Managing Client Expectations with Improved Client Communications

In any small business or practice, managing expectations is crucial to building and maintaining a successful relationship with your clients. However, if you don’t manage client expectations early, you could find yourself in some tense situations later on down the road, or experiencing low retention of your clientele.

One way to manage client expectations is to communicate early on how you’ll send out notifications, updates, or important information that your clients might need/want to know.

Send a Welcome Email

For example, if you are a salon who has recently seen several new clients, we recommend sending out a targeted Welcome email, thanking them for their first visit, and providing more detailed information on your services and history.

If you use a marketing and communications platform like Demandforce to send these messages, you can track open rates and specify specific people to receive the email, all based on data synched directly from your salon management system. And Welcome messages sent via Demandforce have an average open rate of 50 percent! (Based on 2016 Demandforce data).

Find Out Your Client’s Preferred Method of Communication

Another way to manage client expectations is to take time to chat with your client during their first visit, and ask them for their preferred method of communication. You can even ask for their consent to send text message updates, or special offers you might be running, and you can confirm that the data you have in your system is up-to-date and complete. This allows you to make sure that when you send a message, via email, voice call, or text, it’s not unwelcome, and your client knows that you might be contacting them.

Continue to Reach Out

One common mistake businesses make that can affect client expectations is to stop communicating with them after the first few months. If your salon or small business emphasizes a personal touch, and friendly family atmosphere, you need to make good on your promise. Set up custom email campaigns to send automatically to specific clients, promoting specials, loyalty rewards, or discounts. Celebrate important milestones with them by sending birthday and anniversary greetings. And make sure that your clients never miss an upcoming appointment by setting up automatic appointment reminders and recall campaigns to send out based on data collected in your management system.

If you continue to nurture the relationship you have with your client past the first visit and beyond, you’ll turn a new client into a loyal client—and you’ll always exceed your clients’ expectations.

For more information on how you can use the marketing tools and communications solutions provided by Demandforce to manage your client expectations, visit demandforce.com/salon-and-spa.

How automated communications provide a better patient experience

If you’re the owner of a small business or healthcare practice, you are probably no stranger to appointment reminders. Studies have shown that appointment and reservation reminders of any type—voice, email, text, or postcard—can have an immediate and positive impact on the number of confirmed appointments and completed bookings.

Yet despite the benefits of appointment reminders and personalized communications with customers and patients, many small businesses and practices have not optimized this process, and staff can find themselves frustrated or overwhelmed by the time it takes to track down unconfirmed patients or organize a system of sending and following up on booked appointments.

When managed or set manually, appointment reminders and other customer communications can become unwieldy and stressful, especially for a small staff that already has a long list of day-to-day tasks they need to complete. Even with the best of intentions, small details can slip through the cracks, and the overall patient experience can suffer.

The solution: automated communications

The solution to this dilemma facing small businesses and practices is simple: automate as many communications as you can for your patients. This is a win-win solution, as it not only makes life easier for your staff, but it increases the entire experience for your patients.

What can you automate?

  • Appointment reminders & confirmations
  • Requests for online reviews
  • Patient feedback via surveys
  • Email campaigns and recall reminders

Automating communications doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated either. Demandforce offers a complete patient communications solution by providing automation assistance for all of the above and more. For example, Demandforce offers an online scheduling system that automates the booking process and the reminder process, making tedious tasks an afterthought. Email and text reminders can be sent through the system automatically without any additional actions required by your staff.

A better patient experience

By automating your patient communications, you are making sure that your patients and customers connect with you in a seamless, consistent manner. This removes gaps in the communication timeline, and also eliminates instances where you contact a patient only to learn that they have already been contacted previously. A platform like Demandforce also integrates with your current practice management system, and leverages the information you have there to make sure that all your communications with patients are relevant and timely to that specific patient.

In today’s modern world, patients expect more than just a one-off positive experience – they want to establish a long-term relationship with their healthcare providers, and one way you can make your patients and customers feel special is by sending them customized messaging that syncs with their previous visit history and other preferences.

It’s becoming easier for patients to widen their search for healthcare providers, and so offering a better patient experience through automated communications solutions will help you stand out from among the crowd.

Improve Your Practice’s Productivity in 2017 with These Top 5 Healthcare Automation Processes

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for another set of resolutions. But rather than deciding to choose the same old resolutions that never quite motivate you enough to follow through on them, why not focus on just 5 of the easiest, yet most effective, healthcare automation processes that will boost your practice’s productivity and keep you connected with your patients.

