Today’s aesthetic medical practice is a complex environment where workflow efficiencies are critical for consistent growth of practice revenue. This is particularly evident in the generation of prospective patient leads and retention of existing patient clients. The two are tied together and are a key source of revenue to your aesthetic practice and success. How do you generate and attract current leads to your practice? Do you advertise, promote through social media, promote events at your practice, send out mailers or email blasts, conduct phone campaigns, appear on local television shows? The cost of these activities is not just a monetary cost but also the cost of your time and your staff’s time.
The average cost of a qualified prospective patient is approximately $175.00 per lead[i] By contrast, the cost of a patient referral is $0 (zero). By adhering to time-tested guidelines in patient retention best practices, you can increase your patient retention rate as well as gain valuable new patient referrals from satisfied customers.
A common mistake is to not follow up with satisfied patients who are more than willing to refer friends and family to you if they have had a positive experience at your practice. I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t conduct some or all of the promotional activities listed above; I am recommending that you not overlook the least expensive and complimentary activity to your practice in generating patient referrals.
Following up with patients is fundamental to an aesthetic practice’s continued success. It begins with the initial appointment to a one year anniversary follow-up to a surgical procedure. The key to any follow-up is to make the process easy, painless, professional and memorable. Many practices have manual procedures in place for the staff to follow up to the initial appointment, to appointment reminders, pre and post-surgical communications, to mention a few. However, more and more aesthetic medical practices are engaging automated systems to follow up with their patients.
Patient engagement systems with automated workflow follow-up systems have been available for a few years and pay for themselves just from the time saved because staff does not have to manually task in the follow-up process. A good automated follow-up system will not only generate an automated appointment reminder, it will also provide the patient with the practice/physician credentials, provide information on the procedure of interest, address and directions to the practice as well as automated confirmation of an appointment that ties into your scheduling system. These systems can be programmed to provide reminders via mail, email and phone messaging as frequently as you like. A good system will also generate a pre-op checklist for a surgical procedure along with a patient surgery appointment reminder and will remind the physician to call the patient for a surgery follow up call as well as generate a patient surgical follow-up appointment. These systems can also automatically generate patient birthday cards, highlight awards programs, promote practice events, automatically send post-surgical procedure patient surveys and are branded to your practice.
The benefits to your patient is an easy interface with your practice that provides automatic reminders and follow up as well as information on the procedure, practice, and cost. A happy client who has a positive and memorable experience in the interaction with your practice will be much more likely to refer a friend into your care. By simply raising the bar in your patient interaction process you will increase your referral business at no cost and have a follow-up system in place to ensure that referral prospect has the same experience.
__________________________ Tom Seery, Founder and CEO, RealSelf