What do patients really want when they come to your MedSpa?
Have you ever sat back and wondered why your patients aren’t returning? Medical aesthetics can be very challenging at times because it involves a great deal of customer service as well as practicing medicine to the technical standard set within the industry.
Medical Providers Predominately Value Technical Excellence
First off, to understand how patients think, we need to define the term, “QUALITY.” We all understand the term, right? Okay. Now…I want you to temporarily forget what you think you know about quality and start thinking about your patient’s PERCEPTION of quality. Those are often very different.
Consumer perceptions of service quality in health care are considered to be increasingly important for the following reasons:
- Quality represents a way to differentiate oneself from competition in a crowded market.
- Patients who rate services as being of higher quality tend to be more satisfied, more likely to return again in the future, and more likely to comply with medical advice.
- Patients who rate services as being of higher quality are more likely to recommend a health care provider.
Do you know what your patients are saying about your and your MedSpa? Does your MedSpa have a protocol for patient reviews? If you have happy patients, they will leave you positive reviews!
There are 2 distinct forms of quality: technical quality (TQ) and functional quality.
Technical Quality is “the degree to which the industry is able to do things ‘right,’ as measured against a technical industry standard.” If you are an aesthetic injector, it is your job to ensure all protocols are being followed, you are continuing your training and education as new techniques and advancements happen, that you are an expert with the anatomy and you follow all HIPPA,OSHA and Bloodborne pathogens guideline while beautifying your patient. There are many processes that relate to technical quality and that reflect on your license as a medical professional. However, here’s the interesting part…
In most service industries, the “insider” knowledge of the process and standards is not well known outside of that field. This means that most patients are unlikely to have the knowledge to judge the technical quality of your service when they come in and see you. So while technical quality is very important, patients don’t necessarily appreciate it or understand the details like we do.
So what about Functional Quality? Functional quality is defined as the manner in which services are delivered to patients and represents how the patient perceived the human interactions that occurred during the process. Functional quality is “the WAY and HOW the service is delivered” rather than the service itself.
Technical Quality = The results themselves (not emotional)
Functional Quality= Opinion of how the results were delivered (emotional)
Dr. Fiala says that healthcare providers, by their very nature, often tend to feel that it is their technical skills that ‘save the day’ thereby making the patients happy. Being technical and ensuring your patients achieve optimal and safe results is very important of course, But a lot of providers don’t think about their patient’s PERCEPTION and OPINION of their quality of service.
Patients Value Functional Quality Most Highly When Rating Their Health Care Experience.
Did you know? When patients talk about their experience, they tend to pay the most attention to things like:
- Was parking cumbersome or effortless?
- Did they have trouble finding your location?
- Did the receptionist greet them cheerfully?
- How long did they have to wait to see the provider?
- Was the provider nice to their staff?
- and so on…
So, how do we gather info so we can improve in order to make sure patients are leaving the medspa happy?
The most important factors to pay attention to are:
- Tangibles: the appearance of the physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials (the overall aesthetics of the medspa)
- Reliability: the ability to deliver the service dependably and accurately
- Responsiveness: the willingness to help patients and provide prompt service
- Assurance: the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence (patient education is huge here)
- Empathy: the caring, individualized attention the organization provides to its patients (LISTENING IS HUGE HERE) – How long are your consults? Are you rushed? Patients can FEEL this!
In a nation-wide survey, they’ve found that staff sensitivity to patient needs and the response to patient concerns or complaints were the top priorities of patients. For medspas, 3 critical things to pay attention to are:
- Appearance of your medspa, equipment, personnel and communication materials.
- Responsiveness: the willingness to help patients and provide prompt service
- Empathy: the caring, individualized attention the organization provides to its patients
Let’s put it all together. Patients highest priorities are related to effective communication, their emotional needs, and service recovery. We’ve created the following list of things you can do today that will help you create an amazing experience for your patients.
- Optimize your website so it’s easy for patients to get their needs met.
- Make it easy for patients to book with you.
Can patients book an appointment with you from your website? Or do they have to call your office and speak to your staff first? Some people don’t want to have to call your office to make an appointment. We live in an instant gratification society and many want to book appointments directly from their phone, without confusion on which service to book. Simplify your booking process so that a person who has never been to a medspa before wouldn’t have any troubles booking an appointment.
If patients can book an appointment from your website, is the appointment button easy to find? If so, how many pages do they have to click through to finally book with you?
Is it easy for them to find which service they are looking for? Do you provide enough information about the service that answers their questions for you?
Do you have an automated text message or email that gets sent to patients that confirms their appointment date? Does your system text them appointment reminders, pre-care instructions and post-care instructions? Is it easy and fast for them to complete consent forms and medical history forms?
Do you have an automated system or do you have staff that follows up with patients weeks or months later to ask them how things are going?
Do you book follow up appointments for all new patients? This lets patients know you care about them and makes them feel like they are important and not just another number. This follow up process can also help you solve any issues they may have because it opens the lines of communication. This is all about building trust and improving your relationships. It shows that you’re organized and can lead to better experiences, more positive reviews and turn patients into lifelong customers.
Patient experience is everything! You’ve heard that perception is reality, right? This has never been more accurate. If your medspa patients believe they’ve had an excellent experience with you, they will be much more likely to return to your business sooner. Your patients will be willing to spend more money with you and they’ll tell everyone they know how awesome you are. And this is what will help you and your medspa make more money and become more profitable year after year.
Take these tips we’ve discussed and start applying them to your medspa business today and start watching it grow! We hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
If you want to learn more about medspa marketing, please feel free to contact us. We love helping people like you grow their medspa practice by getting more patients and converting leads into profit, not just appointments. You can book a call with us by clicking here. Have a great day.
Thomas G. Fiala, MD, FACS, FRCS(C). “What Do Patients Want? Technical Quality Versus Functional Quality: A Literature Review for Plastic Surgeons”, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2012, pp. 751-759.