3 Traits of the COVID-19 Consumer

While aesthetic businesses across the globe are hard at work trying to mitigate the financial hardships resulting from government-mandated closures, another less obvious — though equally important — challenge is emerging from the pandemic: Accommodating a new consumer climate.

COVID-19 has brought on many unexpected changes — some good, like air pollution dropping by 60% in Portland, while others not so good, such as weight gain and skyrocketing unemployment levels. Consumer attitudes have also changed as a result of the pandemic, and how your business fares will largely depend on your ability to adapt to your consumers’ shifting values. Here’s a look at three anticipated shifts in consumer expectations, and how you may need to adapt.

Personalized care
“Maintaining a good patient-practitioner relationship has never been so important,” writes Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance, in reference to a survey they conducted in March on how COVID-19 is affecting aesthetic practitioners. In the survey, aesthetic practitioners voiced several concerns about the future, including fears of facing a reduced client base due to financial hardships, and aesthetic treatments taking a lower priority in light of all the recent life-changing stressors we are facing.

Writes Hamilton Fraser: “The most popular measures being taken by practitioners to mitigate against the effect of COVID-19 include phoning clients to reschedule at a later date (66.03 per cent) and planning for welcome offers for when customers can return to their clinics (28.31 per cent).”

Calling clients to reschedule seems like a no brainer, and it’s a job typically relegated to the receptionist — but you may want to rethink that. “When you are phoning clients to reschedule, it’s a vital opportunity for you to establish a rapport and good will with your patients,” says Francis X. Acunzo, CXO of medspa810. “Ask your clients, ‘How are you doing?’ While you’re not their therapist or primary care physician, you can still be a part of their crucial support network. Checking in with your clients helps them feel cared about and connected to your practice in a way they might not have been before. It also shows them that you care enough to take the time for them, and that your business is about more than just the bottom line.”

Accountability
Industry researchers are also finding that consumers want to know how your business is responding to the pandemic and what you are doing to keep them safe. “It’s clear that current and future consumer buying decisions will be affected by how brands respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” writes Brittany Tam, a consultant at Hill Knowlton, an international public relations company with over 80 offices worldwide, in a recent article entitled, “How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Behavior + Purchase Patterns.” Tam’s article explains COVID-19’s impact on Canadian consumers, but the attitudes are transferable. Specifically, COVID-19 consumers expect businesses to adapt to current challenges, even if it means losing money. Additionally, consumers expect brands to help them with today’s challenges and communicate transparently while also giving back to the crisis.

This sounds like a tall order for businesses indeed, but aesthetic practitioners can rise to the challenge in surprisingly simple ways. Acunzo, who in addition to serving as CXO at medspa810 is also the owner and CEO of Acara Partners, a leading marketing and business development agency specializing in the aesthetic vertical, advises creating a page on your website that is devoted to the COVID-19 safety protocols you are implementing at your practice. In addition, Acunzo advises that practices maintain a consistent presence on social media (and with emails) with messages centered around service and all the steps you are taking to help clients, including wellness tips, special pricing, expanded hours, inspirational sayings, hands-free payment options, sanitizing stations and more.

Going the extra mile
As availability for products and services has plummeted, so too has brand loyalty, according to Hill + Knowlton’s survey. Does this mean that aesthetic business owners will need to work extra hard to cultivate their own patient loyalty? The answer is yes, but this has always been the case, according to Acunzo. “It’s a competitive industry, and to survive, you need to stand out by delivering the highest quality of care and service possible.” Offering personalized care and providing special discounts and/or payment plans are just a few ways to improve a client’s quality of life during these difficult times. “Anything and everything you can do to show your clients that their health and wellbeing are your top priorities — and always will be — will help you sustain your business for the long run.”

To learn more tools for running a successful medical spa, please call 833.733.4100 or fill out our online inquiry form today.

Sources used in blog:
How COVID-19 Will Change Consumer Behavior + Purchase Patterns

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the aesthetics industry?

Study shows effect of COVID-19 lockdowns on unprecedented reduction in air pollution

8 very unexpected ways COVID-19 has affected medicine
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