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How to Create a Better Branded Experience with Doctors, Dentists, & Service Providers

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How to Create a Better Branded Experience with Doctors, Dentists, & Service Providers

When did the branded experience with Doctors, Dentists and other Service Providers become about forms and waiting rather than customer appreciation? As I settle in to my new city of Reno, I’m frustrated with the cold, sterile approach I get walking in to a new facialist, knee doctor, dentist, or massage therapist.

The routine goes something like this:

  • Stand and wait at a bullet-proof window counter
  • Sign your name on a sheet
  • Wait until you get handed a clipboard of deeply personal questions
  • Painstakingly try to remember your history even though you’ve already sent all of the information they have!
  • Wait until you’re called
  • Wait until the VIP shows up


When did the #branded experience with Doctors, Dentists and other Service Providers become about forms and waiting rather than customer appreciation? Click To Tweet

At the Knee Doctor…

At the knee doctor, I was sent a 5-page document of forms to complete with 2 places highlighting the verbiage that if I didn’t fill in the forms completely, bring my X-rays, patient records, and MRI, I would forfeit my appointment and be charged for the privilege. Further, I must agree to their policy that if I am more than 20 minutes late, I would also be charged.

Guess what happened? I arrived 5 minutes early only to wait 45 minutes for the doctor! Why isn’t this a 2-way street?

At the Dentist…

In another instance, I secured a dental appointment for Monday, April 9 at 9 am. At 8:50 am that day, I receive a phone call that the dentist had an emergency and is cancelling the appointment. OK, I get it, emergencies happen.

Upon arrival at this dentist’s office, I must sign my approval that if I cancel, reschedule, or fail to show up without 24 hours’ notice, I get charged a fee. So, doesn’t the dentist now owe me a fee?  In all, I put my signature on 5 documents that deal with fees; not one single form about my care, his services, how he works, etc.

And, it’s not just the medical profession.

If a medical practitioner can #charge me if I'm late, shouldn't I be able to charge them when they cancel last minute or make me wait? Click To Tweet

At the Massage Therapist…

I booked a massage and was also treated to e-forms to be completed before my appointment; twice I was reminded that I hadn’t completed the forms yet.  The questions included requests for my social security number (nope!), my marital status (not relevant!), and my employment status (none of your business).

I understand that there are forms and basic information, but how about if they were a little warmer? My sister, a direct primary care doctor in Ashland, Oregon explains the reason for forms this way:

“Since I want to provide the best care possible, please print out the patient information form and the patient questionnaire.

Take the time to carefully complete these forms so that I can develop a health plan with you. You will also need to read the Patient Agreement form and the Privacy Practices notice (HIPAA) which is required by federal law. There is no need to print these documents as I like to review them in person and answer your questions. I also have them laminated in my office so that we may sign them together. Note: I can also copy your consent forms into your chart and then wipe them off – saving lots of trees. 😊”

How to Create a Better Branded Experience

  1. Make the First Interaction Warm – Before simply handing me a clip board, how about starting the relationship with “welcome to our office” or we’re glad you’re here.” Make the #FirstInteraction Warm – Start the relationship with 'welcome to our office' or 'we’re glad you’re here.' Click To Tweet
  2. Create a Positive First Impression– If your waiting room means I’m really going to wait, make it cozy. A table for my water or coffee or current magazines are a bonus.
    It’s time to change the cold #FirstImpressions into warm welcomes with better branded experiences. Click To Tweet
  3. Offer me a Cuppa Java or Water – The research is clear that eating or drinking something positively affects your view of the interaction.
  4. Don’t Forget About the Sense of Smell – Smells are the quickest way to our emotional well-being. You need not create your own signature scent like Delta Air, United, or The Venetian hotel, but you could have fragrant flowers or aromatic candles like the female coworking space Hera Hub.
    Don’t forget the sense of #smell in creating #branded experiences. @HeraHub uses aromatic candles. Click To Tweet
  5. Treat Customers with Respect – In this age of medicine, I vote with my wallet and my feet. If you’re more than 15 minutes late, I have the privilege of walking out without paying a cancellation fee. Or, if you know you’re running late, call them!
  6. Review Your Office Layout – Is it friendly? Is there a wall, window or counter separating “us” from “you?” Banks have adopted teller pods with rave results. Review Your Office Layout – Is it friendly? Is there a wall, window or counter separating “us” from “you?” #betterbrandedexperience Click To Tweet

Stop! What can you do to improve the experience? Can you get the information later? Can you review in person? Can you complete the information that you know before handing it off to the customer?

Are you providing a #betterbrandedexperience or do you have room to improve? Click To Tweet

What’s your experience? Is there a service provider who you love? Please share!

To your sizzling success,


  1. Hi Liz,

    Miss you guys here in SD. Great stuff/observations/suggestions. Some of it may be level of care/less competition in Reno vs. SD but still no excuse! Actually, I have been having GREAT customer service experiences at my health care providers lately…Scripps, Sharp and Scripps Rock Dental…very impressed.

    All the best!


  2. So funny and so true, Liz! Great advice here. Onboarding is tough to do well in all kinds of client services situations, isn’t it?

  3. I had the first appointment of the day at Kaiser and my Doctor was 15 minutes late. When he came in I was on the phone with a client dealing with an emergency (I wouldn’t have taken the call had he been on time). He walked out and said I would have to reschedule. I raised hell. He claimed he was late because a patient had a heart attack but no one else was in the lobby and I was the first patient. Apparently, it was OK for him to deal with an emergency and not me. I refuse to be treated like a slab of meat. If we paid for our services directly instead of through insurance I bet it would be a different experience.

  4. Ouch! Sounds like some training and coaching is in order here! I’ve had such a range of experiences here in So Cal. My new dentist in Costa Mesa has a lovely staff and offers both water and coffee. I once was referred to a specialist in LA where the first person I saw was the accountant. I couldn’t understand how she could possibly diagnose and charge for a new patient’s treatment before I even saw the doctor. Needless to say, I asked for a different referral and reported this behavior to my primary care physician.
    Good luck!

  5. Good to here that I’m not the only one! But, it’s time to change this horrid behavior. I’m happy to train your employees. Any takers?

  6. This is the main reason I love OneMedical and am glad they’re growing. They have a welcoming and friendly office, appointments start on time, and you spend your entire time with your doctor or PA, they don’t have nurses (though they do have phlebotomists for drawing blood). I have a friend with a deep anxiety about seeing doctors, and his medical life literally changed once we went to OneMedical. Sometimes, all it takes is one provider doing it right to kick start the competition that’s supposed to have been making everyone do better in the first place!

  7. Fantastic piece of work. Thanks a lot for sharing your ideas on creating a better-branded experience for these specific professions.

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