I have just been to the 2017 BAAPS Conference (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) held at Kensington Olympia every year.
I was lucky enough to be on the faculty and was presenting about my experience of running my own clinic.
It is interesting talking to friends and colleagues because they like to talk about Google AdWords or Internet Marketing. Whilst I talk about the coffee in my waiting room and sending out text reminders for appointments.
I am happy to talk about the more advanced stuff, but I do not think most doctors need to worry about this.
There were some good talks on PR, managing your online reputation and using social media, but I think a lot of this is people trying to run before they can walk and spending time on the drive rather than worrying about the putt.
“You Drive For Show, But You Putt For Dough”
My talk was a lot more basic and revolved around the steps that I have put in place in my clinic and the message is very simple:
design processes around every step of the patient’s experience and make sure that you follow-up.
You can get a copy of the 5 steps that I have built my practice on below:
In fact, I would go further because I think if doctors are spending time, money and energy trying to promote their practice but have not got robust systems to deal with patients who are already in their practice, then they are wasting their time.
If you have not got a robust system for dealing with enquiries as well as a process for following up on those enquiries, then there is no point in trying to encourage more people to enquire.
You should be sending out information demonstrating your values and ethics and explaining to patients what sets you apart from others providing a similar service.
These systems are very basic but, you need to spend time and careful thought to discover what your values are and then communicate these to potential patients .
The problem with most doctors is that we are so terrified of looking like we are using hard-sell tactics that we tend to ignore patients altogether.
How many patients have made an enquiry through your website but have not heard from you following your initial response?
In fact, I have performed ‘mystery shopping’ of many doctor’s practices and there are a huge proportion of us who do not respond to enquiries at all and so this in itself needs to be looked at and processes put in place to ensure that these are not missed.
If you have not followed up on your initial response you are ignoring patients who have asked you for help.
You have to realise that most patients make enquiries to several practitioners at the same time they are enquiring to you.
It may be that your email gets lost in the sea of emails that we all get.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending another email a few days later saying:
I hope you got my email, here are some further details about me and my training
…here is some more information that other patients have found helpful who are considering the same procedure.
Similarly, after people have been to the clinic, do you follow-up with them?
How about sending an email saying:
I hope you got the quote we sent to you, it was nice to see you in the clinic and I hope I answered all your questions. If you have any more questions I would be very happy for you to contact me directly, or you can visit me on my social channels.
It is all about follow-up
- before patients come to clinic
- after they have been to clinic
- and after they have had the procedure
Follow-up, keep in touch and show that you care.
Forget marketing, PR or any other fancy and expensive techniques you might hear about.
Get the basics right first before you start worrying about trying to get more patients to know about you.