Wendy Lewis presents part two of her deep dive into patient pain points

It’s not all about you. To be successful in a crowded aesthetic market, it is critical to understand your clients on a deeper level and build your brand around their needs, not just yours.

Although your definition of the specific pain points that your clients may relate to, some things remain constant for every service business. The products and services you feature should be geared to helping to address those pain points.

Whether you are managing a group of clinics, starting out on your own for the first time, or are a seasoned professional operating a successful medspa, you need to constantly monitor what your sweet spots are as well as the areas that need some improvement. So, put yourself in your clients’ shoes to anticipate what their key pain points may be, and note that they will always be subject to change.

According to Bonnie Marting, DNP, ANRP of Anushka Medical Spa in the Palm Beaches, FL, ‘We make it a priority to know what our customers want. In the competitive South Florida market, our strategy is to feature best in class treatments and a luxe experience. We offer top brands that are safe and deliver visible results, including ZO® Skin Health, RHA fillers, Hydrafacial®, Nova Threads, Sculptra® and a Cutera® laser that has been a workhorse for many years.’

Payment, process, and productivity

In most businesses, the key pain points for your customers are self-evident and they play a significant role in navigating your success. If you are not effective at communicating how your practice or medspa addresses consumer pain points, you may be losing clients inadvertently.

They tend to fall into these four broad categories:

  1. Payment: All issues surrounding price points and payment methods for products and services. This includes deposits, credit, financing, refunds, as well as treatment packages. In today’s marketplace, aesthetic patients tend to be shoppers and are keen to find ways to manage the costs of the treatments and services they want. As these services are mostly elective, in a competitive and crowded market consumers are empowered to shop around for good deals.
  2. Process: Your clients are looking for products and services that offer solutions to their everyday concerns. These may include lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, excess body fat, hair loss, skin ageing, excess hair, etc. Many practices may also offer solutions to medical conditions, such as scarring, SUI, breast reconstruction, functional rhinoplasty, acne, rosacea, veins, eyelid ptosis and more.
  3. Productivity: This category comprises problems where clients want an efficient or streamlined experience. These customers want to make the most of their time and resources. Millennials, for example, are keen to do everything online or on their phones in the fastest and most efficient way. More mature clients may be stressed when faced with chatbots and virtual consults that may be confusing for them to use.
  4. Service: Aesthetic clients demand a certain level of support to help them navigate the customer journey. The more simplified processes are in your practice, the better clients will be able to access all that you have on offer. They also tend to like consistency with staff and want to build a relationship with their provider. Frequent staff turnover detracts from the level of service and caring atmosphere these clients expect. For example, they want to bond with the individual who injects their lips or does their IPL treatments.

Identifying pain points

A good place to start is to identify the major pain points that arise in your clinic, some of which are universal while others are specific to your business. Develop clear messaging that explains how the products and services you offer will address these issues for prospective clients. Design a plan to convince interested clients, some of whom may be new to aesthetics, that your practice is able to reach and exceed their goals. These goals may include; consistent outcomes, 5-star service, menu of in-demand services, convenience, affordability, hours the clinic is open, comfort, nearby parking, and a long list of other attributes.

Consistent communication is a critical success factor in medical aesthetics.

Of course, one of the most compelling features today’s aesthetic patients are keen to scroll through is a gallery of your own patient photos posted on your website and social channels. However, I recognise that this is a very controversial topic, and is prohibited in some countries.

‘Our patients are very savvy and they often are already aware of the new technology that we offer. We feature a wide range of procedures, from minimally invasive to surgery. This enables us to match our treatment recommendations both to the needs of the patient and to their frequently expressed desire for limited downtime,’ says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bryan G. Forley in New York City.

He continues, ‘Many patients come through referrals but are not sure where to start. I spend time analysing their face and creating a comprehensive plan to address all of the issues we discuss. They may start with BOTOX® or fillers, graduate to Nordlys® for their ageing skin, and then go for RF skin tightening such as Facetite® by Inmode or surgery. Having a lot of tools to work with provides me with the ability to keep patients in our practice long term.’

The Qualtrics Healthcare Pain Index sheds some light on what patients really hate. Although this study was performed for medical patients, some of the same pain points ring true for cosmetic patients, but to an even greater extent because they are paying out of pocket.

One of their key findings was pretty basic; Patients don’t like “unpleasant waiting areas” even more than “long waiting times.” In fact, it was the single most cited reason people said they would refuse to return to a provider or facility in the survey. ‘Beyond returning to that specific facility in the future, the quality of the waiting room experience factors into one’s overall satisfaction with a healthcare visit,’ according to their research.

This should be an easy fix for aesthetic clinics. Take a look at your waiting areas with a critical eye. Do a walk-through with the whole staff to identify anything that needs immediate attention. Make a list of the ‘Do Now’ and the ‘Do Later’ tasks to be completed in priority order and try not to let the ‘Do Later’ linger for too long.

