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Wednesday
Jun272007

4 Tips for preparing your patients for price increases.

How to Prepare Your Medspa Patients for Price Changes

info_price_graphic.jpg

When Allergan increased the price of Botox, I was not happy. (Not that Allergan and my Botox rep think I'm happy with them anyway.)

You never want your patients to be surprised by a price increase for something that they're already used to (Botox or Restylane being prime examples.) Pleasantly surprise them all you want with price decreases for packages on hair removal, but when you’re increasing the prices, up-front communication is key to preventing a rebellion at your front desk.

If your business costs are rising, you’ll eventually have to pass that on to the consumer. Here are some tips to make this increase as complaint free as possible.

1: Explain Why

When you put yourself in the position of delivering bad news (increasing your prices) with the reasoning behind it (Allergan or Thermage is screwing you again, etc.) your patients are more likely to accept the increase as inevitable and reasonable. The apparent absence of reason of  will annoy your patient and she will assume you’re just trying to squeeze more money out of your relationship. (Even if you aren't.)

How to: I've used a front desk sign with an explanation. The sign mitigates the heat that the front desk has to suffer from patients who were expecting the price they already know. We're also sure to alert any patient who may be in that position. When we increased our Botox pricing, we made sure for months that every confirmation call included a reference to the new price to avoid any unpleasant front desk scenes. 

2: Provide Advance Notice

Don’t pull a price increase out of thin air. Give your customers an advanced warning that changes are coming. Include the timeline of when changes will happen.

How to: Again with the confirmation calls. If I think I'm aiming for a price increase I'll often use the 'for a limited time' around advertised pricing.

3: Grandfather Your Previous Pricing

A price increase is a great opportunity to give your current (and hopefully loyal) customers a sweet deal. Give your existing patients the opportunity to maintain their current pricing by paying for services in advance.

How to: Say you're increasing your Thermage or Obagi Blue Peel pricing. (Something that might be a recurring treatment.) Offer you patient the option of pre-paying for any number of treatments they'd like at the current pricing. This is especially effective since the patient is now included in the decision making and you're in the position of receiving payment up front for treatments you haven't delivered yet.

4: Open Communication Equals Retention

Once you notify your patients of a price change, some may start shopping your competition. There's nothing you can do about that and those are not the patients you really want anyway. (Someone who comes to your medspa for price will leave you for price just as fast... And there can be only one lowest price.) You should know that increasing your prices will lose you a few potential patients but your revenue per patient or treatment will be higher. If you end up with more revenue it was a good decision.

When you surprise your patients with a price hike, even your loyal patients will start to shop around. Why? They’re mad.

Keep them informed and keep your patients.

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