maybe eight out of 10 times, it’s actually correct.)
- It’s a greeting that makes the returning guest sense that they are known or recognized, that their (continued) patronage is appreciated, and that they are part of the loyal “family” of guests.
- Although the greeting is not entirely accurate for first-time visitors, the warm sense of “belonging” transfers anyway. Plus, if the guest self-identifies as being new to the place, the greeter can provider addition “glad you’re here” and welcoming information.
So, one lesson for healthcare is that a sincere greeting at the door contributes to a positive patient experience. Patients have become empowered consumers who reasonably expect and appreciate an authentic (and perhaps personalized) greeting. (Contrast this with a closed glass window/barrier, and a sign pointing to the impersonal “sign-in-here” clipboard.)
[bctt tweet=”A sincere greeting at the door contributes to a positive patient experience.”]The Internal Marketing Lesson
The more powerful, and long-term marketing lesson that carries over from retail to healthcare: Your internal audience is the best business prospect for additional products or services, as well as for testimonials, referrals and/or online reviews.
In the restaurant business, a neighborhood establishment in particular will quickly be out of business without regular and repeat patronage.
Doctors’ offices have a different business model, but in every service business the value of the current customer base is important to continued growth and new business opportunities. Healthcare marketing to people/patients who already know you is lower risk, and for practitioners, it “feels safe.” Often, the cost is low, and therefore the Return-on-Investment can be huge.
In previous posts, we outline 10 ways to use the power of internal marketing, and Retention vs. Acquisition: The Power of Patient Relationships.