This time of year, offering limited time service discounts is quite common. After all, everyone wants to end Q4 with a bang. But what if your promotions just aren’t sticking? Or even worse, the discounts start cutting into your bottom line?
It’s time to add more perceived (and actual) value to the overall client experience.
For example, let’s pretend you’re a massage therapist. It’s been a slow month, and you can’t necessarily afford to offer a huge discount. So, instead of promoting 50% off a full body massage, why not increase the price by $20 and throw in a complimentary facial?
That’s adding value without taking a huge financial hit.
But, before we dive into service bundles, information sharing, and more, let’s talk about free ways to add value (while still nurturing the client relationship.)
1. Add a personal touch.
What if each clinician had their own “thing”? Some sort of individual flair they brought to your business. For example, Monica your receptionist loves to bake in her free time. When she’s not answering phone calls, responding to emails, sending out invoices … she’s dreaming about cupcakes.
Why not encourage that passion?
What if every other Wednesday, she brings in one of her favorite recipes? Typed up on neat little notecards, she places them on the counter and offers one to every patient that comes in. In this situation, you’re really killing two birds with one stone.
Not only are you putting a smile on the face of everyone who gives her creations a try; but you’re also making Monica feel like she brings true value to the clinic.
That type of pride increases productivity, strengthens employee loyalty, and enhances the overall work atmosphere.
2. Make exceptions to the rules.
Yes, policy is there for a reason. I’m not suggesting you rewrite procedure every time the wind changes direction. But, use your best judgment.
Let’s say a patient is 42 days behind on her bill. Usually, you add a late fee of $15 for every 5 days past 30. That means, at the minimum, she owes the original invoiced amount plus $15. In the past, you’ve been really strict about this rule. No one wants to be taken advantage of, and you have a business to run. In most cases, this rule makes complete sense.
But, this morning, she calls in. She feels really bad about being behind. Her son just started college, and the expenses are adding up to be more than she originally anticipated. She promises to never let something like this happen again. And, when you review her history, she has always paid on time. This truly was the one exception.
How can you add value to this client relationship? First, let her know what you normally would have done in a circumstance like this. Then, cut her a break. Things happen. Being a stickler about a $15 late fee with one of your best and most loyal patients does nobody any good. And, is that relationship more “valuable” than the $15 you’d probably have to fight for? Absolutely.
3. Give more than what’s asked.
Let’s say Susan visits her therapist once a month to help strengthen her stress coping skills. Her employer actually offers an annual credit towards physical and mental wellness as part of an Employee Assistance Program. All she has to do is keep track of her invoices (including the date and time of each visit).
Unfortunately, Susan lacks a bit in organizational skills, and the end of the year is quickly approaching. She calls you, her therapist, and explains the situation. Of the 11 visits you’ve had so far this year, she only has two invoices. She’s in a rush, and quickly just asks for the dates and amounts. She plans to jot them down, hand her boss a sticky note, and hope that suffices.
You have two options: give her what she’s asked for, or go above and beyond the “call of duty”. To ease her stress and add value to your client relationship, you instead offer her a better solution. “How about this? Let me email you all 11 invoices for this year so you can review and then forward to your boss.”
Now, let’s say all of the above sounds super familiar. You’ve been there, done that. You’re no stranger to going the extra mile for your clientele. You’re reading this blog post because you want to know how to add value to your actual services.
4. Bundle complimentary treatments.
As mentioned earlier, pair up a massage with a facial. Or, find a neighboring provider, and unite your services into one custom package. Let’s say you’re a dietician, and your friend down the street is a personal trainer. Offer a “New Year, New You” package; complete with a nutritional assessment and personalized workout plan.
5. Offer a pre-pay incentive.
This is something you can really capitalize on year round. When people pre-pay for a service, they’re more likely to actually show up and take advantage of what they paid for. So try something like “Buy a pack of ten sessions, and get a free autographed copy of How to Be a Better You.” (Totally made up that book, but you get the idea.)
6. Host an annual “thank you” event.
Throwing an end of the year get-together is the perfect way to add value to your existing client relationships. Whether you stage it as an open house, meet and greet, fundraiser, or simple holiday party; you won’t regret taking time to connect with your existing clientele outside of the day to day professional atmosphere.
7. Send out weekly tips via text or email.
This works for most, if not all clinicians. A general physician can offer healthy living tips. A massage therapist can share daily stretches to increase flexibility. A podiatrist can email an article about how to find the perfect insole for your foot. Bottom line? Information sharing brings immense value.
The best thing about focusing on increasing perceived value at your clinic this holiday season? Your efforts won’t go unnoticed. What you give, you will get back in return. As you may already know, when you invest time in improving the patient experience, your practice will steadily see new growth as a result.