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Launching a Medical Aesthetics Practice: Key Factors to Consider

Posted By Administration, 4 hours ago

medical spa staff

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Launching a medical aesthetics practice can be an incredibly challenging but ultimately rewarding venture. Before opening the doors to your practice, there are several key factors to consider, including, but not limited to, market characteristics, population statistics, competition, potential resources and personal drive.

Market

The status, pace and growth of your niche market is the most critical factor that will directly impact the success and profitability of your medical aesthetics practice. Take a pulse of what’s happening in your target area. Is the market already saturated? How many offices are currently in operation? How many have opened in the last five years? Are they expanding? What specialty treatments and services do they offer?

Identify practices that have demonstrated considerable success and learn from them. Take note of their infrastructure, marketing style, target clientele, etc. Your goal is to create a medical aesthetics practice that excels above the competition. There are a few ways to approach this goal. First, you can strive to meet the needs of your target clientele better than existing practices. This can be achieved by providing a superior patient experience: upscale office and treatment areas, knowledgeable and engaging staff, and personalized treatment plans. Conversely, you can strive to meet a new need in your target population by specializing in a new area or offering unique treatment plans. (Click here to read an article from Forbes about how to find and develop your niche market.). The key is to identify an area of the medical aesthetics market that is under-developed in your region of interest—and capitalize on it.

Population Statistics

Before launching your medical aesthetics practice, you’ll want to carefully and diligently define your target patient population. Where do they live? Where do they shop? Which restaurants do they frequent? Identify this population and research them extensively. Take note of their average household income and their average monthly expenditures on medical aesthetics services, among other expenditures. Consider what types of medical aesthetics services they are currently receiving and what types of services they might be interested in. Identifying and characterizing your target population links back to defining your niche market. If you can identify a need in your target patient population that hasn’t been met by the current market, you’ve accomplished the most important—and perhaps the most difficult—part of launching your new practice.

Competition

Identifying and understanding your competitors is a critical factor that will directly impact the success and profitability of your medical aesthetics practice. What types of services and treatment plans do they offer? Are there any specialty practices already in the market that have a main focus, such as body contouring? Be careful and diligent in your research. Identify three to five of the most successful offices in your area, take notes and visit the competition. How long have they been open? How fast are they growing? How many doctors practice in each? How extensive is their support staff? What is their patient retention rate, according to industry reps? By mapping out these details for each of your top competitors, you will begin to understand key elements you want to implement—or not—in your office.

For example, you might hone in on a particularly successful marketing strategy or identify treatment plans that maximize profitability in your area. By thoroughly examining the competition, you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes, streamline processes and shape a successful marketing strategy before ever opening the doors to your own office.

Potential Resources

Once you’ve identified your niche market and target patient population, you’ll want to make sure that the region you’re considering can support your vision. The area where you choose to launch is critical. It will affect your ability to staff, manage and grow your office. What are the local demographics? Your staff’s ability to listen, engage and communicate with your patients is among the most critical aspects that will shape the success of your office. This begins with hiring the right people and training them well. (Click here to read more about the LAER model I developed for effectively training your front office staff here.)

The accessibility of technical support for your medical equipment is another important resource you’ll want to consider. Your equipment and supplies will need regular and established maintenance and support to ensure optimal performance. Most laser companies offer a maintenance plan; however, while it is vital, it is also very expensive. How quickly can support personnel be onsite? Do they offer a loaner?

The potential for collaboration is one last element to consider before making the final decision on where to open your practice. Are there any practices in the area that offer services that would complement your services or specialty? Would a collaboration or referral system make sense? In some cases, it may be more beneficial to work with key competitors rather than against them. There may be an opportunity to offer patients a bundled promotion or personalized treatment plan that successfully incorporates the expertise of both practices. In this way, you are capitalizing on existing resources and building upon them to maximize your profitability and success.

Personal Drive

Your personal drive is another key element that will impact the launch of your medical aesthetics practice. This factor cannot be easily measured or analyzed, but it plays a pivotal role in the success of your practice, particularly in the launch phase. Undoubtedly, launching a new medical practice in any specialty requires not only expertise and knowledge, but also persistence and drive, in both the medical and business fields.

As the medical expert, you’ll be required to know and stay up-to-date on your clinical knowledge. This includes learning new technology, procedures and treatments as they become available, and implementing them in your space.

As the business leader, you’ll be required to make smart decisions and make changes that will support the growth and success of your office. This includes hiring and training medical and administrative staff, implementing efficient processes and protocols, creating and sustaining a successful marketing plan, and consistently achieving new goals in patient retention and conversion, ROI and room revenue assumptions.

