Book a Call
Back to Blog
Woman holding an open pocket watch

Countdown to a 2nd First Impression

clinical communication customer experience phone communication sales communication


Can’t you just hear the stopwatch ticking? Is it the countdown to the great day of returning to work and seeing patients, or is it a countdown to a meltdown from the stress and lack of clear communication?

We long for normalcy yet have this post-shelter-in-place world to navigate. This is true not only for us, but for our teams, our patients, and their families. This time of emerging back to activity is loaded with an opportunity to foster a fresh “first impression”. Sure, it isn’t the first time they have had contact with you, but the return to work and live appointments is the “first” after this lockdown we have all experienced.

A Second First

So how are you planning for this unique “first impression” or “do-over”? You have bought what PPE you can, you have thought of how you will call the team back to work, you are altering how you will have patients wait, and the list goes on.

But have you considered the communication you are having with the team and your patients?

Before you see anybody, you will be calling the team back to work and patients back to appointments. We must communicate to their apprehension and speak to them.

Rules for Guidance

Now you may be thinking you want to use the Golden Rule as a guiding principle, “Do unto others and you would have others do unto you.” This is beautiful and has relevance. But I want you to go to the highest level…and use the Platinum Rule.

What is the Platinum Rule? It is called the highest rule of customer service and states, “Do onto others as THEY want us to do unto them.”

That is a paradigm shift but powerful. We may want communication with a certain format and feel but our teams and patients actually need nuances in the message. One way to think of these is by considering personalities and what each one needs. A tool I use is the Personality Elements Profile that uses 4 physical elements that are easy to remember. You can read more about them in the book, 4 Elements of Success by Laurie Beth Jones.

4 Elements

Allow me to provide a quick primer on each personality and what they need as you develop a “first impression”:

  • Fire – These are your go-getters, leading the way, and desiring control. Relating to them is by providing options and authority. They need to know their goal of getting back to work or done with treatment will not be impaired. Help them see the intended goal is still on your radar and attainable.
  • Earth – These are your rock-solid and steady-state people. They need details and time to process what is being communicated. You must remember this space of rapid change and so much unknown has rocked their world. They need to know the plan and what to expect. Give a step-by-step approach…and in writing is so helpful.
  • Water – These are the “Golden Retrievers” of your life. They are so loving but need guidance; they need to know what is ok to do, and when. Social distancing has been their nemesis; connection is key. Smile with your voice and your eyes. Be sure to ask how they are doing and allow space to really hear them.
  • Wind – These are those that love attention and center stage. They are the most flexible. They will want to know you will see them and may most love the new options you are bringing to the office. Let them be your thought leaders and hold center stage as they lead the way in this new space.


You have a rare opportunity. How many times do you get a “do-over” and an opportunity to fully plan out a second “first impression”? Take hold of it!

Ensure your communication points have adaptations built into it so the message resonates with each person. Finally, if you have any questions or want to learn more, contact Communicate Excellence.