How to Extend Your Patient Life Cycle

How to Extend Your Patient Life Cycle

The patient life cycle is an important process to navigate with all your clients. Knowing the different steps of the cycle and how to maximize it can keep your clients coming back, secure their loyalty, and boost revenue all at once. Rather than spending costly marketing dollars on attracting new clients to your clinic, the best companies build mutually beneficial relationships with customers that equate to a higher customer lifetime value. Simply put, your regulars are the ones who promise a reliable stream of revenue for the long term. Below, we’ll look at the different stages of the patient life cycle, and what your practice can do to keep them coming back for more.

The 5 Stages Of The Patient Life Cycle

The patient life cycle describes the stages your clients go through before, during, and after they visit your clinic for a treatment. In this case, it’s useful to note that the journey doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase, but continues after they leave your clinic. In all five stages, there are opportunities to extend that patient’s commitment to pursuing their aesthetic goals with you. Here are the five basic stages of a customer lifecycle: Reach, Aquire, Develop, Retention, and Advocacy 

Step One: Reach

As in life, first impressions in business matter. Reach denotes the stage at which a potential client finds out about your business. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, digital marketing for your med spa is the best way to grow awareness for your brand these days. As many as 95% of aesthetic patients said their interest in a treatment was sparked by something they saw on social media. However, the key here is to know your customer base and then place marketing material and content where they will find it. When a customer reaches out to you for more information, then you’ll know this stage has been a success.

Here are some questions to consider during the Reach stage:

How did your current clients first find out about you?
What are your competitors doing to reach customers?
Are your social media posts getting a high number of impressions, likes, comments?

Step Two: Aquire

When a potential customer visits your website or calls you on the phone, they've officially entered the acquisition stage. On your website, they should come across helpful, educational content about your clinic’s products and services that can help them make a purchasing decision. Product pages, before & after photos, and a robust blog should do the trick. Over the phone, your staff should be capable of  answering questions and concerns, as well as making recommendations that suit the customer’s needs. Above all, it should be easy for them to reach you, either over the phone or via live chat, and easy for them to book an appointment online. Once they’ve done that, then they’ve moved on to the next step of the life cycle.

Here are some questions to consider during the Acquisition stage:

Does your website communicate your offerings in an approachable way?
Can potential customers easily book an appointment with you online?
What content are you creating to keep their interest piqued?

Step Three: Develop 

This is the stage at which you begin to develop a real relationship with your client. Once they’re in your clinic for either a consultation or a treatment, exceptional customer service is the name of the game. A recent survey discovered that 70% of clients who take their business elsewhere do so because they felt clinic staff treated them with indifference. Patients expect a high level of service and expertise from clinic staff, and if you can make them feel special, they will be more likely to return. Another way to ensure their repeat business is to maximize in-clinic time by introducing them to products or services that complement their aesthetic goals.

Here are some questions to consider during the Development stage: 

Do you develop a customized treatment plan for each client that suits their individual needs?
Do you have in-clinic marketing material, such as brochures, for them to take home?
How do your customers feel when they leave your clinic? 

Step Four: Retention

This stage is about keeping the lines of communication open after a client has left your clinic—and encouraging them to return. Start by following up with them after their treatment with a personal email or phone call. Ask for their feedback in a survey or online form. If you can take a customer's feedback and use it to improve a product or service, you make them feel as if they were a part of the process. Customer feedback analysis reveals actionable insights that can lead to a stronger relationship with all your clients. Additionally, the retention stage is where you have the opportunity to offer exclusive perks that only your customers have access to, such as exclusive events, advanced access to new treatments, and sales.

Here are some questions to consider during the Retention stage: 

Are you using your email marketing to its fullest extent?
Have you personalized the client's experience so that they feel special?
Are you able to deliver product recommendations based on their previous activity? 

Step Five: Advocacy

Once you’ve secured a client’s satisfaction and loyalty, the potential for returning sales increases as a result. In this case, that customer becomes an important asset to your business by making additional purchases. Even better, a truly happy client could post about their experience on social media that Reach a future customer, sparking the beginning of a new patient life cycle. These brand ambassadors will spread the word about your clinic through online reviews and by referral, exponentially increasing their value over time.

Here are some questions to consider during the Advocacy stage:

Do you engage with your customers on your social media channels?
Do you offer a referral program to encourage current clients to bring in new prospects?
Do you reward your current customers with perks such as exclusive offers, discounts, and birthday gifts to keep them coming back? 

The beauty of the customer lifecycle lies in the fact that it's cyclical, meaning you always have a chance to improve your brand messaging for past, current, and future patients. Customer retention is the end goal in developing strong brand loyalty, but your digital marketing strategy needs to continually evolve to stay relevant in a competitive marketplace. If you’d like further insight into how Venus Concept can improve your clinic’s marketing success, speak to one of our Practice Enhancement Managers one-on-one today.

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