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9 Tips on How to Improve Your Communication with Patients. From a Patient Communications Expert

Communication drives sales and this is no secret, also when it comes to the world of Aesthetic Medicine. Health-related issues, however, tend to be particularly sensitive areas and the communication with the potential patient should be handled with care. In this article, you will find a range of tips we have gathered after years of interacting with clients, which will help you make your communication with the patient a smooth process resulting in a booking. Keep reading!
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1. Never ignore a missed call

Working in an Aesthetic Medicine Clinic can sometimes become a bit chaotic. A patient waiting for the treatment, someone running late, someone else coming too early or with their company – we understand that answering the phone is not always your priority. However, it is important to remember that there is a potential patient on the line. Your caller may choose the competition if they feel that your clinic is not the place that can provide the best service from the first phone call. Are you struggling to manage communication? If so, you might want to consider hiring a receptionist or cooperate with a booking management system like InDesk that will take care of phone calls for you. (If you want to know more about how important is the phone to your aesthetic clinic, read our article.)

In the foreground is the telephone. You can see an incoming call on the screen. In the background, a medical aesthetic practitioner is treating a patient.

2. Implement active listening

To listen actively is to show the person you are speaking to respect and acceptance. It increases confidence in the caller and makes the person more willing to communicate with you in the future. To bring out these feelings in the potential patient, let them know that you are listening and that you know what they mean by using short, positive words and phrases like “okay”, “yes” or “I understand”. You can also paraphrase their words to make sure everything is clear. However, do this at the right time and without interrupting the speaker.

3. Be curious about your patient

Every patient has different expectations concerning the final result, and one of your tasks is to learn about them. If a person calls your clinic asking for dermal fillers, it is not certain that it will be the best solution in their case. Make sure you understand your patient's needs and only then suggest a suitable solution. Another good idea is to ask open-ended questions, as these allow the patient to explain their expectations in more detail. Here you can learn more about why patients do not feel cared for.

The woman smiles and I point with a finger at the three phrases. "Ask open-ended questions", "Understand your patient's needs", "Suggest a suitable solution".

4. Speak clearly and respectfully

Medical jargon may make you sound like a specialist, but it can also hinder communication with a person from outside the profession. So try to use simple, understandable terms or explain what the names of specific treatments or substances mean on the spot. Additionally, keep a calm, cheerful tone to show that your clinic is a trustworthy and friendly place. This way, the main purpose of the call will be fulfilled – the caller will definitely be provided with a valuable and informative conversation.  

5. Prepare a list of Frequently Asked Questions

If a potential patient is contacting your clinic for the first time and has not been exposed to the world of Aesthetic Medicine before, they may feel a bit overwhelmed and not know what questions to ask. It is the job of the staff receiving the call to steer the conversation in such a way that even questions that have not been voiced are answered. Preparing a list with FAQs is a good idea to get the most out of the consultation and avoid a series of phone calls or messages when a potential patient has a new concern.

The photo shows a close-up shot of a wooden table on which three pieces of paper are lying. Each piece has one word printed on it. Starting from the top, the words read: "Frequently", "Asked", "Question".

6. Be patient and respect patients’ time

The decision to change one's appearance is very serious for many people, it requires a lot of deliberation and sometimes involves a certain amount of tension. It is vital not to add to this emotional mix the sense that a member of staff does not want to take the time to talk to the patient. Therefore, all questions should be answered with patience and kindness, even those to which the answer may seem obvious. At the same time, it is a good idea to prepare informational materials related to specific treatments and offer to send them by e-mail. Some issues will be resolved, and the patient can ask about the remaining ones during the next consultation.

7. Remember that people might forget

We are not machines, and not everyone is in the habit of putting things into a calendar. To avoid patients missing appointments because they simply forgot, make sure they receive a reminder message through their chosen communication route. A system like this can save a lot of stress for both clinic staff and the patient, and make the facility run more smoothly. Here you can learn more about how to prioritise tasks and how to manage your time effectively.

The photo shows a person holding a phone in their hands. The phone's screen says "Your Message is sent".

8. Follow up

Contact with the patient does not end when he or she leaves the clinic after a completed procedure. Some treatments are not particularly invasive, and the end results can be visible almost immediately, while other procedures take some time before the patient recovers. It is especially important to check in with the patient afterwards to make sure that the healing process is going well and that there are no complications. During this conversation, you can also remind them about leaving reviews, which have a great influence on other potential patients. Check these articles to learn more about how to manage reviews: "Got a Negative Review for Your Aesthetic Clinic? 7 Tips from a Clinic Expert" and "Top 4 Review Websites Every Aesthetic Practitioner Needs to Know".

9. Leave it to the InDesk experts

Who would have thought that effective and valuable communication requires so much work? Our dedicated agents at InDesk, the new patient bookings management system, know this very well. If you feel overwhelmed by constant calls and messages, want to focus on other responsibilities while working, and on your relationships and leisure after hours, InDesk is for you. Our specialist agents will take care of communicating with potential patients, scheduling and rescheduling appointments, following up with them, and gaining their feedback to help your clinic grow at all levels. Get your private life back and gain more bookings with InDesk.

The photo shows a woman with a headset on her head. The woman is smiling while talking.

Which of the above tips will you follow first? Let us know!

Sources
Maria Kamińska
Maria is a copywriter and a student of Applied Linguistics. She puts the knowledge of the team working at WhatClinic and InDesk into words to convey it to the audience in an approachable way. She is passionate about foreign languages, especially English, German, and Spanish. In her free time, she meets with family and friends, drinks good coffee or… writes.

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