An after-effect of the global pandemic is the realization that many things can be done virtually, including initial consultations for non-surgical aesthetic visits. Offering virtual consultations offers several advantages for both the practitioner and the patient, but it is not without its drawbacks. In this guide, we’ll unpack the pros and cons of virtual consultations for aesthetic practitioners, as well as ways to make the process more effective.
Pros of Virtual Consultations
Virtual consultations can be an efficient path to screen potential patients before scheduling an in-person visit. This approach can save practitioners time and resources, as they can quickly determine whether a person is a good candidate for the procedure they are considering. By having a brief discussion with the patient via video call, practitioners can get a better sense of their needs and goals, and make recommendations for treatment options.
Another advantage of virtual consultations is that they can help patients feel more comfortable and relaxed during the process. Some people may feel self-conscious during an in-person consultation, and this can make it difficult for them to communicate their concerns and desires. With a virtual consultation, nervous patients have the security of their own surroundings to bolster them and embolden them to ask more questions, helping them get to a place of readiness for a procedure. For these candidates, a virtual visit is ideal because it is much less intimidating.
Cons of Virtual Consultations
However, virtual consultations also have their drawbacks. One potential issue is that they may lead to even more administrative time spent on prospects that are not serious about following through. Since virtual consultations are easier to access and require less commitment than in-person visits, some people may be tempted to book a consultation without any intention of booking a procedure. This can be frustrating for practitioners and staff members who invest time and resources into the consultation process.
Another potential downside is that virtual consultations may not be as effective as in-person visits for certain types of procedures. For example, non-surgical practitioners may need to physically examine the patient’s skin or body to determine the best treatment options, and this is not always possible during a virtual consultation.
Making Virtual Consultations Work
If you are a non-surgical aesthetic practitioner considering offering virtual consultations, there are steps you can take to make the process more effective.
One key strategy is to require certain forms and information from prospective patients before agreeing to a virtual consultation. This can include a medical history questionnaire, photos of the area to be treated, and a commitment to attend an in-person visit if they decide to move forward with the procedure. This can help ensure that only serious prospects are using up your time and resources.
Another strategy is to set clear expectations for the virtual consultation process. Make it clear what the consultation will entail, what types of procedures can be discussed, and what the next steps will be if the patient decides to move forward. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings.
Finally, be sure to use a secure video conferencing platform that protects patient privacy and confidential information. This can help build trust with your patients and ensure that their sensitive information is not compromised. There are many HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platforms available.
Follow-up is a critical aspect of the initial consultation. Following up with your patients after a virtual consultation can help you continue the rapport you build with them. One way to make follow-up after a virtual visit more efficient is to pre-write follow-up email sequences that you can use for different types of patients. For example, you could have a follow-up sequence for patients who have expressed interest in a specific treatment, or for patients who have questions about the cost of a particular procedure. Definitely include personalization in these follow-up sequences, but you shouldn’t have to start from scratch every time.
Pre-writing these sequences can save you time and ensure that you are providing a consistent message to your patients. You can use an email marketing platform to set up automated follow-up sequences that will go out to patients at a predetermined time after their virtual consultation.
Overall, the key to making follow-up more efficient is to be proactive and use the tools available to you. By doing so, you can ensure that you are providing the best possible experience for your patients and building a relationship with them that will last beyond their initial virtual consultation.
Virtual consultations can be a great way for practitioners to screen potential clients and provide a more comfortable consultation experience.
By taking steps to ensure that only serious prospects are participating in the consultation process, and by setting clear expectations and using secure technology, practitioners can make virtual consultations a valuable addition to their practice.