What has the pandemic meant for elective procedures? From what we’ve seen, it’s meant a major surge in demand. Make sure you are taking advantage of the market and investing in your patient experience.
The pandemic has unleashed change that in some ways has never been seen before in our lifetime. On one end of the spectrum is the intense suffering caused by a virus; on the other end is a peak in the stock market that anticipates an economic boom for the years ahead. With society now at the cusp of fully re-opening, many Americans have money saved that they wouldn’t or couldn’t spend during a shutdown.
There is pent-up demand expected for some of the industries that suffered mightily, including travel and tourism. Just think about your own behavior and what’s now on your wish list of things to do as we move towards a new normal.
Elective Procedures = Elective Experiences
A recent article challenges the notion that money cannot buy happiness. The NYT’s “Your Money” columnist interviewed a handful of experts to get their perspective on what is set up to be a “nationwide spending binge.” What struck me was the notion of strategic spending, which means planning to spend money well versus simply spending money.
I love this idea, as it ties directly to experiences. Research cited in the article states the following principle:
“Buying an experience brings more satisfaction – and less buyer’s remorse – than buying stuff.”
That sentence underpins everything I write about when it comes to patient experience. It harkens the quote from The Experience Economy: “The best things in life aren’t things.”
What we saw during the pandemic was an unpredicted surge in demand for elective procedures. The ARSC reported that LASIK is up 30%, and mainstream news as well as my own conversations with surgeons indicate that demand for aesthetic procedures is booming.
We've Got a Surge in Demand, Now Here's How to Use It.
This is about more than just having income to spare. The anxiety created by the pandemic caused people to examine in new ways what’s important to them. Practically speaking, masks interfere with glasses and people didn’t like the way they look on Zoom. When you match up these problems to the multitude of benefits offered as solutions by elective procedures, it makes sense.
Now that we’ve got more people paying attention to how they don’t see or look or feel as good as they’d like, this is the time to invest in making the overall experience better and not leaning so heavily on the clinical or surgical outcome. It’s the proverbial call to make hay while the sun is shining, so that we see the rise in demand become a lasting trend and not a fizzle-out fad.
There’s a sense I have about what’s taking place throughout society that seems like an openness to change among individuals of all age groups. One can identify any number of contributing causes – politics, public health, climate change, social justice – but make no mistake that all combined are causing people to re-examine priorities, especially when it comes to spending.
People want to spend money. And if you want them to spend it strategically with you, then it makes a great deal of sense to make sure you have the ability to deliver on patients’ expectations when it comes to the overall experience. Yes, the experience should be so good that they don’t think twice about the money they spent.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How long does it take to get an appointment with you? If more than 2-3 weeks, what are you doing to alleviate the backlog?
- When was the last time you updated content on your website? Does it reflect the post-Covid environment?
- How much time do you want patients to spend with your practice? Time is the currency of experiences and is more valuable than money itself.
Your training, technology and offerings can all be replicated by others. The experience you offer cannot; it is yours and unique to your practice.