Much like a Facebook Cover Photo is your social media first impression, and your website is your web first impression, the front office of your practice is the physical first impression that you as a brand and a business will leave on a new patient. In any business, design elements are crucial to the overall consumer, or in this case, patient experience.
We you aware that every single aspect of a grocery store design is thoroughly calculated not strictly for the intent of positive customer experience, but to literally sell more products. From the placement of ads to the placement of products for mom, dad and the kids, absolutely every element of grocery store design is absolutely deliberate. Your medical front desk office space should be designed with that same intensity and focus on detail.
With all that said, there are elements of healthcare marketing that should be directly associated with front office design.
Maintain Brand Consistency Throughout
Just as with every strategy and campaign within healthcare marketing, brand consistency must be maintained throughout. From the logo on the front of your new medical office space to the colors continued within the front door, every single design element must adhere to your brand.
Consider this when choosing design elements such as paint color, chair fabric, carpeting, wall décor, even what the front desk staff will wear. The brand message must remain consistent throughout, advancing the patient experience flawlessly from the Facebook page, to the website, to the front desk.
Consider the very first element of the design that a patient will notice when they walk in. Will it be an inviting, soothing element or an aspect of the front desk design that intimidates them?
Determine Front Desk Purpose
If you’re a general practitioner, the obvious purpose of the front desk is to settle patients’ fears, make them feel comfortable, tighten staff teamwork and decrease waiting time with an efficient front desk design. You’ll need to determine, based upon patient flow throughout the day, how many staff members to accommodate the front desk, what each staff member’s responsibility will be, and how that will ultimately affect the patient experience.
At the offices of Arizona OBGYN Affiliates, the patient experience is enhanced with complimentary snacks and drinks, coinciding perfectly with AOA’s brand message. By adding simple, yet effective, healthcare marketing techniques, such as offering something completely complimentary, AOA is able to perpetuate the patient experience. The patients, who most often happen to be pregnant, are happy, thus the front desk is happy and everything flows that much more efficiently, all because of some complimentary snacks.
Recently, we visited the offices of a competitor in the OBGYN field, and immediately upon entering the front office I was struck with an ominous feeling – the exact opposite of invitational or accommodating. In order to increase productivity and decrease wait times, the front desk had been closed off, creating a gloomy and claustrophobic feel in the front office. Staff members sat in the waiting room with the patients, checking them in on their iPads and escorting them to the back.
While this front office strategy was created, I’m assuming, to speed up the process of these patient visits, the staff was confused and frustrated with the new procedures, which was clearly felt in the air of the front office.
This takes us to our next tip…
Prepare Your Staff
While you can add multiple, remarkable and incredibly appealing design elements to your front desk to improve the patient experience, none of that will matter unless you have the staff to maintain the backbone of the entire process.
- Brand Advocates: You front desk staff must absolutely function as brand advocates, meaning they need to transcend your brand message in everything they do. Inherently, they have to like their jobs.
- Employee Engagement: According to a Madison study, increased employee engagement can equal a 12% increase in customer satisfaction, or in this case patient satisfaction, which drives up revenue and margin growth. An engaged employee is a motivated employee who intrinsically cares about the future of the medical practice. Give your employees a reason to invest themselves, and they will give your patients a reason to make return visits.
Designing your medical practice’s front desk involves a variety of not only design elements, but healthcare marketing elements as well. Let the professionals at Quaintise bring our healthcare marketing expertise to your team! What we've learned over the years can literally propel your medical offices into the next era of marketing.