During COVID-19 many aesthetic physicians and clinics suddenly lost contact with their prospects and patients due to the lockdown and closure of the clinics. All around the world, in most industries, people started or increased the usage of video calling. Even though this has never been widely implemented in aesthetic clinics, this situation literally pushed video calling fast forward into aesthetic clinics. During the lockdown, this was the only effective way to stay or get in contact with prospects and patients, preparing them for the post-lockdown period.
Now most aesthetic clinics are up and running and video consulting is still a very useful tool to lower the threshold for prospects to get to know your clinic, gather information, and investigate if their main concerns could be treated by your clinic.
Most aesthetic physicians and their patients have little previous experience of consulting remotely by video. With this article, we want to discuss ten essential tips to make sure these video consultations will be effective and successful, with the main goal of inviting the patient into their clinic.
Role of video consulting
Keep in mind that video consulting is an additional tool, next to face-to-face consulting and treatments. Use video consulting to get in touch with your prospects or existing patients, build trust, discuss their primary questions or concerns, and try to make a judgment if you’re able to help your prospect or patient. Always be clear about the fact that a final, personal consultation will be necessary to be 100% sure the treatment is suitable for your patient.
1. Prepare your patients
Provide your patients with clear and useful information before the actual video call. When using an EMR / CRM with integrated video consulting, you’ll probably be able to send this information directly with the video appointment confirmation. Make sure they know what to expect, including:
When and how to establish the video connection;
Make sure they use a device that contains a microphone and a camera (e.g., smartphone, tablet, or laptop) and test if these work properly;
2. Prepare for video call environment
Think carefully about the physical environment in rooms for video consultation. Make sure to choose a quiet setting, preferably with a neutral background. Avoid disturbances and distractions from a noisy environment.
Think about the appearance of the room. If it’s messy or contains many (personal) items in the image, it may seem distracting and unprofessional.
Think carefully about your appearance. Patients like to see you dressed according to your profession. Don’t forget this could be the first impression you make on your prospect, and you only get one chance to make it a good one!
Choose a private area to have the video call and make sure privacy is guaranteed. Prevent unauthorized persons from listening in on the conversation.
Make sure you position yourself centrally in front of the camera. Don’t get too close to the camera so that your upper body, arms, and hands are visible. This position is a more realistic representation.
Don’t have intense light coming from behind you, as this will make you look dark in the video. The best is a nice, equally lid room or make sure the light is coming from in front of you.
If you’re just starting with video consultations, make sure to have a tryout to test if your network quality (Wifi or cabled internet), image quality, and your sound is working well. If not, adjust image quality when possible. Consider using a headset with a microphone or earbuds. The sound quality of headsets with a microphone is always better compared to internal microphones.
Close all unnecessary programs and applications on your computer and activate “do not disturb mode” before starting a video consultation to avoid disturbing incoming messages or calls.
4. Take initiative
Keep in mind that a prospect or patient could still find a video consult new and challenging. Therefore make sure you lead the call. When performing a video call with a new potential patient, always start by introducing yourself. Make sure that your prospect knows who you are and what your role is (e.g. physician/consultant).
5. Clear conversation
Structure is essential while performing video consultations. Before moving forward to your patient’s main concern, it’s vital to share this call’s ‘agenda.’ Inform the prospect or patient about the expected time of this video consultation. Summarize and explain the next steps of this video call. Next, lead the conversation to discuss the main question or concern.
6.Cues and gestures
While conversing, we usually use several kinds of cues and gestures to show the other person we are listening to their story. These cues and gestures include nods, frowning, smiling, raising the eyebrows, sounds, and words.
Overusing these cues and gestures during a video call could distract your patient due to possible lags caused over the internet. Therefore try to minimize using these cues and gestures. Some suggestions to make sure the video call will proceed as smoothly as possible are:
Try to talk one at a time. Speak clearly and remember short breaks in your flow of speech.
Minimize vocal cues. A nod or a smile usually is sufficient.
Don’t forget to stay focused on your prospect or patient video image. Don’t look around you as you’re in front of your camera.
Interrupt the prospect or patient by providing visual signs, for example, raising your hand.
Don’t move too much in front of your camera. A lot of movement is very distracting for your prospect or patient.
7. Face your camera
Many tablets have built-in cameras. These cameras are usually positioned at one side of the device. When performing video calls, it’s logical to look at the video broadcast of your conversational partner. But, when doing so, you’re actually not looking the patient in the eyes! Remember to look straight into the camera if you want to face your patient. It may take some practice to look into the camera and observe the patient simultaneously. To avoid that a prospect or patient feels unheard, explain to them that when they see you looking ‘down’ or ‘sideways,’ it is not because you’re unfocused, but it’s because you’re looking at your screen to see their video broadcast.
When performing video consultations is becoming more prominent in your clinic, changing the setup could be an excellent idea. Using an external camera, straight in front of you, will help you face the patient and still view their video broadcast.
8. Make sure they understand
Before finishing the video call, summarise the consultation’s main points. Ask the prospect or patient if there are more questions or if there’s still something they do not understand well enough. This will allow you to explain essential topics again.
9. Closing the consultation
End each conversation in a friendly and inviting tone. Don’t forget that in the end, you would like to see your prospect visiting your clinic for the first time or see your patient return.
10. Document and register
Video consultations are fantastic to lower the threshold for prospects to contact an aesthetic physician and existing patients to discuss additional or new treatments. But as aesthetic medicine is a profession in which touching and assessing the face in real life is essential, given advice over video can’t be 100% accurate.
Therefore you need to document and register the main concern as well as discussed therapeutic options. Also, don’t forget to note that a real-life facial assessment is crucial to ensure the proposed strategy or treatment is suitable for your prospect or patient. Inform your patient if you take notes during the conservation.
Make sure to use a specialized EMR for aesthetic medicine, which usually has video consultations built-in as a feature.
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