June 11, 2012
Link Between Staff Communication with Patients and Your Profits
Updated November 7, 2014
Any relationship needs nurturing and attention; your physician-patient relationship is no different. But how about the relationship that your patients have with your staff? Not only do they represent you, the doctor, they can be instrumental to selling your services to existing patients...and new ones as well.
Make That Human Connection
Think of patients in more "human" terms and you'll see what we mean. I know that may sound silly, but after awhile, staff (and even physicians) can get into that "next, please" way of thinking.
Instead, imagine your patients as moms, wives, sisters, etc. and try to empathize with their concerns as well as their need for friendly attention and support.
Each interaction your staff has with someone on the phone, by email, or through your social media profiles is an opportunity for a connection to be made.
Not just a one-time connection, either. A real, and if you do it right, a lasting connection that will last for many years to come.
With so many options to choose from, patients can be extremely fickle and very easily hop from one doctor's practice to the next. This can be attributed to the massive amount of information available to patients online.
From the moment your staff answers the phone, that fickle snowball can start rolling. This is why it's so important for staff to be properly trained in how to deal with patients of all kinds no matter how they are communicating with them.
How to Use Your Staff to Promote Your Aesthetic Services
But why is it so imperative that your staff have a good relationship with your patients? Here are a few reasons that aesthetic patients and medical practice staff have shared with us:
- When staff are educated enough to answer most of their non-medical questions, they feel more comfortable booking a procedure with you.
- When a bond is made between your staff and a patient, they are many times more likely to schedule a procedure with you.
- Your staff can be used to gather referrals if offered decent incentives.
- Staff will feel like a part of your practice's success (and like part of the "family") when asked to participate in referring patients to you and helping to grow your practice.
- Once rapport is built between your staff and patients, they will feel that a personal bond has been made; one that is reason enough to continue their loyalty by booking procedures and referring family/friends to you.
Here are a few methods to involve your staff in promoting your services:
Educate, Don't Sell Your Cosmetic Procedures
Expanding your methods of communication to patients is crucial to your practice's success. Not only can patients be even more fickle today with all of the information they can access, you also have to consider that your time is extremely valuable so don't spend it on patients who aren't serious.
Take the time to educate your staff so that they have the answers to the most commonly asked questions by prospective patients who call your office. Have a staff meeting to write down the questions and then provide the answers so that everyone is on the same page.
By having the knowledge necessary, your staff will naturally sell more procedures by building instant trust with patients!
Offer Staff Rewards
To make your staff feel like they are a part of the growth and success of your practice, offer them rewards for patient referrals as well as for booking procedures. You can offer them complimentary procedures or special non-surgical rewards such as a trip to Hawaii for the staff member who books the most procedures/refers the most patients in a 6 month time span.
Be creative and come up with something that rewards your practice and your staff!
Your Staff Should be Customer Service Super Stars
As someone who made a life out of managing customer service staff, I can absolutely say with confidence that your staff MUST have superior customer service skills. This means they know how to professionally answer the phone, how to write a professional email (with no spelling or grammar errors), how to follow-through 100% of the time, and how to properly resolve conflict.
Some physicians have one staff member in charge of the staff's customer service training while others choose to do this themselves. At any rate, have a plan and train your staff.
Give Your Staff Tools to Succeed
Many times, staff can feel uncomfortable with "upselling" to patients. However, they need to realize that selling is what your practice is all about. Train your staff on how to sell their kind and caring personalities to further patient confidence.
Have them practice role playing with real situations where they were unable to book a procedure with a patient and go over what they would do differently if given the chance. Also, help them to compile a list of patient objections and rebuttals to those objections to that they can overcome the obstacle of lacking confidence in selling your services.
Staff Awareness and Confidence
If your staff believe in you, they will be able to confidently convey that to your patients. They will have no trouble answering questions about your qualifications, track record, and patient satisfaction rates.
Then, when it comes to up-selling, it will be even easier for them to provide patients with real examples of patients of yours who are happy. Have a book of before/after photos and testimonials.
Some physicians spend a few dollars to have the pictures and the statement printed up on nice linen paper and framed...strategically placed in their exam rooms and price negotiation areas. It's easy to be creative while at the same time helping staff to contribute to your success!
Call us today for help with your aesthetic practice marketing at 951.665.8360.