We’ve all heard the mantra: safety, health, and environment. If you’re reopening private practice after COVID-19, many patients may be reluctant to visit your office. They figure they’re better off to forego care than to risk getting the virus.
You can help clients, their families, yourself, and your business if you give positive messages about safety, health, and the environment.
Announce your availability
Even those of us who think we’re smart and informed aren’t always sure about what’s open, and what’s not.
Just come out and say it. “We’re open and ready!” Or, “It’s time to come back!” And here’s my personal spin: “We’re open and ready to serve you!”
I’m big on the service mentality. And, the “service” message is more important now than ever when reopening private practice after COVID-19. Clients need to hear that you’re not opening your shop just to take their money. You’re there to help them.
Use electronic communication
There are all sorts of ways to communicate with your patients. Be very bold and very aggressive in describing all of the measures you’re taking to keep your office safe.
You could get your message out through email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever you choose. Use a variety of methods to ensure that different audiences know you’re open. The method of getting the message out is less important than just saying what you’re doing to keep everyone safe.
If you have a busy practice, consider allowing clients to remain in their cars until you text them for their appointments. This avoids congregation in waiting rooms.
Let patients see what you’re doing
Seeing is believing. Let patients see you:
- washing your hands for 20 seconds.
- wiping down the equipment.
- having space marked off with 6 feet between patients in the waiting room.
- making changes to your practice environment as the situation evolves.
In other words, give plenty of visual reassurance to show the routine in your private practice after COVID-19 looks vastly different than it looked before the crisis.
Emphasize the local angle
Some people travel many miles to see a professional. For example, my chiropractor has some patients who drive over a hundred miles to see him. For sure, the guy is good!
But if I lived in an area where there was little threat of COVID-19, as opposed to here in the greater Washington DC area, I’d seriously consider seeing a local chiropractor where the infection threat is less. I’d assume that is “safer.”
Taking the “local” angle could be a way to help you snag clients who might not have otherwise considered your services.
Change the conversation
In a few words: Make them feel safe.
If you’re reopening private practice after COVID-19, helping patients to feel safe is hugely important. But they’re talking about what’s unsafe. What can you do?
Take control of the conversation before it starts. Show them everything you are doing to keep them safe.
Get testimonials! By now, I’m sure someone is coming to your office for something. Ask one or more of them to give a short testimonial; preferably a video testimonial. Help them to verbalize how they felt safe in your office. Get their permission to use that testimonial.
Emphasize investing in your family’s health
Interestingly, along with the COVID-19 crisis there has become a trend toward people feeling more interested in their family’s health than their own health.
I can’t resist saying, this is a great plug for initiating and continuing breastfeeding! No schlepping to the store for formula, if it’s available. No need to worry about who has touched those canisters of formula while they are on the shelves. And, no worries about handling the cash or using credit card machines. (Here’s how to deal with your card.)
Create a referral program
Some providers have told me that a few clients say they’re never coming back. So, it will be important to find new clients. As you are reopening private practice after COVID-19, consider how your existing clients can help you.
If you don’t have one already, learn how to create a referral program! I cannot overemphasize the value of a referral. We want to trust the provider that someone else trusts. Trust is more important now than ever; referrals programs give you a unique chance to let others do your marketing for you. Word of mouth is the best free advertising!
There are many different ways to do this. I don’t think it matters how you do it. But for heaven’s sake, if you ever thought about doing it, now is the time!
Consider community outreach
This is especially important if you offer a “nice-to-have” service rather than a “need to have” service.
This approach is unlikely to come across as “I’m advertising so that you can pay me for a service.” Rather, it’s likely to come across as “we’re all in this together.” You’ve heard that message on TV, many times. Capitalize on that!
Consider using telehealth
Be careful on this one. First, be sure it’s legal in your state. Then, be sure you have a way to be in compliance with all requirements (most notably, confidentiality) for telehealth.
You’ve probably already thought of telehealth options, but if you haven’t, it’s not too late. There are still some people who don’t want to go out. I’d say that’s especially true for people who rely on public transportation. They don’t want to get on the city bus or travel by rail (in my area, the “Metro” is a major method of transportation.)
Grow your brand
For sure, the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in history. However, this might be an opportunity to grow your brand in an unprecedented way. If you can open your private practice after COVID-19 and show clients how much you care and how conscientious you are, you’re halfway to success.
Seriously. Never underestimate the power of genuine caring. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
In this environment, caring and empathy is likely to help you grow your brand exponentially.
As you are reopening private practice after COVID-19, you’ll need to give messages about safety, health, and environment. Just be sure those messages are positive, and mutually beneficial.
What are your plans for reopening private practice after COVID-19? As a patient, what would make you comfortable to return to your providers? Share in the comments below!