As someone who has once successfully underwent a cosmetic surgery procedure, be it invasive or not, feeling bonded to the cosmetic surgeon is important. If you managed to build rapport with the patient, then it's absolutely imperative to maintain that relationship and go beyond it. As a surgeon, consider your cosmetic patient as someone dear to you; envision him/her as more than a patient. First of all, the patient has a heart, has feelings and building a solid bridge between you and him is a must for a long term relationship.
Why patients don't come back to you?
The main reason why some patients don't return is not that they had a bad outcome or they were unhappy. When I interviewed them for my book, I discovered that they leave because of your indifference. If you ignore your patients, they will search for other plastic surgeons. Your patients want to be treated as people first. So, take your time or ask someone from your staff to keep in touch with them. They want to know what is new in the world of cosmetic enhancement, with you and with your practice, so stay in touch.
The goldmine from your cosmetic surgery practice
Did you know that you have a gold mine in your own office? I am sure that all your patients' contact details were added into a database for certain purposes, including marketing maybe? Do you realize that this is one of your main assets? Your past and present cosmetic surgery patients brought you a great deal of your profits; they are the reason of your good reputation. But do you know how to explore this fantastic goldmine?
In this tough economic climate, marketing your practice has become a necessity more than ever and why not use what you already have? Maintaining rapport with your existing cosmetic patients is the key. Repeat contact with fewer aesthetic patients rather than just with dozens of total strangers.
This is not the time to spend your money on a new advertising campaign. Attracting new leads to your practice might not be the best solution. You will need a very well focused campaign to bring only the qualified prospects. So, it's the moment to concentrate on those who already know you since they are more apt to respond to your promotional efforts. Use evidence based patient marketing tools to wake up your sleeping patients and get them visiting and referring.
Proven strategies to keep in touch with your cosmetic surgery patients
From our experience, we would like to share with you a few of the best practices we've tried ourselves. There are many methods to maintain a close relationship with your patients and we do not intend to cover all possibilities. Today we will focus on the "keep in touch" strategies that can increase the number of surgical procedures.
Keep in touch online
The more you can bond with the patients virtually, the more likely they are to visit you. So, keep in touch with monthly messages and periodic offers so when they are ready for aesthetic enhancement, they turn to you since you've been such a great resource to them.
A few online tools to stay in touch with your existing patients are:
- teach your staff to always require the patients' email address and add it into your database
- be sure to get the patient's agreement to send him/her emails
- use it to send feedback anytime a patient requires an answer from you by email
- send invitation to events by email
- send birthday cards with special gift offer
- send an email of appreciation for multiple referrals
- is something very common to a web savvy patient
- it requires the patient's self will to register, so it is not spam
- it can be used as a method to educate your own patients about the new trends in cosmetic surgery, about the new technology you use or others
- have appealing articles written on your blog
- engage your patients to provide feedback on their cosmetic surgery procedure
- initiate contests on your blog, such as: sharing your cosmetic surgery experience will bring you more cosmetic enhancement
- ask for testimonials from your patients
- provide incentives for your cosmetic surgery patients
- provide online patient education that needs registering
Keep in touch by phone
First of all, you should find a good reason why to call. Nobody wants to receive an annoying call that smells like a sale. Here are a few occasions when calling would be more appropriate:
- to thank them for a referral
- to invite them to an open office day or to any other special events you organize
- to ask them how they feel a few weeks after they went home following the procedure
- to ask for permission to send them a promotional gift
Keep in touch by direct mail
Mail is another method to keep in touch with your cosmetic surgery patients and send them regular information with little costs. By mail you can send:
- personal notes with your hand written signature
- promotional fliers
- little gifts
- letters of invitation
- thank you letters
Keep in touch by organizing events
You can hold an annual patient appreciation day for your patients and their family and friends. Make it an event by serving wine and hors d'oeuvres and have drawings for free and discounted services.
And a final tip to hold on to your patients
Sometimes, keeping in touch with cosmetic surgery patients can be difficult if you don't have a sound reason. That is why it is recommended to make notes of your patients' important interests so that you recall them later. A physician told me that he always kept a note of the last thing a patient said when he left the office. So, during the next visit, commenting on that last topic helped them develop rapport and a sense of continuity in his doctor-patient relationship.