Mobile phones offer us a wide range of opportunities when it comes to work and leisure. With the millions of apps available at our fingertips, we can play games, track our health and fitness, watch films, check emails, talk to friends far and wide, take photos and much more.

With the ability to edit calendars, send messages, make calls and take payments, it can feel all too easy to manage many aspects of your aesthetic business from your device.

But while there are many opportunities, there are also many risks to doing this. There are two areas in particular to consider:

Let's take a look at the impact this may have on your client relationships...

If your patients become aware that you will pick up the phone whenever they call – day or night – they may start to do just that. You could find your phone ringing late at night or early in the morning for something that isn't an emergency. This level of accessibility could begin to overshadow your personal life and you may come to hate your phone! Think about your family and friends too – if you're always on your phone during your spare time, they may become annoyed at the constant distraction.

For some patients, an immediate response is important and messages over SMS or apps like WhatsApp reassure them that you are contactable at all times. However, sending messages like this can set an informal tone, especially if you use emojis and casual language. You should always be wary of using colloquialisms such as 'hun', 'love' or 'sweetie' and of using emojis in your messages so that you maintain the highly professional image you have worked so hard to achieve. Further to this, patients may use this communication method to inform you of any complications or complaints with their treatment experience. This is a risk - how you handle complaints should be professional at all times and engaging with serious matters over text could give people a false impression that you don't care enough or that you are not taking them seriously. It could also lead to a potential serious data breach...

What are the data protection issues around using a mobile phone?

You must be careful with any data that you keep on your phone. As per the new GDPR guidelines which came into force in May this year, it is entirely your responsibility to ensure your practice is compliant to avoid any huge fines. This means you should encrypt your phone so that it is virtually impenetrable to hackers - this is more than just a pin passcode to unlock it!

Consider the implications of having your device stolen. If you run your practice from it, all your contacts, appointments, sensitive client data, pay information and more will have just disappeared! Not only is this a huge breach of GDPR, but it will also affect your ability to run your practice professionally. Just think of a hacker or thief reading all of those patient texts and emails!

Think of all those apps you download and run from your device – are you opening yourself up to hackers? Recently the Conservative Party had a data breach due to a new app, and the mainstream news is currently full of warnings about increasing cyber-attacks.

So is using your mobile phone to this extent worth the risk for the sake of convenience? You have worked hard for your position as an esteemed aesthetic practitioner, so why not look as professional as possible? If you don't need a reception team in-clinic, consider installing a landline so that you can answer the phone in office hours, or perhaps outsource your phone calls to an exceptional team like we have here at Aesthetic Response. We relieve our clients of the burden of answering the phone by offering extended hours and a highly professional first, second, third impression! The minimum you should consider is to separate your personal mobile phone from your business - think about investing in a new one and only use it for work. This way you can add a layer of protection to your business whilst also allowing you to have more control over the hours that you are prepared to make yourself available.

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