With financial resources now becoming available to businesses, and a public that has had to become increasingly adjusted to living a “laptop life,” there are opportunities for you to start positioning your practice now for an eventual rebound from this crisis.
According to the COVID-19 Barometer report recently released by Kantar, brands that were most successful at bouncing back after tough times had mastered a number of habits:
- They recognized the severity of the moment,
- They didn’t try to capitalize on it in any way that could appear off putting,
- They sought ways to innovate during the crisis, and
- They kept a connection with their customers and the wider public in ways that were welcoming and helpful.
One key to rebounding successfully from this is to start visualizing and planning for that rebound now. To help you imagine your path forward, here are some things you will want current and potential patients to say about your practice once the crisis has passed.
“They didn’t try to exploit the situation.”
Brands that emerged from previous times of uncertainty in a strong position took care not to seem like they were attempting to capitalize on a situation that had affected many people badly, according to the Kantar study. “No brand,” the study points out, “will want to be remembered as having exploited the situation.”
As such, your practice should be mindful about any advertising or marketing material being shared during this time, taking special care to check on previously scheduled messaging: a previously planned advertisement or email might inadvertently come off as tone-deaf under these new circumstances.
While “themed” COVID-19 advertising should be avoided (think specials that play on the number “19”) most people are not expecting brands to completely discontinue marketing, or even to avoid the particular context of this moment in their advertising.
Like national brands that have both explicitly and glancingly referenced the current circumstances, practices should feel comfortable continuing to communicate with potential and current patients about tips, facts, resources and services that might be beneficial to their temporarily disrupted daily lives.
If you’re looking for a place to start, you’re always welcome to send patients COVID-19 resources from our blog.
“They took care of their employees as best they could.”
Kantar’s study also revealed that consumers feel strongly about whether or not companies are doing enough to protect their employees.
In the early days of the current crisis, this included efforts to ensure staff were working in clean workplaces that enforced procedures to keep everyone safe. Soon thereafter, the concern shifted to whether businesses that were able to were letting their employees work from home. In an era when people are expecting companies to be more focused on social responsibility, this crisis is an opportunity to show that you put employees’ safety and flexibility first.
We’ve heard from doctors already that layoffs and furloughs have been unavoidable—that’s to be expected. But being conscientious and sensitive about how practices treat their staff, who are so key to patients’ overall experience, is paramount even as the economic realities of this crisis force business owners to make very tough decisions.
“They innovated to enable me to keep pursuing a procedure.”
During an unprecedented time of social distancing, people are becoming quickly acclimated to living a “laptop life.” Research shows that as the public has decreased in-store transacting by 20%, their intention to shop more online has increased 32%.
When it comes to aesthetics patients, more than half of those asked in a recent RealSelf survey indicated they’d be interested in “virtual” consultations—and that was before we started introducing new experiences to make their availability more widely known to consumers.
Now is the time to start and/or tweak your virtual consultation process, allowing potential clients to keep pursuing their aesthetics-related goals even as we collectively await the opportunity to reengage face-to-face. Exploring new ways to communicate with current and potential clients through videoconferencing may lead to new efficiencies that your practice can continue to benefit from after the crisis has passed.
Related: Visit RealSelf University for a multi-part education module, Virtual Appointments: We’re Not Closed!
“They provided normalcy by continuing to talk about their practice and procedures.”
Yes, you should absolutely talk about things other than COVID-19 on social media and in any other marketing you decide to continue throughout this crisis.
Your clients, potential clients, and staff will likely welcome reassuring messaging from your practice. Discussing your practice’s plans once social distancing guidelines are reduced, as well as current, innovative ways you’ll continue to service your clientele now, can provide a harbor of normalcy during the time of COVID-19.
Remember: what consumers ultimately want to know from you is the ins and outs of having a procedure done, and what the experience will be like with you and your practice.
“They anticipated my new normal.”
Planning for a return to “normal” also might include planning for a “new” normal, as some of the things your practice offered in the past may not be perfectly aligned with clients’ “new” essentials—or new expectations that might linger from this indelible set of circumstances.
Talk to your staff and trusted clientele to help gauge what might be the best ways to help serve them in a post-coronavirus crisis world.
How are you responding?
We’re in this together. Tell us how your practice is adapting in the wake of COVID-19 so that we can share best practices with everyone.