At Firm Media, not only do we believe it is our duty to help our clients achieve their business goals through digital marketing, but we also believe it is our duty to do everything possible in our local communities and the verticals we work in to help educate and empower people and businesses. Those missions do not change with the seasons/popular opinion/crises/etc. Even with COVID-19 sweeping across the globe, we are still here to complete those missions outlined above. Our thoughts go out to everyone who is dealing with COVID-19 in any capacity. Know that you are not alone, and through protective measures and accurate information, we will come through this stronger and more resilient than ever.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard of COVID-19. It is the virus that is upending day-to-day activities across the globe. Conferences are being cancelled, airlines are losing business, stock markets are in freefall, and people are quarantining themselves.
Unfortunately, medical & dental practices are going to be hit hard, like the hotel and airline business. Any doctor offering elective or non-essential surgery will most likely see a decrease in phone calls and an increase in cancellations. So, the question is, what can be done to keep business strong?
This is one that, as medical professionals, we’re sure you already know. COVID-19 is a virus that has a higher mortality rate than the flu or other viruses. But, at the end of the day, it is a virus. Top scientists around the world are working around the clock to find a vaccine. While we may still be a year or further away from the vaccine, it is encouraging to see the world reacting so swiftly to this threat.
As a doctor, you have a much larger view of how viruses work and what measures to take to protect yourself and your patients. Use that knowledge to help alleviate patients’ fears. If they are a young, healthy adult, explain to them that they can still receive elective surgery. COVID-19 is primarily affecting older patients and those with respiratory illnesses. But your younger patients are still eligible to receive an elective surgery if they are in good health. Use your knowledge and position to remind them of this and ease their fears.
Reschedule Patients Who Show Symptoms:
It is important that you do not perform any surgery on someone who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19. A slight cough or fever should be a red flag for you. You should be asking patients to reschedule for a minimum of 2 weeks out if they are showing symptoms. This is a protective measure for not only the practice but you and your staff as well. If you get COVID-19, who is going to perform surgery? Protect all parties involved by being overly-cautious when a patient is showing symptoms. This also applies to your staff as well. If they are showing symptoms, ask them to stay home.
If you are not already offering free consultations, now is an appropriate time to do so. Having a fee as a barrier to entry during this time is not recommended as it’s just one more reason for the patient not to come into the office. Using language such as, “We’re now offering free consultations for a limited time” is highly encouraged as it gives the patient another incentive to book.
If there were ever a need for virtual consultations, now is it. With schools and businesses allowing telecommuting, why should you be any different? Allow patients to get time to speak with you about their goals from the comfort of their own home.
If people are scared of a weakened immune system brought on by surgery, then now is a great time to increase your non-surgical business. Fillers, injectables, and lasers can help keep bringing in business while the world is dealing with COVID-19. Since these all have much less downtime than surgery, patients may be looking to these types of services more at this time. Take advantage of it.
Create Value Add-Ons:
Start adding things to surgical and non-surgical packages to increase the value of your services. One example was listed above (free consultations). Think of what can be grouped together to create more value for a patient. For example, one medspa is offering RF skin tightening in the neck when they book Ultherapy. Another example could be “buy X units of BOTOX® and get X Kybella injections for free”. Another example is “Get free teeth whitening when you book your dental implant surgery”. Find ways to create more bang for the patient’s buck.
Become A Resource:
Another way to earn patients’ trust is to start publishing information on the virus to help ease their anxiety and fear. Film yourself talking about what happens to your body during and after surgery. Talk about how scrubbing in is such an essential element of surgery. Talk about what you’re doing in your practice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Give your take on what is happening and what steps patients can take to protect themselves. Get in front of your audience and position yourself as the expert you are. Your patients will listen to you.
Be Prepared For It To Get Worse:
With a vaccine over a year away, tests in short supply, and a relentless news cycle, things are going to get worse before they get better. Take the steps now to make sure your business can survive a severe downturn. Postpone that new laser you wanted to buy. Offer discounted surgeries to drive volume. Do whatever is necessary to ensure your business can still operate in an efficient process. But, whatever you do, do not diminish things that are important to patient satisfaction.
We understand this is going to be a trying time for your practice. Because your practice will be hit, our business will be hit as well. So, we are in this together and are willing to help in any way we can.