Founder of Mantlepiece PR Kate Zadah shares her tips on returning to clinical practice
We may well be on the final stretch of this business-breaking pandemic, and while the dust settles and businesses find their way out of lockdown and back to a new kind of ‘normal’, there will no doubt be many fatalities.
It’s likely we’ll see some aesthetic outfits close, practitioners turning their hand to something different and perhaps some of the older generation of aesthetic doyennes and masters taking the opportunity to retire.
During the past eight weeks, we’ve seen some brands come into their own, spreading positivity and supporting the NHS altruistically, generating a halo effect that will no doubt carry through whilst business is getting back on its feet. Others however have made some very public, glaring errors. Those utilising the outbreak of corona for financial gain have been outed and shamed in the most unapologetic way and rightly so.
Maybe we shouldn’t see this alternate future of the aesthetic industry as doom and gloom. Perhaps now there will be a cleanse, or slimming down of this foie-gras esque, bloated market. Perhaps we’ll see a survival of the fittest, with only those providing truly ethical practice, prioritising patient safety and genuine, proven results, reigning supreme. Would it be such a bad thing if clinics and practitioners that aren’t able to adjust to the now necessary patient safety protocols we all expect, fall to their knees? Perhaps we have corona to thank for a cleaning up of the market. We need to try harder; the age of complacency is over.
So what does this post-corona landscape look like and what should you be doing to future-proof your aesthetics business? After all, there’s nothing to say a pandemic such as this won’t happen again. We need to use our experience of this Armageddon-like scenario to help focus the mind and of course, the business. These are my tips...
It may be the first rule you learn when starting your own business, but if cashflow is tight at this time, you cannot blame yourself too harshly. Nobody can account for two to three months of sudden business closure with no income at all. Some clinics have managed to generate healthy sales of homecare products and conduct appointments remotely in recent weeks, but nothing can recover the lost revenue from treatment-based appointments. The government’s aptly named Bounce Back loan which launched May 4 and provides a reasonable interest-rate loan with payments due after 12 months! Check out the HMRC website for more info.
When your doors reopen to patients, what treatments will be in high demand? Think about your client base. I’d say any treatment that provides pain relief or gives a solution to an embarrassing or unsightly problem will be in high demand from day one. Put the word out a few weeks in advance of your reopening date and schedule any patient appointments possible to gauge demand and also to show you’re ready and willing to support. Those who have had treatment courses interrupted and are concerned about their final results, prepare to offer a one off complimentary back-on-track appointment. Ask suppliers for some support if you need extra consumables – everyone needs to be open to a deal at this point. Inflexibility on packages and pricing is unadvisable, as many people will have far less expendable income now for aesthetic treatments. Find that happy medium; providing value and quality to clients without jeopardising your brand credibility and cheapening your image.
Customers have been taking extra care of their bodies and their overall health in the past couple of months – perhaps more than we ever have before. The reality is, that many will see a more discerning patient now when it comes to patient safety protocols and with that, a higher expectation of care from their chosen clinic. How will you change your patient journey and ramp up your safety protocols and finally, and perhaps most importantly, how will you communicate these changes to your customers? Will social media be your outlet, or direct emails, calls or letters? If you’re temperature checking people on arrival, carrying out compulsory Covid 19 testing on staff, or rotating treatment rooms to allow for deep cleans after each patient, tell us. We will want to hear it!
Rethink your purpose as a business and this may need to be on a weekly or even daily basis. What do your patients require of you in the here and now, not what do you want to achieve as a business. Turn the tables and develop a business strategy that is in-keeping with the needs of your audience and respects the climate in which you are operating. Those businesses that ride out this storm and live to fight another day, will be the ones that aren’t surreptitiously trying to make a quick buck. Relationships are more important than ever now, especially as we’ve been so starved of human connections in a ‘normal’ way for so many weeks. Provide a genuine connection with your patients. Genuine care and safety at the highest level is the order of the day.
Good luck over the coming months, and if you’d like any support or advice to help rebuild your business during this uncertain time, Mantelpiece PR is offering free advice over the phone and in person (after lockdown). The aesthetics industry IS our industry and we’re here to help get it back on fighting form.