First Impressions Count
Whether you are looking to attract new patients or new doctors to your practice, first impressions count. And it’s often your website and online presence which does the talking first – showcasing what your practice can offer.
In the medical recruitment world, we know potential new doctors looking to join your practice will ‘scope-you-out’ online, looking at your Google reviews and trawling through your website. It helps them to get a sense of what patients think and say about you, and to confirm what the practice offers, your fees, what the bookings are like, and who the other doctors are they’d be working with.
These first impressions can make lasting impressions. A potential new recruit knows nothing of you, so they’ll be looking for something tangible as a representation of what they might expect from your practice. It’s only natural then that you’d want to put your best foot forward to attract high calibre doctors to your practice.
The team at Alecto Recruitment spend a good chunk of time looking at general practice websites, and we’ve compiled a checklist of things you might want to consider from the perspective of an incoming doctor.
What’s the overall look and feel of your website?
Is your website built on a modern platform, portraying a practice which is professional and stays up to date? Or is it slow to load and look a bit unloved?
An out-of-date website can impact negatively on the perception of quality, and whilst that impression may be far from true, it can portray a practice which is ‘behind the times’ making it less appealing at first glance.
How do you showcase your doctors?
A new doctor coming to your practice is often concerned about attracting new patients. They also want to know who they are going to be working alongside. Therefore, how you portray your current doctors gives them some insight as to how they might be treated, and how you are going to promote them to your patients.
What kind of photos are you using, are they professional, uniform in size, well laid out on the page, and friendly looking. Or are they inconsistent, look ‘thrown together’ or missing altogether. High quality photos demonstrate professionalism and help build a level of familiarity with patients.
Do you have biographies for each doctor and are they complete or does there seem ‘preferential’ treatment to some doctors with good information whilst incomplete or missing for others. Do the bio’s help to build connection with patients providing some personal information about the doctor – e.g., When Doctor X is not treating her patients, she loves travelling to faraway places, reading thriller crime books, and playing ping-pong with her 2 children.
By showcasing each of your doctors, you are indicating to them you are committed to ensuring they become well-known to your patients.
New doctors to your practice want to know they are going to be busy, and that patients can easily book appointments with them.
Do you have a PROMINENT ‘book here’ button which takes them immediately to your diary or do patients have to call the practice.
It is surprising how many websites require patients to ‘hunt’ for a booking link or require patients to call the practice. As most patients these days are on their phones and on the run, it’s important to reduce the barriers to booking so having the BOOK HERE button obvious, on your home and page optimised for mobile phones is essential.
If you are using ‘HotDoc’ or a similar appointment system, think about how you can streamline your process to make it as easy as possible for the patient to book with a new doctor minimising the number of steps they have to take.
The other consideration is if you are running multiple diaries for doctors – if a prospective doctor sees available appointments every day of the week, this can be a little disconcerting for them as they will worry about whether they will be busy enough. Let your recruiter know in advance if you do this so we can manage the candidates expectations.
How do you bill and what are your fees
As Jerry Macquire says, “show me the money”.
With the increasing pressures on general practice and diminishing margins, there is always a fear that their earnings will be impacted if the doctor moves practice. So, chances are they will look closely at the billing policy of the practice.
We often see websites with banners notifying patients that billing policies have changed. It’s important to remember if you are readily displaying your fees, that these are they consistent across all pages of your website and your appointment booking platforms.
We often see inconsistencies in fees which is not only confusing to the patient but casts concern in the doctors’ mind about what they might be charging patients, and how this impacts their earning capacity. Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to stipulate what the fees are when there are multiple doctors charging differently. So, it’s a good idea to address this with potential candidates to help them work out in their mind what they’ll be earning. When meeting with them, it’s often good to be able to provide them with some context of what other doctors are earning in the practice.
What services do you offer?
Prospective candidates are looking for a point of difference.
Does your website highlight other services available at the practice and is that information up to date?
For example, if a doctor has an interest in skin, it is useful for them to know if you are equipped with scanning machines and are set up for procedures. Similarly, if there are allied health/pathology/pharmacy/radiology etc onsite or nearby which can support the needs of the patients.
This also extends to support staff.
- Do you highlight your friendly professional front desk staff who will welcome and put their patients at ease? Have you an updated team photo?
- Does your Practice Manager get special mention for the diligence and professionalism in how the practice is managed, and the administrative expertise to lead and support the team on clinicians. Do you offer a bio which highlights qualifications and experience?
- And do the top-notch’’ nursing staff get recognised as an integral part of the care of patients, assisting doctors to do their best work?
A final word on Google reviews
Love them or loathe them, Google reviews do provide an impression of how your practice is perceived by patients.
Regular attention by the practice to what is being posted and prompt attention to patient complaints will help to reduce negative reviews. Giving patients reasons to rave about your practice will not only enhance your 5-star rating but position your practice as a highly attractive working environment. And when patients are happy, doctors are happy leading to a stable cohesive workforce in the practice.
So, if it’s been a little time since you’ve reviewed your website, maybe now is the time to give it some love.
The investment of time and getting a specialist digital marketing person on the job will pay big dividends. And remember – your online presence serves as the voice of the practice which reflects the values and professionalism are new doctor might be greeted with. It might just be the one thing that makes the difference between a doctor electing to meet you for an interview or not!
We wish you well. Contact Alecto Australia for more information.