Click here to take a look at some of the critical financial numbers that will affect the growth and profitability of your office. To launch and sustain a successful medical aesthetic office in the current market, you will need diligence, tenacity and a great deal of personal drive.

Launching a successful medical aesthetics practice is a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. Do you have what it takes? Do you have attainable revenue goals and the infrastructure, protocols and staff in place to get you there? Click here to download the assessment and complete Terri’s 10 Point Checklist.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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The Power of Patient Retention

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 6, 2019

patient retention

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Patient retention is a very powerful—and sometimes overlooked—way to rapidly expand your medical aesthetics practice. Why? Because once you’ve captured the interest of your patient population, the hard work is done. At this point, making genuine connections and encouraging them to take action are your primary goals. They can be achieved through engaging conversation, personalized treatment plans and intentional follow-up. Patient retention is directly correlated with how well your front office staff performs, their ability to educate and, more importantly, how well the consultation is conducted by the medical provider.

Is every staff member in your office engaging, direct and knowledgeable of the services and treatment plans you offer? (Click here to read more about the LAER model I developed for staff training.) Another key aspect of patient retention is related to your brand as a medical aesthetic office—i.e. the level at which you perform, as evidenced by a top notch facility, expertise, state-of-the-art equipment and marketing efforts that match the brand. Sophisticated and educational marketing materials relay a consistent message to your patient population—they should choose you for their medical aesthetics needs.

Why Is Patient Retention So Important?

Focusing on your current patient population is the best way to rapidly increase your profitability. Invest in high-quality staff, branding and technology, and gear these elements towards encouraging your current patients to take action. Research shows that increasing your patient retention by 5% increases your profitability by more than 25%. The concept is simple: your current patient population, including both new and established patients, has already expressed some level of interest in your practice. Your goal now is to capitalize on this interest, gain their trust and guide them toward taking action—whether that is scheduling a consultation appointment or moving forward with a personalized treatment plan that includes multiple treatments; this will do two things: ensure a better outcome and protect their investment.

Key Elements to Maximize Patient Retention

Engaging staff: Every member of your front office staff should strive to make a connection with your patients, both new and established. As outlined in my LAER model for staff training, it is critical that your front office staff listens, engages and responds to patient questions and needs. They should be proactive in their patient interactions. Ask a new patient if they’d like to read some new literature on the procedure in which they expressed interest. Ask an established patient if they’re interested in a new promotion that would extend their current treatment plan.

In addition to being proactive, your front office staff should be knowledgeable about all aspects of the treatments you offer and the aesthetics industry as a whole. Having had the pleasure of working with many practices, I know this is one area that is sadly overlooked. Staff members should know what procedures and treatments you offer, how they can be incorporated into a treatment plan, and how they compare to your competitors. It is critical that your staff is capable of discussing your technology and services, so that patients are encouraged to choose your practice over another. Patients want to feel like their needs are not only being met, but also being exceeded. This is what makes that lasting impression—the one that makes new patients commit to a treatment plan and keeps established patients coming back, year after year.

Consistent marketing: Be consistent in your marketing efforts. Find your niche in the market of medical aesthetics practices and commit to it. This applies to everything—from the font style of your website to your business statement to your appointment cards. Patients want to feel like they’re coming back to a familiar place when they visit your office or website. This familiarity is established by an inviting atmosphere, sophisticated décor, office-branded brochures and pamphlets, regular e-newsletters, and a streamlined and informative website.

  • Office space: The physical structure of your medical aesthetic office—including the building, exterior sign, interior waiting area and treatment areas—sets the tone of your patient’s experience. The waiting area is where your patient’s experience begins and ends. An inviting, sophisticated and well-conceived space can create a familiar environment to which patients want to return. Clean, accommodating treatment areas, equipped with cutting-edge technology, convey a clear message of expertise and professionalism to your patients. The bottom line is this: If a patient enjoys their experience in your office and receives top-notch, personalized care, they will return.
  • Technology: Commit to being the expert in your niche of the medical aesthetics field and acquire the equipment to make it happen. Align your passion and expertise with the newest technology and make it available to your patients. Patients don’t want to feel sold on any and every treatment out there, but if they feel that you are the expert in a specific treatment, and this is supported not only by your knowledge as a clinician, but also in the technology available in your office, they will be encouraged to choose you for this treatment.
  • Brochures and pamphlets: Devote a significant portion of your overall marketing budget to creating and maintaining office-branded literature. Develop brochures for each major treatment or service you offer, going through general information about the treatment, relevant technology and how your office excels above the rest. Include your office name, logo, statement and contact information on each brochure. Personalized brochures relay a sense of expertise and sophistication to your patients and encourage them to follow through with a plan of action in your office.
  • E-newsletters: Beyond office literature, it is important that you send out regular, informative and branded e-newsletters. Either monthly or quarterly, send a newsletter to your patients outlining new technology, promotional treatment plans, new staff and/or new expertise. Did you recently acquire a piece of technology that will greatly expand your treatment options? Did you hire a new team member who adds specific and impressive expertise? Highlight this information. Keep your patients informed and engaged. If they get the impression that your office is constantly growing, diversifying and moving forward in the field of medical aesthetics, they will want to choose your office. This will not only increase patient loyalty, but also will encourage current patients to try new options, leading to increased treatment appointments and increased profitability.
  • Website: Just as your office serves as the physical representation of your brand, an organized, streamlined and informative website defines your brand online. Make sure your office information, logo and contact information are visible on each page. Keep fonts and styles simple and sophisticated. Clearly outline the treatment and service options you offer, making sure the site is optimized so it ranks on the first page of Google during web searches—and emphasize what makes your office stand out among the competitors. Provide enough information to portray your expertise in the field while encouraging new patients to contact you for additional information. This will lead to increased patient conversion and patient retention. Your website is your virtual brochure—it’s the first place patients look so when they get to your site, so keep them there. Your website should generate more than 100 leads per month. If it’s not, something is wrong.

