“You had me at your virtual hello!”
Have you ever walked into a place of business taken a good look around and left without making a purchase? One might say these businesses lost you at hello. How do you avoid this trap? You need to create the ‘right’ first impression and this starts before the first physical hello.
Today’s successful businesses manage their online image. They monitor review sites and reach out to individuals who post negative reviews, correct the problems, and ask for an updated, positive review. Individuals who post a positive review are thanked and appreciated.
Tip: Ask every patient to post a review of their experience. Send a thank you note when a customer posts a positive review.
Manage social media efficiently
Social media sites are managed and monitored. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are active; 4 – 6 posts a month. Posts are relevant and timely. Posts may be promotional or informative. Mix them up and be sure you are giving as much as you receive. You posts can be educational, humorous, informational or sales focused. Tip: Every month have a friend or family member look at your social media accounts and provide feedback for improvement. Always be looking for ways to improve.
Simplify your life and use social media management tools to help you better manage these activities. Hootsuite, Buffer, HubSpot and Sprout Social are four of the more widely used platforms. Do your research and select the tools that work best for you. Once employed, you’ll have a tool to help you plan, schedule, and launch your campaigns and content.
And let’s not forget your all-important website. Really? Yes really! Many businesses create a website and then let it die. Just as your social media presence requires constant activity and updates so too does your website. Ideas to add to your site and keep it refreshed would include blog posts; summaries of new scientific facts/findings; new product introductions and testing/analysis capabilities.
Make your team the heroes.
People love to see real life photos. Have a social section to your site with casual photos taken at your events, tidbits of information regarding your team. Information on how your business gives back to the community and more. Tip: Rotate the responsibility for developing content amongst your team. This will involve your team, encourage growth, and allow then to shine.
“You got me!” I’m walking through your doors.
The right impression in person
Creating the right physical impression starts with your welcome center. “Parsimony” is the word to emulate – less is more. Unclutter and simplify so I know where to go, who to speak with and feel comfortable being there. Signage works!
Tip: At least once a month enter through the front door just like a patient. Stop when you cross the threshold and examine what you see as if this is the first time.
Your welcoming ambassador must be personable, warm, and efficient. The welcoming ambassador sets the stage. Explains your processes, the length of time everything takes and completes my intake into your practice. All the while the ambassador maintains eye contact, smiles, and makes me feel good about the decision to come to your practice. Tip: At least twice a year employ a ‘secret shopper’ to ensure your process and people are working well.
Exceed expectations to retain patients
Each team member needs to accept the challenge to exceed patients’ expectations every minute of every day. Your patients are bombarded with competitors’ advertising and social media outreach. Successful practices have a strong customer base developed and retained over many years. Successful practices know how to ensure customer loyalty.
- Bain and company reports, each year the average company loses 10% – 15% of its customer base.
- Forum Corporation says, 84% of customers leave due to poor service
- According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 2018, only 4% of dissatisfied customers complain. The other 96% just never return.
Developing customer loyalty
Developing and maintaining customer loyalty is not the result of one program or sale. Every interaction must say we care about you and want to deliver the best outcome for you. Following are some ideas to integrate into your day to day.
- Remember important customer dates – birthdays, anniversaries (marriage and becoming a patient). Send card or note.
- Interact with your customers at least every 3 months
- Newsletters (digital or hard copy)
- Direct email regarding a blog the patient may find beneficial
- Email invitation to trunk shows and in office events
- Eyewear ‘tune up’ program – recommend return visits every 3 months for an eyewear tune up – just like getting the oil changed in your vehicle – without the cost. Clean and adjust the eyewear. Give patient a new lens cloth. Clean the case.
- No charge refill program for spray lens cleaner.
- Ask for customer feedback. Survey your customers on a regular basis. Listen to the feedback and make corrective action as appropriate.
Integrating just a few ideas every month will keep you on the path to business success and you’ll be saying ‘hello’ to new and returning patients more often.