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First Impressions Mean Everything

    • 30 posts
    July 30, 2012 2:11 PM EDT

    You'll find this a slight departure from my normal posts in this forum as it doesn't directly relate to "technology trends." However I feel this is an important topic and sadly a frequently forgotten point of discussion when it comes to marketing a veterinary practice.

    In my profession, I am literally in and out of veterinary practices all day long. Often I am greeted first by an onslaught of marketing - in the form of posters, brochures, and products - as well as a good amount of pet hair and dust. I know well that being short staffed or simply having staff preoccupied with clients can cause your reception area to suffer. But because your entrance and reception staff are your first impression to your clients, keeping this area of your practice in check is of utmost importance. Here are a few tips to cutting the clutter:

    1. Get rid of tape and tacks. Just don't use them. If you feel something must be posted at the front, use a nice frame or a stand.

    2. Keep those brochures off of counter tops and your magazines in check. If you don't have a wall-mounted brochure rack, keep brochures behind the front desk to be used when it's applicable. Take a look at the brochures you have. Are they products you stock AND your doctors recommend? Magazines more than a month old should find their way to the recycle bin.

    3. Make your marketing pop. Don't feel like every company who sends you a marketing kit deserves to have it displayed in your reception area. Pick one product to feature - the one that is most profitable to your practice. It is the job of your staff to promote products relevant to your clients and their pets. 

    4. Create a task checklist. Staff should never have time to just sit at the front desk and chat with one another. For downtime, a checklist could include things like dusting, mopping, and organizing. 

    5. Less is More. Your clients want to feel their pets are receiving care in a clean and organized practice environment. Make sure the first area they see is a reflection of that. In addition, a mish mash of products can confuse your clients. "What exactly is my vet recommending for me?" Pick one brand in your various categories - food, toys, collars & leashes, shampoos, flea & tick, etc. - and highlight just those brands in your reception area.

    What are some of the ideas you have for keeping the first impression in your practice - the lobby - looking amazing?