Cloud with snow Learn how your practice can weather the flurry of healthcare changes throughout 2017 in our February webinar. Register now.


 

Creating Warm Fuzzies in Your BusinessThis month, we’ve covered many of the ways your clinic can start and continue to add value to your patients’ lives—beyond providing exceptional care—thus encouraging return business and word-of-mouth referrals. But what we haven’t talked about yet are the emotions that go along with this value—the “warm fuzzies,” as we like to call them. After all, people don’t make rational buying decisions—ever. None of us do. Instead, we use our emotions. (Just ask this psychologist, this sales guy, and this marketing firm.)

 The Pepsi Paradox

Want an interesting example? Consider the “Pepsi Paradox” in Leonard Mlodnow’s book, Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior: In blind taste tests, an overwhelming number of participants rated Pepsi as tasting better than Coca-Cola. However, when those same people knew the brand of the sodas they were tasting, they rated Coke higher. Why? Because they associate the Coca-Cola brand with positive emotions (think skating polar bears in red scarves or an ice cold bottle of Coke at the ball game), and this in turn actually improves the taste of the soda.

When asked why they chose Coke over Pepsi, almost none of the participants admitted to the connection between brand perception and taste, indicating that it was a subconscious awareness. In fact, “in the early 2000s, new brain imaging studies found evidence that that an area of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) is the seat of the warm fuzziness we experience when we contemplate a familiar brand-name product.” So, in 2007, researchers performed the same Pepsi vs. Coke taste experiment on a group of participants with healthy VMPCs and a group “whose brain scans showed significant VMPC damage.” So what were the findings? According to Mlodnow, “as expected, both the normal and the brain-damaged volunteers preferred Pepsi to Coke when they did not know what they were drinking. And, as expected, those with healthy brains switched their preference when they knew what they were drinking. But those who had damage to their VMPC—their brain’s ‘brand appreciation’ module—did not change preferences. They liked Pepsi better whether or not they knew what they were drinking.” Thus, “without the ability to unconsciously experience a warm and fuzzy feeling toward a brand name, there is no Pepsi Paradox.” Powerful, huh?

So what’s the key to tapping into your customers’ emotion-driven brains?

Make them feel good about you and your practice. Make patients happy, make them smile, make them laugh, and they’ll remember you fondly. Not only will this help you do better in business, but more importantly, it will also help your patients get better—and maybe make you (and your staff) happier in the process. According to an article in the Physical Therapy Journal, patients who perceive their care positively experience better outcomes. This means that practitioners who cater to the “specific needs of their patients” and “provide a positive, collaborative treatment experience” often end up helping their patients recover faster.

With this in mind, here are four ways you can cultivate the warm fuzzies:

1. Always Smile

Smiling—just like yawning—is contagious. And real smiles (those that engage the eyes) can dramatically increase people’s level of happiness. A smile also communicates openness, warmness, and, according to this WebMD article, intelligence. So start smiling—not creepily, just naturally. It’s the first step to building a positive rapport with your patients, which will keep them engaged and feeling encouraged about their therapy experience.

2. Really Listen

While we’re on the subject of building rapport, a good bed—table—side manner means more than just rattling off clinical terms and expecting your patients to do as they’re told. This will most likely backfire for the patient’s rehabilitation, and they’re surely not going to go around telling their friends anything nice about you. So stop talking—and start practicing your active listening skills. Actually hear what your patients want from therapy, what their expectations are, and what their fears are about going through this process. This will help you both get the most out of your experience together.

3. Be Positive

Whether this is in person, online, or anywhere in between, make sure that you are only focusing on the good. Do not slam a competitor, be negative about a patient’s recovery process, or lose control of your body language (eye rolling, frowning, arm-crossing, etc.) Anything that might cause your patients to wonder about the kindness of your heart or feel insecure in their relationship with you will breed whatever the opposite of the warm fuzzies are (cold pricklies?). As a parent or grandparent traditionally says: “if you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” After all, a lot of the recovery process depends upon the patient’s attitude.

4. Go Further

Want to create a good, lasting, memorable impression? Go out of your way to make every patient’s experience wonderful. And you can do so in whatever manner is right for you. Perhaps it’s simply walking your elderly patrons to their cars after a session, opening the door for the mom with a stroller, asking a repeat patron how his son’s baseball game was, putting out fresh flowers in your waiting room, or offering spa-like fruit-infused water to thirsty patients (maybe even using branded cups). Just do something special—something that your patients might walk away from feeling a little bit more warm and fuzzy.