Personalized Follow-up: Your front office staff should make a proactive, regular effort to follow up with patients. Particularly after introductory or consultation appointments, when new patients may have unanswered questions or concerns, it is critical that your staff remains in touch. Make it a policy to check in with every new patient one week after their first treatment appointment to verify that the treatment was successful and to gauge their satisfaction. It is key that you address any patient concerns as quickly as possible. You want every patient to feel important; this is what will make them return. It’s important to stay in touch with established patients as well—inform them of any new technology, treatment plans or promotions available to them, and encourage them to take action.

If you want to quickly increase the profitability of your office, focus on patient retention. It cost eight times more money to gain a new patient than it does to nurture the ones that you have.

Schedule a strategy call with me and take the first steps towards optimizing your business and improving patient retention today.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Email Marketing Strategies: Targeted Newsletters

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 23, 2019

email marketing

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Once you have identified and attracted the attention of your patient population, it is essential to stay in touch. One of the easiest and most direct ways to do this is to send out targeted newsletters that inform prospective and current patients alike about new treatments, new technology in the field of medical aesthetics and special rates your office is offering. As I discussed in my blog on building an effective marketing program, once you have identified your target population, developing personalized marketing tools to guide them toward a consultation appointment is the next step.

Identify Your Patient Population

Identifying your patient population is the most critical aspect of a successful marketing program. Your patient population consists of current patients, new patients and prospective patients. To market to each of these groups effectively, you will need to first establish communication—collect basic contact information, including their email addresses.

Current/new patients: For current and new patients, the process of establishing a connection and recording patient information has likely already taken place. From the very first appointment, your front office staff should be engaging, be knowledgeable and work to establish a personal connection with each patient. (Click here to learn about the LAER model I developed for training front office staff here.) This includes collecting basic patient history and recording current contact information. If some patients are hesitant to relay their email or physical addresses, assure them that their information is protected and will not be shared with external parties.

Prospective patients: Establishing communication with prospective patients is a more challenging but equally important task. Consider what types of clientele you want to attract to your office and what types of treatments and technology might appeal to them. Find your patient niche and commit to it. From there, you can market specifically to this niche.

First, configure your website so it’s searchable to this population and create a page specifically for prospective patients. On this page, include concise and key information about your medical aesthetic office and what sets it above the rest. Offer information about a few key procedures and treatments you offer. Most importantly, include a well-defined banner that allows prospective patients to join your newsletter list by providing basic contact information, including their email address.

Attending and setting up booths at local, regional and national medical aesthetic conferences and shows is another way to secure and market to your prospective patient audience. This gives you a chance to market your office to a wider audience. Feature a sign-up sheet that promises attendees personalized treatment plans and special rates. Be sure to also assure prospective patients that their information will be protected.

To help organize your marketing materials and define strategies to market to current, new and prospective patients, divide patients into different groups based on their specific treatment/procedure interests, age and how many years they’ve been a patient with you (if relevant). This will allow you to personalize your marketing materials and send targeted newsletters to the right populations.

Select a Secure Email Marketing System

Practice-purchased: The best option—if you can allocate resources towards it—is to purchase a secure email marketing software for your medical aesthetic office. There are many solutions on the market to choose from, from simple platforms to sophisticated systems. Companies such as Campaign Enterprise offer business-level software for purchase that allow you to create your own database, tailor your own system and personalize your marketing materials. Click here to read more about this software. One of the advantages of this option is that you can keep all your patient information—including contact information—secure. No third party will have access to this information, making it protected and fully yours. This approach will take a greater investment of time and resources to fully set up, so you will need to budget for this expense upfront. You may also want to invest in training for key members of your office staff, to get the system up and running at full capacity. Once established, however, having a practice-purchased email marketing solution is the best option for the long-term.