All patients enjoy a friendly, attentive practice—so if you’re too busy on the phone, or handling paperwork when you should be focused on your patients, you might lose patients, referrals, or new business.

Here are our Top 5 picks for healthcare automation processes that will help you better manage your time and eliminate time-consuming or repetitive tasks.

If you’d like to learn more about marketing automation and how it can help your practice, visit www.demandforce.com.

Appointment Reminders

Spend less time chasing down confirmations by setting up automatic appointment reminders for your patients. You can send advance email reminders, text alerts, or even an automated voice call to cut down on no-shows and forgotten appointments.

Recall & Check-Up Reminders

Increase the number of patients you bring back time and again by automating your recall and check-up reminders. Save time by setting up a schedule for when to send out recall emails and notifications so you’re not overwhelmed by all the scheduling.

Patient Surveys

Gathering patient feedback about the quality of service you’re providing, and showing patients you care about giving them a great experience goes a long way in attracting new patients, and keeping the ones you have. Setting up an automated system of sending and collecting patient surveys allows you to constantly gather data about your practice without worrying about this practice slipping through the cracks on busy days. 

Birthday Greetings & Special Offers

Sending birthday messages to your patients, or sending an exclusive offer to long-time patients is a proven way to retain lifetime patients, and promote practice advocates and referrals. Sending cards in the mail is costly and time-consuming, so why not automate this process and/or send email greetings to your patient base?

Requests for Online Reviews

These days, your online reputation is so important in attracting new patients, and establishing your practice as reputable online. That’s why the more online reviews you have from patients, the better. But we know that sometimes asking for those reviews, and following up with patients, can take up a lot of time. So why not automate your request for online reviews, so that a friendly email request is sent to all your patients shortly after they finish their appointments, asking for their review. Then you can quickly review and post these on the most popular social media sites; saving you time and the headache of sorting through various sites, and reposting.

These are our top 5 healthcare automation processes, but there are so many that we didn’t mention as well. With so many choices to help you better leverage your time and schedule, there’s no reason your should be sacrificing productivity in your practice. If you want to learn more about healthcare automation, and your options, click here.

The top marketing trends of 2016

Wow, what a year! As 2016 comes to a close, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the top marketing trends of 2016, and how they relate to your business.

Mobile email and mobile first

Mobile marketing saw a continued steady growth in implementation and use. It’s no surprise that more people are on-the-go and on their phones, and so marketing that is tailored to not only be mobile-friendly, but mobile first, did much better in 2016. 

Social media: not a strategy, but a channel

This was the year that saw a shift in how social media has traditionally been viewed. Social media is not a strategy, but instead a channel, one of many your business should utilize to support its broader campaigns. This is often why social media marketing as a tactic is often more effective than if it’s utilized as a campaign on its own.

Marketing automation

With better UI came a way to create easier multi-channel touch campaigns, and 2016 saw the merging of email marketing and marketing automation. More time was spent on marketing automations, and less on scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts. As it becomes easier to import third-party data to enhance a company’s information about its customers; and as technology continues to improve, marketing automation will become a foundation of future marketing campaigns and strategies.

Hyper-personalization and relationship marketing

This was the year of hyper-personalization and a trend towards relationship marketing versus the hard sell. Again, technology advancements in deliverability, testing, live content, remarketing options, and analytics helped create new ways to connect (and stay connected) with customers and prospects. Many businesses chose to focus on relationship marketing, which meant changing their marketing strategy to be longer-term in focus—building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement, rather than quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales goals. This helped many businesses develop strong, emotional connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation. Relationship marketing and hyper-personalization go hand-in-hand, as the ability to know how to market to your customers comes from knowing more about them – through data.

Modular templates and interactivity for emails

An interesting marketing trend of 2016 was the choice of many major brands to begin a shift away from one-off, complex and unique emails for every campaign to choosing a more modular template design—one where you can have several different versions of an email from the same template. This saves time and creates a familiar brand identity for your customers, as they begin identifying a certain look to your company or service. Added to this was a rise in animation and interactivity in emails, as marketers sought to keep content fresh, unique, and engaging.

More visual content

Today’s world is one filled with so many different things competing for the attention and eye of your customer. This goes for emails and marketing as well. Your customers need more than plain text to engage. They want valuable content that not only educates, but entertains them as well. That’s where visual content can help. People remember visuals 6x more than plain text, and platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are great forums for visual content.