How come some of my clients are now going to one of my competitors? And why have my new client numbers dropped off?
Have you noticed your clients going elsewhere or fewer coming through the door? There are some easy things you can do to help turn things around.
It can feel like a disheartening blow to find out your patient or client is now seeing one of your competitors — particularly after all the hard work you and your team have done.
However, this can be a great time to stop and evaluate where things are at and figure out why clients are going elsewhere and, most importantly, what you can do to change that.
There are lots of potential reasons for why customers may be going elsewhere, including:
What competitors are doing:
● Offering something new or better than your practice
● Engaging and communicating with clients more effectively
● Looking and sounding more modern and professional
● Having a stronger online presence (in particular, their website as well as social media, if relevant)
● Cheaper prices
Clients’ experiences with your practice:
● Having a negative experience
● Feeling misunderstood or undervalued
Unfortunately, in today’s market, we can’t always solely rely on being good at what we do to translate into gaining and keeping clients. It’s increasingly about creating a great experience for customers from when they find out about you through till when they no longer need your services.
The good news is there are a number of simple things you can do:
1. Feedback Survey
Understanding where you currently are and your clients’ experience with your practice is key to moving forward. You can create a simple feedback survey using free platforms like Survey Monkey, asking patients to share what they like about your practice and what they would like to change.
You can distribute this as a hard copy or digital survey (e.g. on a tablet) in your waiting room or send it via email. It’s important to let clients know they can remain anonymous and individual practitioners won’t be told who any feedback is from.
You can also incentivise people to complete your survey with a gift, voucher or prize (Gold Class movie tickets are always popular!).
Your survey results can help you identify areas to improve and provide ideas of things you can implement. And if any clients have negative feedback, it’s important to address their concerns directly, if possible. If left unresolved, unhappy clients can spread negative word of mouth about your practice — i.e. the last thing you want!
2. Client Journey and Experience Review
How do your clients experience your practice? As a practice grows it can be easy to lose track of all the different interactions people have with your practice and to not be across how these interactions are being managed.
Consider auditing every interaction clients have with your practice, from finding out about you too when they no longer need your services — this encompasses everything from your website, how the phone is answered to your waiting room atmosphere and payment options.
For each touchpoint, assess how well it is going and how it could be improved. This can also help identify any gaps where your practice could introduce something to improve your clients’ experience, and therefore be more likely to return or recommend you to others.
3. Re-engage Existing Customers
Brainstorm new initiatives to help existing customers remember you, feel valued, and incentivise them to see you again soon.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
● Create valuable content: What would your clients like to learn more about that would be useful to them? Perhaps you can write blog posts or film a one to two-minute video explaining a topic you get lots of questions (e.g. how things like NDIS changes will affect your patients).
● Prompt them to visit you: Just like how we’re told to have our car serviced every year or number of kilometres, we can educate our clients about how regularly they should be seeing us. You could offer a complimentary mini check-up service to prompt clients to see you every year.
● Partner with other businesses: You can offer something of value to your clients through partnerships with other complementary businesses — and tap into each other’s client base without risk of cannibalising yourself. For example, if you’re a physio practice, you could partner with a local gym or yoga studio to provide your clients with a free or discounted trial.
● Celebrate people leaving you: It might sound counterintuitive, but celebrating finishing (or ‘graduating’) from treatment can be great for generating awareness and sharing your patients’ success with you (while still abiding by APRA’s regulations). It’s as easy as taking a photo or gifting your client something small and it demonstrates you have your patients’ best interests at heart and creates content you and your clients can share.
Alex Simpkin is a marketing strategist and consultant who loves working with businesses that help others through what they do. If you want help with re-engaging your customers, improving your customers’ experience of your practice or you’re struggling to find an edge over your competitors, please feel free to reach out to her. You can find out more about her, how she can help your practice and get in contact via her website: alex-simpkin.com.