Don’t let a little screen time get between you and creating connections with your clients.
We hate to be mentioning the ‘C’ word again, but COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way the aesthetics industry operates. Virtual consultations have become necessary throughout lockdowns but we’re predicting this one big change is one that will be sticking around.
Virtual consults are a great way to stay in touch with existing clients while they can’t get into clinic. But long-term, they can be a cost-effective way to begin a skin-health journey with new clients and offer your expertise to a wider audience.
Of course, treating the skin is a lot different via facetime than it is in-person, so we tapped two clinic owners who are both very experienced in providing virtual consults to get their best tips.
Isabella Loneragan is the founder of The Dermal Diary and has been finding virtual consults very valuable throughout the lockdowns.
“Virtual consults are an interesting offering for a business like ours as we specialise in connecting with the client and being able to empathise and indicate we have heard them on a personal level. A large element of this is lost in a virtual consultation. However, for our existing clients they are a highly valuable tool for both them and us, especially during lockdown, as it’s a time of stress and confusion, and we are able to offer our clients support and therefore a sense of control with their skin,” shares Isabella.
While virtual consults may sound like a quick way to stay in touch with clients, Isabella advises that taking the time to properly prepare is key.
“Clients need to be sent a consultation questionnaire and instructions on how to take clear and appropriate photos of their skin for us to be able to analyse them. Use a separate iPad with the client’s photos on it to show them what you are talking about when you are describing areas that you are wanting to improve and point them out when you are describing them,” she says.
“We create a plan pre the consultation according to what we think the client’s skin will need, so half the work is done. You can amend it throughout the consult, and then email it to them during the consult so they can open it in front of you. Then you can both go through it step by step and can also demonstrate how to use the products you prescribe.”
Beyond great preparation, mimicking the in-clinic experience as best you can will also help to deliver better results for your clients according to Isabelle.
“Avoid conducting the consult in a noisy room. The virtual consult is as important as a live one, so give the client your full attention. And encourage an interactive consult by getting the client to feel their skin for you and describe what it feels like. That will tell you a lot about texture of the skin.”
Virtual consultations don’t just have to be for dermal therapists prescribing at-home routines and take-home facials either.
Nurse Jaclyn Isaacs, founder of Art Of Aesthetics, says they’ve been a welcome addition for her clients.
“It has been a great means of kick starting that nurse/patient relationship and has provided a way to start the treatment planning process while we are in lockdown. But we always outline that although we can start discussing concerns and formulating treatment options, ultimately an in-person face-to-face consultation and discussion with our prescribing doctors is still required out of lockdown before any treatment recommendations can be agreed upon,” says Jaclyn.
Managing client expectations virtually can be difficult but Jaclyn advises it’s crucial to minimising disappointment. You also need to ensure you tick off all of the technicalities.
“It’s important to ensure confidentiality during an online consultation, and also to maintain the patient’s privacy and adhere to the legal requirements. Maintain professional boundaries and ensure patients understand the process and carefully document the treatment plan for when we are able to return to in-clinic consultations and treatments. Ensure you advise that no treatment is set in stone until a formal in person assessment and consultation can be attended.”
Once you’ve checked the important boxes, Jaclyn’s advice is simple. “Just go with the flow. It’s a great way to get to know potential patients and to open the lines of communication. Setting small and achievable skin care goals is the main priority at this point.”
Top Tips For A Virtual Consult
- Be prepared – always have your client fill out a pre-consult questionnaire and analyse their response before their appointment.
- Choose a quiet space for your consult – your environment should mimic your in-person consults as much as possible.
- Encourage interaction – have your clients send photos, get them to touch and explain their own skin and demonstrate product use when needed.
- Manage expectations – virtual consults can only achieve so much, so make sure your clients’ goals are appropriately managed.
- Be yourself – your passion for helping your clients will shine through so be authentic and build a connection, just like you would in clinic.
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