 

Looking for some more happiness-generating tips? Check out this article. But before you do, use the comment section below to tell us about the ways in which you’ve cultivated the warm fuzzies in your practice.

 

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide - Regular BannerSpeech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide - Small Banner
  • articleSep 25, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Using Pinterest for Your Practice

    We’ve covered a great deal about social media here on the WebPT blog—from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Yelp. Perhaps, though, your practice already has these incredibly common and popular platforms down pat; maybe you’re looking for a different way to reach your audience online or help yourself grow as a professional. Here’s an answer that satisfies all of these criteria: Pinterest . What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a tool that people use to organize whatever …

  • Measuring Matters: Key Metrics for Marketing and Sales for Physical Therapy Practices Image

    articleMay 21, 2014 | 8 min. read

    Measuring Matters: Key Metrics for Marketing and Sales for Physical Therapy Practices

    You might be one heck of a salesperson, or you might be a master marketer. But how do you know that? A gut feeling, perhaps? Sales or marketing skills only matter to a business if that business understands the value those skills provide. More succinctly, sales or marketing only matter if they work, and the only way you’ll know if they’re working is if you measure them. With that, here are a few key metrics that’ll help …

  • articleSep 27, 2012 | 1 min. read

    Marketing the PT Profession Webinar Recap

    Today's blog post comes from copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen.    On Tuesday, WebPT hosted a webinar on how to market the PT profession—and why it’s so important. Together Co-founder Heidi Jannenga and Marketing Manager Mike Manheimer tackled topics far beyond business cards and email marketing. They dove into ways you can influence how your patients, the public, and fellow medical professionals perceive the PT industry. Here are some of their marketing action items: Increase referrals …

  • articleSep 13, 2013 | 7 min. read

    6 Common Rehab Therapy Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    So, you’ve got a marketing plan , you’ve honed your content-creation skills , and you’re ready to get down to business—or, to be more accurate, you’re ready to get down to marketing your business. As with any new endeavor, you’ll probably experience a few bumps along the road to building a successful marketing campaign—and that’s okay. After all, some of the world’s best innovations came about through trial and error. But while mistakes often present you with …

  • How to Throw a Grand Opening Bash Image

    articleMay 1, 2014 | 5 min. read

    How to Throw a Grand Opening Bash

    You’ve spent months preparing to open your own practice, and it’s finally time! Your doors are open for business and your staff is ready to treat patients, but does your community even know your practice is open? Working with fellow business owners and residents to put together a grand opening event is a wonderful way to network with your neighbors (and potential customers) with the end result being a fun community event that exposes the public to …

  • articleSep 12, 2012 | 3 min. read

    Beyond the Standard: Social Media Tips for Marketing the PT Profession, Part 2

    Today’s blog post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen. Like us! Follow us! Nowadays most clinics have a Facebook and/or a Twitter. With everyone vying for customers’ attention on their newsfeeds, how do you stand out? How do you make your posts, tweets, and page more than just standard business promotion? Let’s talk about impact, emotion, and education. This week, we’re discussing four ways to use social media beyond the standard and instead, use …

  • 6 Simple Ways to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn Image

    articleSep 24, 2014 | 7 min. read

    6 Simple Ways to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn

    When you hear the word “brand, ” you probably think of big-name product manufacturers—the Apples, Nikes, and Coca-Colas of the world. But if you offer products or services to consumers in a professional capacity, then you already have a brand—whether you’re aware of it or not. Because when you strip away all of the fancy-schmancy logos and taglines, your “brand” is really just the way your audience feels about you and your business. While resource-strapped small business …

  • 7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social Image

    articleSep 9, 2014 | 7 min. read

    7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social

    Before the dawn of the Internet, building a community—around a business, an institution, or any other entity of mutual interest—required a heavy investment of face time (and I’m not talking about the iPhone app ). These days, though, starting a conversation around virtually any topic is as easy as hitting “Enter.” But as with face-to-face interactions, it’s one thing to run your mouth—or in this case, your keyboard—and another to wrangle your listeners’ interest enough to get …

  • webinarAug 30, 2011

    Social Media and Your Clinic

    Have you ever wondered how you could better engage your community or possibly add value to your practice by using Social Media? This webinar was hosted by WebPT Co-Founder Heidi Jannenga PT, MPT, ATC/L and WebPT Expert Michael Manheimer joined by special guests Casey Kirkes PT, DPT, NSCA-CPT and Dale Boren Jr. PT, MPT, OCS of Physical Therapy Central. Webinar attendees will learn: Is Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter right for my clinic? How do I set up my …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.