Lots of people put “exercise more” on their New Year’s Resolutions. We concur with that, but as as marketing professionals we offer a marketing exercise idea for you:
Take a Walk on the Client Side
What does this mean? To walk on the client side means to pretend that you are a real client, a real patient, a real customer. Approach doing business at your office or your establishment as a brand new person “walking in”, either through your actual front door or through the portal of your web presence. Here are some things you might want to resolve to check on:
- How “findable” are you? When you Google your name, what comes up? (If you are paying for Google Ads, don’t go on and click on yourself or your website, or you’ll end up paying for the click!) Many single attorneys or doctors in a larger practice are surprised to find that their firms or their practices aren’t necessarily as visible as they would have hoped. We have met potential clients and eventual clients who were practically invisible! Typically, these clients weren’t thinking about marketing and thought “the practice” had that covered. If you think that you have paid for other internet listing services or the Yellow Pages, check your presence on those entities, too.
- What are the first impressions that clients receive? How friendly is the first voice on the phone? Is a new client going to talk to a real live person? What’s the time frame for someone to return a phone call? What is your parking lot like? Is it well-maintained? Is it safe? Who sits at the front desk? Do they greet people appropriately or are they too busy multitasking? Do you have the right staff as your “line of first defense”?
- What does it feel like to encounter you and your company as an outsider? Is there insider lingo in your website? If so, does it enhance your reputation to show that you are experts in your field, or is it too arcane? Does somebody have to have connections to get a return phone call or are potential new clients welcomed?
- Can you even handle new customers or clients at this point? If your practice is thriving to the point that you cannot handle new patients or new customers without hiring new staff, consider what that new client experience is like. Are there lengthy wait times for appointments or meetings? Are there insufficient chairs in the reception area? Is your database or file management being taken to the brink? If you cannot handle new customers without added infrastructure expenses, you may be unwittingly turning away potential new customers, too. Consider how to prioritize your spending so you can accommodate growth, or make a decision not to grow. If you choose the latter, it’s best to put the word out that “you are not taking new clients right now”, offering to put people on a waiting list or making referrals to another trusted professional.