In this episode, I’m going to talk about why patient retention should be your #1 Focus, expanded upon in my Cosmetic Patient Retention Guide for 2022, because would you rather have a patient one time or for a lifetime?
The real money and leverage is in the lifetime cosmetic patient since you spent a lot of money attracting them to you, so they are pure profit from then on.
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Cosmetic patient retention, outlined in my Cosmetic Patient Retention Guide, comes down to a few specific elements that make all the difference.
Those are: providing a WOW experience, staying top-of-mind, and building a relationship that establishes you as trusting, reliable and likable.
Here’s how to 10X the Value of Loyal Cosmetic Patients:
Beyond the revenue generated by repeat cosmetic patients, there are social benefits to having a loyal following. The first of which is the power of your practice evangelists who return, review, refer, approve their before/after photos to be shown to the public, videotape a testimonial, and share you on social media.
This is the main reason why a focus on cosmetic patient retention can create your unpaid marketing sales team by boosting your revenues significantly so a cosmetic patient who was worth $1K to you is now worth $10K to you when you have a retention/loyalty system in place.
And Let’s talk about Word of Mouth Referrals from these loyal patients.
It only makes sense that cosmetic patients have to remember your brand in order to promote it. On top of that, if they have a WOW experience, they are much more likely to buy from you, and to refer their friends and family.
There are various studies that show that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most valuable forms of marketing.
Why is that? Because 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over other types of advertising.
Once consumers get a recommendation from someone they trust, they are far more likely to become loyal cosmetic patients.
Once a cosmetic patient is loyal to your practice, they are more likely to spend more as well. The lifetime value of referred cosmetic patients is 16% higher than non-referred cosmetic patients.
How the referral occurred makes a difference too. A Harris Poll found that 82% of consumers said they seek recommendations from friends and family, and 67% said they are more likely to purchase when a friend or family member shared it through social media or email.
Social media influencers are a good form of word-of-mouth marketing as well. Though influencers may not be family and friends, they offer valuable and somewhat unbiased opinions that their followers trust, and that can influence their buying decisions.
However, the quality of your customer service is measured by the kind of relationship you establish with your cosmetic patients, and that relationship will determine how invested they are in your success.
Revenues from happy cosmetic patients, as well as word- of-mouth recommendations, have the power to become a huge portion of your annual revenues, dramatically reducing your cosmetic patient acquisition costs and increasing your revenues.
Here are the Common Barriers to Patient Retention.
Due to the profit maximizers and social benefits of cosmetic patient retention, it is important to understand exactly why cosmetic patients quit your practice.
That understanding comes from learning about cosmetic patient preferences, and the factors that cause them to churn.
Churn, or attrition, is one of the most devastating factors affecting profitability because you lose the investment it took to attract each cosmetic patient in the first place, in addition to the loss of potential future revenues and referrals.
Even a 5% monthly churn rate means a 60% loss of cosmetic patients over the course of one year. That statistic alone is scary enough, but on average, an individual will tell nine people about good experiences and 16 people about poor experiences.
Imagine if 60% of your cosmetic patients were telling 16 of their friends about bad service they had received with you.
The numbers add up quickly and it’s clear to see why it’s so important to learn why patients churn and how to minimize it.
So, when it comes to attrition prevention, the effect of patient relationships is truly astounding. Research has shown that improving the cosmetic patient experience helps increase loyalty and drives growth.
Relationship building encompasses different things, but the most important aspect is the cosmetic patient’s perception of their own importance to your practice.
They want exceptional cosmetic patient service, appreciation, and a personal touch that helps them connect on a deeper level than your average practice interaction.
Have you ever been a “regular” at a restaurant, brewery, or coffee shop? When someone goes into a practice and they know them by name, that can go a long way in making them feel special and will certainly make them want to come back.
Because here’s the thing…
Emotions drive patient decisions, and those emotions are strongly affected by their personal interactions with a practice.
