To survive and thrive during and after COVID-19, change is imperative, says Ricky Allen.
According to the late former President John F. Kennedy, ‘The Chinese use brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brushstroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger but recognise the opportunity.’
We are in a crisis situation which may well last for months, if not years. Continuing to run your clinic or medispa exactly the same way you did before the COVID-19 pandemic is a recipe for disaster. You must break your business down to different areas; each should be looked at and modified to meet the market now and in the foreseeable future.
Ramp up infection control
Every person who enters your facility will be germ-phobic. This is a normal byproduct of living through a pandemic. The rule is to treat all patients as if they were infected, making sure you keep yourself safe as well. No more magazines in waiting rooms, no fancy tea cups for drinks while waiting. If you want to provide any refreshments it should be bottled water where patients are given their own bottle.
Remember that when people are more anxious, they become more body sensitive so wear vinyl gloves not latex as latex allergies are already common during normal times. Make masks fun. Perhaps get special masks for all staff members that are fun ,pretty and look non-medical.
Ensure you have the right team
The next area to review is staffing. You need to look at each staff member and see if they still fit into your future. There has never been a more important time to work with an HR consultant who understands this incredibly unique industry. They will do all the hard work which you may not even realise needs to happen. They will marry the right person with your needs. In my clinic consulting experience, many times I have found that a clinic’s staff was the main reason for poor business growth. Once you do find the right staff, make sure you offer them ongoing education and bonus packages to encourage them to be part of your business growth.
Take your customer service to new heights
The next area is customer service. Make everyone who walks through your doors feel special. You are dealing with an anxious clientele and they will expect more. They will also complain more, so have a definite protocol for dealing with complaints.
Always check in on patients the day after their treatment. Really take the time to talk to your patients. Offer them more information, as the more knowledge you provide them the less anxious they will feel. Put together more discounted packages as patients will see this as a sign you care about them and their economic situation.
Modify your treatment offering
Firstly, look at the socio-demographics of the location where you practice. If it is in the city, you need to look at shorter treatment times and different opening hours so that patients can come before or after work. Now is a good time to look at the treatments and services you offer – perhaps offer allied treatments from dieticians, exercise specialists, natural health professionals, manicurists, etc. Offer treatments just for men.
It’s also a time to look at the equipment you have. Are you really using it to its full potential? Could you be using it on different age groups, different areas of the body and so on? Make sure all who enter are given information about your new services.
If you are in the suburbs then you can look at the whole family as your clientele. Skincare, makeup and baby massage lessons may be welcome additions. Offering evening educational events for new mums on relevant topics can also be beneficial in attaining and retaining a loyal patient following. Seizing new opportunities now is the key to your future success. AMP
Ricky Allen, Bsc Dip.PA. Dip.HM, is the Director of Aesthetic Reconstructions. She is experienced marketing and training consultant for aesthetic clinics and runs paramedical and advanced treatment courses for doctors, nurses and beauty therapists.