- Poor customer service. Never forget your patients are electing to pay a significant amount of money out-of-pocket for your services. They need – and deserve – to feel appreciated for choosing your practice. Every patient walking through your door should be treated with the 5-star experience they expect.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Once a patient walks out your door, it is easy for them to get caught up in their lives and forget you. Marketing is key to keeping you top of mind. Email marketing and social media communications play just as big of a role in keeping your practice on an existing patient’s radar as it does for bringing new patients into your practice.
- Budgetary concerns. Regardless of the patient’s desire to proceed with treatment, there can be underlying stress related to affordability. This is why providing patient financing information is key, whether you think they need it or not.
- Timing is everything. Everyone’s time is precious, including your patients. Don’t be late. While a few minutes is acceptable, longer delays on a consistent basis indicate you need to evaluate your scheduling processes to determine if you are leaving enough time for consults and procedures.
- Side effects. Make sure you explain all possible side effects to your patients during the initial consult, and make sure you have their undivided attention. Print out a one-sheet for them to take home and review. Then, have them sign it and add it into their chart.
- Missed expectations. Whether the patient feels their skin doesn’t look like their favorite celebrity’s, or they don’t notice a difference from their neurotoxin or surgical results, there are steps you can take to decrease the instances of disappointment with outcomes.
- Price discrepancies. If your patient says they were quoted a different price than they are being charged, be honest and explore why. First, is this the case, or was there a miscommunication? Is the quote past the expiration date you had printed on the paper, are they not remembering the price, or did the surgery center raise their rates (we recently had a client who needed to explore an alternate surgery center when this continued to happen. As a practice, you have choices!)? Did you collectively decide, with the patient, to add liposuction to a tummy tuck case, thus raising the overall rate? Answer all questions the patient has and review the quote item by item.
- They show signs of body dysmorphia during their initial consults, pointing out flaws that are not obvious to the naked eye.
- They continue to leave poor online patient reviews for other practices or are already in a current lawsuit against another physician.
- They insist that no procedure you suggest will work for them. If they are scared of needles, lasers and surgery, but want a skincare product to achieve the same results as a facelift, this is not a patient you can please.
- They are constantly in a hurry and not listening to your precautions. This patient isn’t going to follow your post-procedure instructions and will end up angry.
- They arrive at their appointment under the influence. And finally, it is important to remember that not every consult has to turn into a patient. It is okay to let a patient know that you don’t believe you will be able to provide them with the results they are looking for.
Mara Shorr, B.S., CAC
Ms. Shorr serves as a partner, as well as the vice president of marketing and business development for Shorr Solutions, assisting medical practices with the operational, financial and administrative health of their business. She is a Certified Aesthetic Consultant and program advisor, utilizing her knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their full potential. A national speaker and writer, she can be contacted at [email protected].
Jay A. Shorr B.A., M.B.M.-C., CAC
Mr. Shorr is the founder and managing partner of Shorr Solutions. He is also a professional motivational speaker, an advisor to the Certified Aesthetic Consultant program and a certified medical business manager from Florida Atlantic University. He can be reached at [email protected].