According to the IMPACT study (Galderma, 2014), 52% of cosmetic patients change practice. 37% pursue treatment elsewhere just because of poor customer service. Is patient retention being overlooked in aesthetics?
It is 32 times easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one (Galderma, 2014), so your current patients might well be key to your success as an aesthetic practitioner. So how can you make sure you keep them, once you’ve got them?
We asked the experts, and gathered the top three tips for retaining patients from those at the top of the aesthetics specialty…
1. Personalise it.
How do you quickly get to know your patient? Listen. Truly listen. Before you speak, leave some room for the patient to expand on what they are saying. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll be surprised by how effective this technique is.
Ask yourself, what are the real motivations underlying what your patient is saying? Can you accurately repeat these motivations back to the patient? If so, you will not only be able to build a personalised, long-term treatment plan, but also build trust as your patient will know that you are truly listening.
Also watch. Closely. Non-verbal clues are everywhere. Are they avoiding eye contact? Is there something that they are not telling you? Do they look unusually nervous? It might be necessary to probe a little deeper, or spend a little longer explaining or reassuring them.
Finally, take great consultation notes consultation, so that you can maintain an unparalleled level of personalised care. The reward for you could be decades of loyalty.
2. Manage Expectations.
There are two prongs to this. First, the obvious frank use of language: lines will be ‘softened’, not ‘erased’, and so forth. Second, is the longer term expectation management.
Patients are often happy after a treatment. They look in the mirror, and they look like themselves – but better! They look in the mirror again. And again. And again. After only a few hundred times (estimates range from an average of 8-72 times each day), they look in the mirror and just see themselves.
Cue, the quality of life plateau (Bensoussan et al., 2014). You have to let your patients know in advance that they will normalise to their own procedures. The temptation to get too much too soon must be resisted.
What can you do about this? Encourage them to refer to their own pre-treatment photos, as an objective measure. Also, remind them that the enhancements will still be visible to those around them, even if it becomes less noticeable to the patient themselves.
3. Know your limits.
Bad news travels faster than good news. If you’re not sure whether you can do a requested procedure, don’t risk a botch job that loses you a patient as well as their extended social network. Refer the patient to someone else – and seek mentoring in procedures that you get lots of requests for.
Only perform procedures that are within your skill set to gain a good reputation, maintain standards in the industry, and above all to keep your patient’s trust.
Sources and further reading:
Bensoussan et al. (2014): Quality of life before and after cosmetic surgery
Galderma (2014): IMPACT study
Read more about Level 7 courses