Part of owning and managing your own practice means that you must keep a steady stream of patients coming in the doors. But what happens when you are experiencing fewer patient calls and visits? It could be seasonality, it could be that patients have moved, changed jobs, or other life events. But what about the other patients, that you never hear from again? What’s causing them to never return? Here are some reasons why you could be losing some of your client base.
- No Availability – When your patients call, are they able to get an appointment? Or do you make them wait and schedule them out months away? Especially when it comes to aesthetic treatments, people don’t want to wait. They want immediate action and results. Make time for your patients, otherwise it is easy for them to go elsewhere, given the number of practitioners in the market today. That means offering times in the early mornings, evenings or even weekends, making special exceptions for your loyal patients, and just going the extra mile to accommodate your patients. Figuring out an automated scheduling system may also help. The easier you make it for your patients to make an appointment, the better.
- Front Desk Staff – We’ve touched on this topic many times before but your front desk staff is the face of your practice. It sets the tone for the entire office. They are often the first touch point for new and returning patients. If they are not friendly, or seem disinterested in their job and the patients, people are likely to be turned off. Make sure that your front desk staff is inviting and friendly over the phone and in person to everyone they come into contact with.
- Your Attitude – The doctor-patient relationship is the most important relationship. It goes a long way to also form a more personal relationship with your patients. Ask about their family, their job, their hobbies, make notes in their files and ask about those when they come in again. Have empathy towards your patients, show them that you genuinely care about their welfare. Patients will appreciate that you took the time to get to know them as a person, rather than just another paying client. This can help build that trust and confidence that is so essential in the doctor-patient relationship.
- Too Busy – Delays are all too common in medical practices, especially aesthetic practices. Do your best to handle these situations professionally if they should arise. Don’t make patients feel like a burden or that you are rushing them along. Be honest with them if there is a delay and work with your patients to make it better. There is nothing worse than a patient feeling like they are not important and that their time is not as valuable.
- They Can’t Get Ahold Of You – Client and patient communication should always be timely. If they call or email, you should do your best to respond as rapidly as possible or have your staff respond in lieu of you. Whether it’s trying to set up an appointment or calling about a medical question, make it a priority to respond to your patients.
If any of these issues are affecting your practice, you may need to spend time focusing on that specific area and making improvements. Audit your front desk staff, your own attitude towards patients, and the patient’s overall experience from start to finish. Aesthetic medicine is a service, not just a product. You must treat your patients, clients, and referrals, as a priority in order to keep them coming back.