Other areas to consider, include:

  • Are the waiting areas overdue for a refresh?
  • Is free Wi-Fi available to clients?
  • Is someone charged with tidying up the restrooms throughout the day?
  • Are your patient areas designed to prevent COVID infections?
  • Does the seating arrangement provide some privacy, so guests are not staring at each other?
  • Is the front desk team professional or chatty and loud?
  • Are fees discussed in earshot of other clients?
  • Is there some educational information to browse through while waiting, such as a monitor with information about the clinic, an iPad with details about treatments offered, or a photo library?

Information underload

Consider your patient population, which will vary for most practices. How are you making it easy for new clients to find you and get the information they need to book a consult or treatment?

Let’s assume that all clinics want to attract more patients who fall into your main target group, without alienating any other prospective patients. Thus, you will need to cover all your bases to avoid solving a pain point for one group while creating a pain point for the other.

For example, it stands to reason that the pain points for GenZ to millennials will vary from GenX to boomers. Both target audiences are interesting in having the myriad treatments offered in aesthetic clinics. However, GenZ are much keener to adapt to virtual visits and online tools because they have grown up online. Boomers tend to prefer in-person visits, but they are quickly adapting to the new world order, if only by necessity. Thus, if you have a more mature client base, offer options to meet their preferences as virtual consults and follow up appointments may be among their pain points.

In general, most people prefer not to ask for help. To avoid ticking them off, create a customer service system that anticipates their needs, so they don’t have to ask for help. The more you can anticipate what they may want, the fewer irritated clients you may have. Adding a live chat or chatbot to your website offers the option of not tying up a phone line or being stuck on hold during the busiest times of the day.

Another common issue we come across is too little or outdated content on websites and blogs for aesthetic practices. Every page on your site should have a minimum number of words of valuable, educational content for visitors to digest. This task can be daunting to many practitioners who try to manage their online presence entirely in-house. It is best practice to engage with an expert online marketer who can keep your channels updated and stay on top of the constant algorithm changes thrown at us from Google, Meta, etc.

According to Ran Berkman, Founder of Webtools, a global digital marketing firm, “In general, we recommend to clients that the minimum content for a website page should be around 700 words and up to about 1900. More is more, depending on the topic. The main goal of website content is to get your message across efficiently so that readers will take the next step, such as book a consult or stay on to explore additional pages. Include a table of contents on long pages to help visitors quickly navigate to the portions they are most interested in. Be sure to use numbered lists, bulleted points, subheaders, and bolded text to make pages easy to read.”

Removing obstacles for clients to make the process of appointments, scheduling, payments, cancellations, aftercare and follow up visits. If it is simple and intuitive, prospective clients are more likely to spend time on your site and channels and book an appointment.

Get to know your clients

To understand the changing needs and preferences of your clients, get to know them on a deeper level. You may be surprised at how savvy they are. You may also learn that what is really important to them is not what you thought.

Consistent communication is a critical success factor in medical aesthetics. The more you understand your clients, the better you will be at servicing their needs. You will need to judge the specific intervals that your clients are happy with in terms of eblasts, texts, etc. For example, monthly may be fine, but weekly may be overkill for some of your clients.

Reviewing your analytics on all platforms offers definitive intel on your clients’ behaviour so you can finetune your marketing strategy. The analytics of the platform you are using to send eblasts, for example, should provide all the evidence you need to determine the open rate, rate that clients are opting out, and rate that they are sending these to a friend.

Don’t just satisfy; delight your clients

To build a successful aesthetic brand, you must strive to convince your target audience that you can deliver the solutions they need.

Use your own experiences to think like your customers and consider how you could alleviate their pain points. Anticipate the pain points your clients may experience and address them before they even become a problem.

Improving customer service reduces staff costs and improves efficiency. The closer you pay attention to your clients’ well-being, the more expedient it will be to identify, predict, and manage potential roadblocks to keep them in your practice for the long term.

A client-centric philosophy will help to address potential pain points before they become problems that can cause a steady bleed of clients going to your competition.

Brands Built on Addressing Pain Points

Think of some of the most successful startups in recent years and why they made it

Uber is a great example. Uber zeroed in on an unmet need and jumped on it. Travis Kalanick recognized that people didn’t want to wait for buses, trains or taxis, so he came up with an idea to enhance the travelling experience. The company focused on people’s needs for everyday travel and offered a solution for an efficient and hassle-free travelling experience to customers1. They changed the way we get from place to place. We can choose from a sedan to a motorcycle or a Tesla® in some locations. We can have our favourite foods turn up in minutes at the door. Payment is automated in case you left your wallet at home, and they continue to add more services and buy more brands.

Another success story is Airbnb. It was launched in 2007 when the two founders moved from New York to San Francisco and noticed a shortage of hotel rooms during a design conference. They jumped on the opportunity to make some cash by renting out their space. It took years for them to get funding and even longer to make a profit, but their idea eventually paid off. Today Airbnb is worth about $78 billion.

The moral of these startups is that great ideas often involve looking for a solution to a common problem and giving people what they need/want is a smart business strategy2.


  1. Uber – How did this Ride-Hailing Giant Make It To The Top? Start up Talky. Available at: https://startuptalky.com/uber-story/ [last accessed 16 May 2022]
  2. Airbnb Net Worth 2018-2022 | ABNB. Macrotrends. Available at: https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/ABNB/airbnb/net-worth [last accessed 16 May 2022]