We all know the feeling of being bombarded with emails, texts, and phone calls from a business! However, as a business owner there are ways to do this which avoids bombarding your patients and instead, builds your relationship with them. Although there are no set rules on how often you should communicate, sending personalised and informative emails and SMS messages can increase your patient retention, enhance their experience, and even attract new patient.
So, think about it, how often do you communicate with your patients? Is it weekly, daily, monthly or not at all? Are your messages automated and personalised to each patient or is the manual process taking valuable time away from your patients. Maybe you’re thinking how can I improve my communication to optimise my patient retention.
Firstly, what are the reasons you should communicate with your patients?
We all get them; you make an order online and immediately receive a notification stating all the details of your recent purchase. This should be no different for making an aesthetic appointment booking. This message puts the patient at ease knowing that their appointment has been acknowledged and gives a brief overview of their appointment to refer to at a later date. This message should be sent immediately after the appointment is booked, giving patients ample opportunity to reschedule the appointment if something crops up.
Patients are always grateful for a reminder, they give a little helping hand in their mad world of juggling a social life, work, children and what to have for dinner. Reminders should be short, snappy and show a professional image of your business, sent 1 to 2 days before the appointment they can reduce no show appointments or late cancellations. How many times have you had to double check an appointment time the night before because you booked the appointment months in advance? Reminders are designed to stop these late-night messages and give patients the little nudge they didn’t know they needed. Designed to make their experience with you as seamless as possible, provide any relevant information that the patient needs to know before they arrive; where to park, asking to arrive five minutes before their appointment or explaining what they can expect when they arrive.
The argument of email vs SMS (text) messaging comes into play within Pre-Treatment communications with emails easily lost and a response rate of 90 minutes vs 90 seconds for an SMS.
We suggest emailing a confirmation message to patients as the appointment is fresh in their mind and they will physically be looking for this notification. Whereas a reminder may not be expected but if delivered directly to their phone via SMS, the open rate is significantly higher than emails, further reducing the chance of a costly no-show.
Follow Up Message
Communication shouldn’t finish in clinic, follow up messages add an extra personal touch for your patients allowing you to check in and see how they’re doing. Maybe they have some concerns following their treatment, this is a great opportunity to reach out first and show that the experience and duty of care doesn’t finish once they walk out of clinic. This continuation of care shows patients your passionate about your profession and their treatment outcome, building your relationship further. This follow up message can simply ask the patient how they feel, give them aftercare advice or additional information on their treatment and include your contact details.
Reviews can easily boost your business and follow up messages are the perfect opportunity to request your patients to leave you one and support your business. We’ve all done it, browsed online and chose the business with the most reviews, even though that doesn’t mean the other options are less qualified or not as good. By entering your Facebook, Google or Save Face review link into your follow up messages it can be just the trick to collect genuine feedback and improve your online presence, bringing more patients to you. Your message should thank them for their visit, ask if they have any questions following their treatment and kindly request them to write a review, including a link to your review page.
However, don’t think you have to send a message straight away, you can allow your patients time to let their treatment settle a little. You may want to wait 48-72 hours after their appointment to check in.
How often does a patient leave clinic and not book back in for their next appointment?. Are you relying on the patient to remember when they are due back and to get in touch with you. If so, you are probably losing out on a significant amount of repeat bookings and revenue. If so, you should consider starting to send rebooking reminders. But don’t worry about needing to manually work this all out, you can use clinic software such as Aesthetic Nurse Software to completely automate this.
With the addition of these messages, a patient will receive a reminder before their next treatment is due. With it costing 5 times more to gain a new patient than to retain an existing patient, rebook reminders help boost your patient retention by prompting patients to book and return to your clinic at the optimum time for the treatment they have had. You may want to enter your online booking link within this reminder allowing patients to go directly online to book their appointments at a time of day that suits them.
How can I automate my patient communications?
You may be thinking this is a lot to take in, how will I be able to remember to send all these messages to all my patients?
That’s where a clinic software system comes in.
By introducing a software package, you will be able to completely automate your messaging and ultimately allow you to achieve more, by doing less. All your messages can be scheduled to be sent out at a time that you decide allowing you full control over what, when and how notifications are sent to patients.
Aesthetic Nurse Software offers templates for your different points of communication, allowing you to simply set up each message template that will automatically be sent to your patients for each step of your patient’s journey, before and after their treatment. With the use of smart ‘tags’ (Name, Date and Time of Appointment) messages can be personalised to each patient creating a professional but personal impression of both yourself as a practitioner and your business.
Your method of communication can be set at your own preference, whether that be for all messages to be sent as emails or to only send a reminder before appointment to patients and nothing else. Our software can suit your business’s needs. Communications can be scheduled to be sent days before the appointment or hours after. They can even be set to treatment intervals to remind patients when they are due their next treatment. All you have to do is book your appointments as normal and let ANS take care of the rest.
So why not give it a go, save yourself some well-deserved personal time whilst providing your patients a five star experience from start to finish.