Welcome Back: The Power of Building Your Business From the Inside

By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist

Female chef posingJust 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.

Dart board with "Customer Retention" bulls-eyeSo, 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.

Kathy Gaughran






Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist at Healthcare Success
In her career, Kathy has helped over 4,000 clients all over North America achieve their growth goals. As an award-winning strategic marketing planner, Kathy has been involved in both the high-level strategies required for long-term sustainability, plus the tactical execution used to accomplish the day-to-day successes. Kathy’s clients include practices with annual revenues well over $10 million and with annual marketing budgets up to $900,000. In addition, Kathy is an accomplished speaker, appearing at countless national, local and state healthcare associations. Kathy is a member of the American Marketing Association and The Direct Marketing Association.



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