Feel like you’re standing still, even heading backwards?
It’s maybe time to take stock…
Feel like you’re standing still, even heading backwards? It’s maybe time to take stock…
Here we are, January, having had a rollercoaster ride for almost 3 years, and we’re needing to continue to be adaptable, to think on our feet and stay on our toes as we continue to learn to live in these uncertain times. We simply cannot afford to stand still or take anything for granted!
My sincere hope is that your appointment slots are fully booked at least two weeks in advance, and that you have a steady stream of good quality new enquiries. Also, assuming you work really hard on your client retention you’ll have plenty of ongoing treatments booked in, after all you’ve been keeping in touch with valued clients, reassuring them that you’re looking forward to seeing them for their next treatment, not taking it for granted that they’ll find their way back to you. What makes me say this? Because here at Aesthetic Response we’re seeing fall out from the current economic challenges.
After the surge in treatments following the pandemic, it maybe that your phones stopped ringing off the hook in the last few months of 2023, online bookings slowed and the pressure on your appointment slots eased, in fact more than eased – there may be an increasing number of gaps continuing to appear in your diary.
This may well be a good time to reassess your client base and to plan ahead. I’d suggest a review may include the following:
By pulling this information together you’re undertaking a really good health check for your practice, and this information will help you to forecast and plan ahead.
Let’s break some off these down and consider the relevance and importance of the information:
Number and type of new enquiries that you have received- Have you spoken to many new enquirers in the last few months? You can’t afford to miss new enquiries they’re the life blood of and clinic. Have you’ve been too busy to pick up the phone or respond to email and social media messages? Is your online booking system working well for you with new enquirers? If you’ve a concern you need to plug the gap quickly – if you’ve not the time to do this yourself you need help- any additional support should pay for itself once you ensure that you’re not missing any new opportunities.
What is the quality of your recent enquiries – are enquirers engaged? Are they shopping around? Are you having to work hard to get them booked in? Do you sense a shift in the nature of these calls? You may need to have a re-think about how you are going to engage with new enquirers to get them to book into your clinic rather than them going to a competitor.
New clients booked and treated: Of the new enquiries that you have received how many have gone on to book appointments? How many of those who have attended the clinic have you actually treated? Is your booking from initial enquiry to appointment attended the same as it was previously? If it has dropped moving forwards you will need to allow for the fact that you will need a higher number of new enquiries to compensate!
Existing client bookings: You ideally need to monitor the timing between visits – are clients leaving it longer between treatments? Are they eking out their botox and bottles of cosmeceuticles? Opting for botox and not bothering with their usual fillers? Answering these questions may help you to build a picture of how you are doing in the current climate.
Clients that have not yet returned: Have you stopped long enough over the last few weeks to consider any valued clients who have not returned over the last few months? I’m going to suggest that it’s incredibly important to take the time to do this, there are a number of reasons why clients may fall away, including the following: their financial situation may have changed, family circumstances, health, commuting habits, home-working, or they may simply have gone elsewhere.
Here at AR we’ve seen a number of callers who’ve moved clinics – some decisions based on price and others on convenience such as choosing a clinic local to home instead of the one near the office.
I’d suggest that you look at their records and consider what their value was as a regular client – then pick up the phone and try to re-engage them! Ask if they want to book and appointment and if not, why not? Have an enticing offer ready!
Average spend per head comparison: The reason I’d suggest that you look at your average spend is to see if it’s decreased. Decreased average spend means you’ll need more clients to make the same money – you’ll have to work harder, booking more appointments just to stand still. When spend increases you’re able to see fewer people, enabling you to take a little more time in the day for yourself. Are people spending in the same way on the same treatments as last year?
Reviewing your existing clients how does their current treatment plan value compare with previous ones? If this is up it is very positive however if spend is down you are going to need to attract more new clients to maintain your previous turnover– it’s really important to have a clear picture of where you’re tracking with this.
Treatment choices – when comparing year on year client treatment plans is there a shift?: Reviewing your existing clients how does their current treatment plan value compare with previous ones? If this is up it is very positive however if spend is down you are going to need to attract more new clients to maintain your previous turnover– it’s really important to have a clear picture of where you’re tracking with this.
Conclusion: How do you think you are going to fare when you run this health check on the business? You may be surprised at what it throws up.
Client retention is key here – you don’t want a sieve! Generating new enquiries is costly, and it’s essential to make the most of every genuine opportunity. It’s not just receiving the enquiry it’s ensuring you respond appropriately, converting it into an appointment – this takes time and effort. Gaining and then holding onto client loyalty is key, especially after the rollercoaster we’ve all experienced the last few years. If you speak to an old valued client and find they’ve been elsewhere ask them to consider coming back to you – be gracious and accommodating.
In the coming months another critical benchmark will be to see if clients return for treatment as frequently as before of if they’re more relaxed about going longer between treatments – again take time to monitor repeat bookings and get in touch with clients who are overdue their next treatment There are constant news stories highlighting the changes in our spending habits, that people are having to make savings on ‘un-necessary’ expenses. You need to keep in touch with clients reminding them why you are necessary!
On a final note simply be prepared to adapt – in the months to come there will be new obstacles to overcome and, as the last couple of years
has shown, it’s essential to be flexible whilst keeping your finger on the pulse of your business.
For information about how we can support your practice please call us on 0191 7203000