In today’s competitive aesthetics environment, a patient’s experience is fundamental to the success of your clinic/business. In the past, providing an excellent treatment result may have been enough to build a successful business. However, today’s practitioners must ensure they provide a personal but professional service to attract new patients. Aesthetic practitioners that can exceed patient expectations whilst delivering exceptional service will not only stay competitive within the industry but retain loyal patients.
The road from potential new patient to becoming a recurring visitor takes time, starting with the first online searches for an aesthetic practitioner in the local area and continuing after they have left their first appointment. But it’s worth a practitioner investing their time to ensure a patient’s expectations are exceeded at every stage. Prioritising the patients journey through your business can not only lead to higher patient retention in your clinic but increase the lifetime value (LTV) of each patient.
Imagine, your patient arrives for their appointment and instead of filtering through mountains of paper to find their record, you simply search for their name on your iPad and their whole history appears in front of you. All their previous appointments, notes and photos. Giving everything, you need to know about the patient in seconds.
Did they have any concerns following their last treatment? Perhaps you made a note of a personal conversation you had with the patient at their last appointment that you can ask about again?
It can be hard to remember all of this for every patient, which is why you should use tools that can support you with this. All this knowledge adds to the patient feeling like a valued customer, that you have taken the time to listen and remember everything about them. This builds a positive patient relationship that is more than just a transaction, which in turn increases the loyalty they will feel towards your business.
Keeping in touch with your patients
Your patients have busy lives, they have jobs, family commitments and a social life, meaning they can sometimes lose track of their scheduled appointments, especially if they have been booked months in advance.
Think about how you currently communicate with your patients? Do you simply enter their appointment into your diary and then wait until they arrive at your clinic for their appointment? This increases the chance of them forgetting about an appointment, so a gentle nudge is always welcomed. Not only will it add to your professional image and service, but your patients will be grateful to have received a timely reminder about their appointment as they don’t want to miss it. Keeping in touch with your patients is not just a formality, it goes a long way in building the relationship and trust between you and them.
Automated reminders give your patients ample time to contact you if they need to cancel or reschedule their appointment. Reminder messages have been found to decrease no show appointments by up to 16% when sent out one to two days prior to the appointment*. Automated messaging can enhance your patient retention levels and remove the mind-numbing admin task of manually sending out reminders or follow-up messages post treatment.
Make life easier for patients by using Online Booking
Your business cannot always be open, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not always being available to reply to patients. However, that doesn’t mean your business cannot still be accessible. Using an online booking system gives your customers access to your diary 24/7, but you still have control over your availability and working hours. It allows them to book their appointments at a convenient time for them, which is often outside of the normal 9-5 working day. It might be after the kids are in bed or whilst they are looking in the mirror brushing their teeth and think ‘ I need to book my Botox appointment.’
The most popular time to book an appointment is between the hours of 4pm and 8pm on a Sunday*. You should ask yourself are you available in this period to answer appointment enquiries or do you really want to be answering messages at this time? If not, you could be missing out on potential patients.
Since the pandemic, everyone is much more accustomed to booking online and it is a service that is almost expected to be offered for a business. If you do not offer this service, it could be the deciding factor for a customer to go elsewhere. Your patients want speed, convenience, they want to view treatments you have to offer and check your availability to book an appointment that suits them. This quick and easy service right from the start can improve your patient’s experience, creating a professional image and reducing any friction with getting booked in.
Create a helpful online presence
Given that half of all Google searches are for local information with an 80% conversion rate*, it’s fair to say your online presence is essential for any independent aesthetics practitioner looking to grow your patient base.
It can often be the first impression that a potential customer has of your business so, you will want your online presence to be clear about who you are and what you can offer to the patient.
The first place to start is your website. No matter how small your business, you always need a website. This showcases your business to potential customers that are searching for the services you offer. A one-page website can be sufficient when starting out, so long as it clearly gives patients all the information they need to decide if you’re the practitioner for them.
New patients spend a lot of time researching treatments and choosing the right practitioner, so you’ll create a great first impression if you can make it clear and easy for patients to find the following information:
- Your background and experience
- The services you offer and where you trained
- Your Pricing
- Reviews and Testimonials from previous patients
- Peace of mind that you are insured and a trustworthy practitioner
The second place online to think about is social media channels. This is where you can engage and build relationships with new and existing patients. Try to get a clear understand of the content your followers engage with. Your social media pages are the perfect place to educate patients about the treatments you offer and keep them updated on your business. This will help to strengthen the relation with your patient amongst a competitive field by adding extra vale and being a point of information / education. Being consistent with your social media activity will boost the chances of your clinic’s exposure being increased as followers’ friends are targeted.
Reduce your waiting times
Time is valuable to both your business and your patients. No one wants to be sat around waiting, most patients are willing to wait up to 10 minutes for a service. However, over that period they begin to speculate that the business is being managed poorly or they are not a valued customer, and they may even decide to try another clinic.
One way to reduce your patients’ waiting times is by using a clinical software to manage your appointment timings. Pre-setting allocated times for each treatment can ensure you have sufficient time for each patient and reduces the chance of running over.
Sending forms prior to appointment can also reduce waiting times, having this as part of your process allows you to view the patient’s medical history before their appointment. Not only will this save time in clinic, but it also gives you the chance to adapt the treatment plan for your patient’s needs and / or identify any contra-indications. This can help to manage patient’s expectations ahead of time as they do no turn up to an appointment and then a contra-indication is highlighted which means they cannot have their anticipated treatment.
Follow-up with patients after treatment
The moment a patient leaves the clinic should not be your last point of contact. Following up with your patients after treatments can be critical to building a relationship with the patient and exceeding their expectations.
These messages can be used to simply check in with the patient following their treatment, giving them chance to raise any concerns they may have. This adds to the personal service you provide and builds on the relationship with your patient, by showing the level of care you have about them and their treatment outcome, increasing the likelihood that they’ll want to return.
Feedback can also be collected using a follow up message. Feedback is a fundamental element in the growth in your business as it can help you to continuously improve your service.
Patients that have an experience which exceeds their expectations are seen to inform 4 others, whereas a patient who receives a negative experience informs 10 others*. Unfortunately, negative feedback spreads quicker than positive, therefore feedback forms are vital to your business so that you can address any areas for improvement promptly.
Testimonials and reviews that highlight positive feedback can also be used online to attract new patients. By placing a Google, Facebook or Save Face review link into an automated follow up message to patients, it reminds them to leave you a review and tell others about their excellent experience.