When cosmetic patients are ready for more cosmetic rejuvenation, what will make them return to you instead of your competitors?
Being memorable and a creative loyalty program can go a long way in turning a one-time cosmetic patient into a lifelong cosmetic patient.
Neglecting the relationship, however, or failing to keep in touch, can almost guarantee that patient will shop around and wander off to your competitors.
The plastic surgery industry only sees cosmetic patients a few times a year (or even every few years) so you are especially susceptible to passive churn because cosmetic patients may simply forget about their previous positive experiences.
By connecting with them on a personal level, a consistent relationship serves as a foundation for staying top of mind anytime they need cosmetic rejuvenation.
However, when we talk about loyalty, we need to talk about Customer Service because they work hand in hand.
Bad customer service is the No. 1 problem leading to dissatisfaction and attrition. A consumer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service related rather than price or procedure related.
This tells you that cosmetic patients care more about the social aspect of a practice than they do the personal cost, or even the quality of their procedure.
So consumers are now prioritizing quality of interaction over personal gain and they feel emotionally invested in their buying decisions.
While this provides an opportunity for practices to foster connections, it can also be a double-edged sword. If cosmetic patients feel ignored, mistreated, or generally dissatisfied,
they are considerably more likely to take their business elsewhere, regardless of the quality of the service.
So, what else is causing cosmetic patients to leave one practice for another? ……
Here it is….Retention Isn’t a Practice Priority.
Most cosmetic practices have a greater focus on cosmetic patient leads, and only a few focus on retention.
The shiny new object in our industry is the new cosmetic patient. Gaining a new cosmetic patient is exciting. It’s proof that your marketing efforts are working and, of course, there’re new revenues.
But when all of the focus is put on cosmetic patient acquisition, it leaves existing cosmetic patients feeling like they were left out in the cold.
Practices often tend to treat new cosmetic patients better as well by offering a welcome discount, a free gift with their first purchase, etc., with the hope that putting in a lot of effort at the beginning will be enough to maintain them as long-term cosmetic patients.
When you change this mindset from short-sighted acquisition that is focused on the one-time procedure to cosmetic patient retention that measures the cosmetic patients’ lifetime value and potential profit as a whole, you win the long game.
So, How Can You Improve Cosmetic Patient Retention?
I read an article where the author compares marketing to pushing a boulder uphill — you can either do it yourself, or you can recruit an army of enthusiastic cosmetic patients to help you push your practice to the top for you.
The boulder metaphor is a great example because it really embodies the physical and emotional struggle of sales and marketing, which can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.
It also shows how a strong relationship with cosmetic patients can become a revenue lifeline through retention, referrals and social proof.
You turn your existing patient list into your network and keep in touch so they remember you when talking to friends.
There is no simple equation for making cosmetic patients stay, but there are several strategies practices can focus on in order to minimize their attrition rates, increase their retention value, and boost referrals.
For example, you can play on patients’ inherent desire for reciprocity similar to a free mint with your check at a restaurant that was found to increase tips by up to 20%.
Whether it be through thoughtful gestures (like free gifts) or exceptional cosmetic patient service, the point is that people love to be appreciated, and they feel obligated to return the favor.
So, knowing this, rather than having a goal of making money, go into every transaction wondering what you can do to improve that cosmetic patient’s life, change their day, or make something easier for them.
This is one of the key ways to ensure that cosmetic patient service goes beyond the first visit, and it also improves your chances of transitioning prospects into cosmetic patients who return, refer, review and share you on social media.
And be sure you are Communicating With Your ExistingPatients…
Texting or calling a friend is one of the easiest ways to maintain your relationship with them, no matter what’s being said. It’s a way of showing them that you care and want to hear how they are doing.
As a practice, it’s obviously not efficient to have a phone conversation with each of your cosmetic patients but communicating with them somehow will show them that they mean something to you.
Regardless of the mode of communication (in-house signage, social media, email, texting, in person) there are two important things to remember: make it meaningful and do it consistently.
