Ahhh, younger patients. The “holy-grail” calibre of patients.
- 20+ years of potential service
- Multiple upgrade opportunities
- $30,000+ of potential lifetime customer value
They’re big fish, if you can catch one.
They establish longevity to your clinic, they’re often financially worth much more to you than an older patient (based on their customer lifetime value) and depending on their career/job, they may have great insurance coverage.
No two patients are created equally, and these younger patients truly are the crème de la crème.
However, here’s the kicker…
…most clinics are not particularly great at attracting them.
Unlike the previous generations, they’re very particular and look for a solution to work around their life, rather than them working their life around the solution.
Therefore, the question we’re tackling in this article is how you can attract younger patients to your clinic and protect your clinic for decades to come.
In my mind, there is three key things that you should be considering right now to make yourself attractive to younger working patients.
Let’s jump in …
#1 – Are You Actually Convenient?
In the small town where I live (on the outskirts of Manchester, UK) the high street shops are often complaining about how online stores are ruining their businesses, and they’re constantly campaigning for ‘shop local’ to save the high street.
Yet as hundreds of people get off the train from the city every evening, all these same shops are shut.
We have to acknowledge that if we want to attract younger patients that are still working full-time, then traditional 9-5 private practice makes it difficult for these patients to choose us.
For somebody to work with us, they would:
- Have to take a day off work to visit you
- Have to schedule days off work for follow-up visits
- Only be able to contact you within their working hours
The actual cost to work with you is far greater than just their investment.
It’s only natural and logical that these younger people would opt to choose a direct-to-consumer offering, or even prefer to visit Costco at weekends.
It’s easy to believe that younger patients are more motivated by financial savings, and so are therefore not visiting you, but I don’t believe this to be true. If we want to attract younger patients, we need to review how you can make yourself easy to choose.
For example, could you open late one evening per week? Could appointments be available on Tuesday evenings until 9pm?
You could label this part of your schedule as ‘Workers’ Appointments’ and ensure that your front desk know that these are only available to workers that cannot make your traditional hours.
Sure, it’s more work, but if we want to make ourselves attractive to these younger working patients, then we need to go through some temporary inconvenience to improve their convenience.
#2 – Pricing for the Future or the Past?
An average 55 year-old in today’s world is distinctively different than previous generations.
- They were 28 when Gmail was launched
- They were 32 when the iPod was released
- They were 46 when Gangnam Style took over the world, FFS
Yet many clinics still have their prices structured in a traditional ‘pay up front, out of pocket’ way.
For the average 55 year-old that pays for their car, their cell phone and maybe even their house on a monthly payment, you have to give consideration to whether you’re ‘up-front, out-of-pocket’ approach attracts or repels.
I’m not 55, so I can’t tell you for sure, but these are considerations we need to make, right?
The question is, could you create a pricing option that is more attractive to somebody that is yet to reach retirement age, may not have tens of thousands of dollars sat in their savings account, and prefers to pay for things on a monthly basis rather than up-front?
Many of our Inner Circle members have recently created different formats of monthly payments, ranging from an entry-level program called Better Hearing for Life through to a VIP Club that has patients pay a monthly membership fee, which grants them benefits including the ability to upgrade to new technology as often as they wish at trade pricing.
It’s worthy of consideration if you truly want to attract these younger patients. This doesn’t mean that you need to replace your existing pricing model, but it adds an option that will attract a different clientele.
#3 – Out-Smarting The Stigma
I strongly believe that one of the key things that prevents younger patients from visiting most clinics and preferring to choose a direct-to-consumer offering or visiting Costco is that most private practices are positioned (or at least perceived) to serve “old people”.
Consider that one of the biggest remaining stigmas that prevents many people from addressing a hearing challenge is the belief that they will look old, and you have yourself a perfect storm that prevents younger people from choosing you.
If your website and brand gives the impression that you serve old people, then it’s unsurprising that younger patients don’t believe that you’re their person.
Take a look at your own website.
- Does it show older people in the pictures? Does it have the cliché stock imagery of people in their 80s holding their ear?
- Is your story/positioning focused on helping people to enjoy their retirement/hear their grandkids, etc.
- Is the language of your site speaking to people like they’re retired (with “hear the birds in the trees” often being positioned as a benefit of better hearing).
If we want younger patients, we need to target younger patients.
The question is, how could you set out your website/brand to show younger people that you’re for them?
- Consider the photography on your website? What is the age of the patients in your pictures?
- Consider how you’re positioning the benefits of better hearing, are you focused on allowing patients to reconnect with loved ones, or to hear their buddies better in the bar/be more engaged in meetings, etc.
Although these are not the simple things to think about, we have to understand that if we’re not focussing any of our targeting on these younger patients, we’re indirectly saying that we’re not for them.
Look at most direct-to-consumer offerings, or even Costco; they make you feel young and cool for choosing them … Costco has Hot Dogs!
If you want to get serious about attracting younger patients (which are the highest-value patients that you can attract right now), then you need to consider if you have your stall set out to attract them.
Here’s a check-list to consider:
- Is it simple for a 55 year-old to work with you?
- If somebody is in full-time work, is their pricing options to suit their lifestyle?
- Will they feel their age by visiting you or be treated like a 85 year-old?
- Does your website/brand appeal to them or repel them?
I hope this is helpful.