Exponential Practice Growth
10th January 2012
Primacy and Immediacy
"The Importance of the Before and After"
I am going to share with you something
very simple yet it is guaranteed to make a profound difference to the way both your clinic and your treatments are
perceived, but first I want to clear up one small detail:
“Primacy and immediacy” is not a song by Paul McCartney and
As you may be aware when it comes to memory and recollecting
any particular event the two things that are remembered with the most clarity, the two things that have the
greatest impact or how the event / situation was judged is what happened first and what happened last. This is the
primacy and immediacy effect.
In other words for any given experience we tend to remember
things that happen at the start and at the end of the encounter...
…and this is VERY important in business.
Because this means that anything that happens in the middle
tends to be forgotten about…
The “last” thing we want to do is leave our clients with a
‘lasting’ negative impression and likewise we want the “start” of their experience and relationship with us to get
off on the right foot!
Therefore it doesn’t matter how great a treatment you give
your patient it will not be remembered if their initial encounter with you or your staff was in any way not up to
This can be anything from receptionist failing to greet them
appropriately by calling them by the wrong name or something simple like failing to acknowledge them when they
enter the clinic. You will be amazed what a simple “hello, how are you” and a smile (or even a smile and a nod of
the head if they are on the phone) can do to promote warm, fuzzy feelings.
It can even involve something that happened just prior to
the appointment such as the patient not being able to get parked outside or nearby the clinic.
A simple thing I had several clinics try was to have a bowl
of 20 pence pieces on the side of the receptionists’ desk available as a refund for those patients who had paid to
park at the local car parking. Sure it cost 40 pence or so for the refund (and yes some people took 40 pence even
though they hadn’t come by car!) but it negated the initial bad feeling the patient sometimes felt when they had to
pay 30 pounds for a treatment and 40 pence to park!
The money involved in paying these parking fees was soon
recuperated when the clinic next put their fees up so there was no real cost to the clinic either (it is amazing
how little charges like this can be “hidden” in a larger fee and the overall effect of having “free” parking was a
tremendous selling point!).
If you appear hurried towards the end of the treatment and
not available to answer any questions which may have arisen during the session will also counteract any good you
have achieved whilst the patient was there in your care.
So, a brilliant treatment and all the good it has done can
be immediately cancelled out by poor first and last impressions. This will result in reduced referral
opportunities, less patient compliance and more “no shows” or “DNAs”…
Does it happen in your clinic?
Are you creating a fabulous first impression because as the saying goes “you never
get a second chance to make a first impression” and are you creating a lasting ‘last’ impression - the one people
will take away with them (because you only get the first chance to make the last impression as well!).
How many firsts and lasts do you have every single day -
what difference would it make if each one were not only memorable - but unforgettable for its positive
…and what difference would that make to your
Developing exponential practice growth by creating a brilliant first and last impression!