It’s the consistency that builds trust and indicates to your patients you care and are a premier practice.
Regarding marketing –
There are many marketing channels to choose from to communicate with your patients, so which one is the best?
The answer is, the one your patients pay attention to.
The challenge with that is you will run out of time, money, and energy trying to be everywhere your patients are.
So it’s best to use a strategic marketing plan that incorporates all main channels such as email, text, social media, your website and in-house signage.
So where does discounting fit in?
My answer is, it doesn’t.
It’s time to Change Your Message Away from Discounting.
When you do communicate with your patients, what do you normally say? Because you want more business now, it’s common to announce special offers to get a response.
But when you continue to lead with special offers, the response dwindles because your patients know they can “get a deal” anytime.
Discounting your services is a race to the bottom. It hurts your brand, attracts price-shoppers, and eats up your profits.
A better approach is to offer patients something of value that doesn’t hurt your profits but makes them feel acknowledged and appreciated.
And that’s where a proven loyalty program comes in.
Since the cost of getting a new patient is 7X more than keeping an existing patient, nurturing existing patients with a loyalty program is a powerful strategy that grows your practice revenues.
To ensure the best results, choose a loyalty program that includes the following features:
Exclusivity – Patients can only get rewards from YOU. This locks out your competitors by putting golden handcuffs on your loyal patients.
It’s got to be Easy so patients understand the rules and staff can easily use it and…
It has to be Fun – Patients love getting to the next tier while growing your practice for you
The marketing has to Done-for-You – This saves you time and ensures consistent communication with your existing patients and lastly,
The reporting has to show detailed monthly stats of your results and profits
So, in Conclusion..
- There are three foundational elements to a successful cosmetic patient retention strategy: creating and establishing relationships, a WOW patient experience, and consistent communication.
- Cosmetic patient retention efforts, as discussed in my Cosmetic Patient Retention Guide, can be maximized by using multichannel campaigns: email, text, social media, signage and in-person.
- The right loyalty program, executed consistently, can 10X revenues while decreasing
advertising costs and eliminating discounting.
46% of patients spend more after they join a loyalty program.
83% of patients say a loyalty program will keep them coming back,
I want to introduce you to the KiSS Loyalty Club that is the key to building meaningful relationships that go beyond the practice transaction.
It’s done for you software and marketing solution that includes multichannel marketing which is the best way to achieve retention, by providing cosmetic patients with a consistent and friendly way to connect with practices on a regular basis.
The KiSS Loyalty Club practices we work with have found tremendous success in increasing their # of visits, revenues, new patients, retention, referrals, reviews, social proof and social media and, as a result, the overall lifetime value of their patients.
It also provides practices with a tremendous opportunity to build their brand, increase cosmetic patient satisfaction, and distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
If your practice wants to cut through the marketing and advertising noise that is being thrown at consumers every day, let’s talk to see if you are a good fit for the KiSS Loyalty club.
My team handles all of the design, copy, technology, strategy, props, training, support and reporting since we have tested it and know what it takes to be successful.
Your practice can see a 10X increase in cosmetic revenues and patient lifetime value with the KiSS Club developing lasting relationships with your existing patients…on autopilot.
Go to www.KissLoyaltyClub.com to schedule a demo today.
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👁 DON’T MISS THESE INTERVIEWS 👁
➡️ Robert Singer, MD FACS – Former President of The Aesthetic Society: https://www.catherinemaley.com/podcast/ep-86-robert-singer-md-former-president-of-the-aesthetic-society
➡️ Grant Stevens, MD FACS – Former ASAPS President: https://www.catherinemaley.com/blog/ep-44-covid-19-update-with-asaps-past-president-dr-grant-stevens
➡️ E. Gaylon McCollough, MD FACS – Former President of AAFPRS, ABFPRS, AACS: https://www.catherinemaley.com/podcast/ep-88-e-gaylon-mccollough-md-facs-past-president-abfprs-aacs
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