Vendor-supplied: If you’re looking for a similar email marketing solution but for a fraction of the cost, purchasing a vendor-supplied system is the best option. There are countless options to choose from, so be diligent in your selection. Consider the size of your office, your budget, your desired materials and the types of patients you’ll want to target. Click here to read about some of the top vendor solutions. The advantages of this option include a lower cost, easier setup and, often, a lower startup burden compared to a practice-purchased system. Key features of many of these services include mass email capability, email scheduling and management, and formatted templates. You’ll be able to get this system up and running quickly, which means you’ll be able to reach your target audience faster. However, you may be limited with regards to the variety of materials you’re able to send, and you’ll have to pay per user, which can add up quickly. The main disadvantage to this option is that you’ll have to enter patient information into a third-party system. While many of these vendor solutions attempt to ensure reliability and security, your risk for patient data corruption and/or theft is increased. If you choose this option, be sure to review relevant HIPAA requirements to make sure patient data is as secure as possible.

In-house: You may be able to use in-house tools to manually create email lists, compile patient information and send out personalized marketing materials. This option will work in the short-term. Although it may seem like the most cost-effective solution, remember that this option will take more of your staff’s time and effort, and it requires constant attention, compared to practice-purchase and vendor-supplied software. As soon as your budget will allow, you’ll want to research and find the best professional marketing tool for your office.

Personalize Your Marketing Materials

Once you’ve identified your target patient population, organized their contact information and selected an email marketing solution, creating personalized marketing materials is your next step. The goal here is to make a connection with each patient. To prospective patients, create newsletters that emphasize what sets your office apart: medical expertise, educated staff and state-of-the-art technology. The key here is to make clear how your office stands above the competition. This will help you begin to establish a connection and guide prospective patients to come in for a consultation appointment. For new patients, you’ll want to send out monthly newsletters detailing new technology or services your office offers. Be sure to include special rates and information about personalized plans that would be available to them. For current patients, you want to maintain a personal connection. Tailor emails and newsletters to specific subsets of your patients. For example, you might send out information on the newest facial technology to patients who have expressed interest in these services in previous office visits or patient surveys. Through personalized marketing materials, you can establish and maintain a connection with your patients.

Follow Up

After sending out materials to your patients, you’ll want to strategically follow up. Reach out to new and prospective patients and make sure they’ve received all the information they need to make an informed decision about their medical aesthetic care. Invite them in for a free or reduced consultation appointment to get the ball rolling. Also, reach out to current patients and make sure they’re aware of new technology and/or treatments in the office, and answer any questions they may have. This also gives you a chance to record and address any concerns your patients may have, so you can be proactive in your service and offer top-of-the-line, personalized care.

Targeted email marketing is an essential component of a successful marketing program. To choose the right solution for you, schedule a strategy call with Terri today and take the first steps towards making and maintaining a connection with your patients today.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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How to Structure New Employee Orientation

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

medical spa employee

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Your team is one of the most important assets of your medical aesthetics practice. Each member of your team—from the front office to the clinical team, medical providers and consultants (if you have them)—should be well-trained, be knowledgeable and have a passion for the industry and their position. Building a top-notch team of employees begins with planning and executing an informative, comprehensive and well-conceived new employee orientation. Here are the elements of how to structure a successful new employee orientation—from preparation to on-the-job training—and some key points that will ensure your team is well-trained, informed and prepared.

Prepare

Ahead of time, make personalized packets of information for every new employee. Make sure all key information is included, from tax information, employee benefits, the employee handbook and all legal documents to the basics of how your office operates. Include system login information, a layout of the office, and detailed job descriptions. It also is a good time to relay etiquette and dress code expectations, so any questions or concerns can be addressed before the new employee’s first full day. You may also choose to include job-specific e-training, so employees can get a head start on preparing for their role before their first day. Preparing personalized folders of information for new employees is the first step to a successful orientation. Not only does it help you build a more productive staff, but it also makes new employees feel welcomed and informed.

Assign a “Peer” or Work Buddy

To help each employee adjust to the systems and protocols of your office, it’s a good idea to assign them a “work buddy.” Preferably, this person will work closely with the new employee in their role. The duties of the work buddy include:

  • Making introductions to other employees in the office (front office staff, doctors, clinical personnel and supporting staff);
  • Making sure the new employee feels comfortable in their work space; and
  • Providing necessary resources and information about their job duties and general office protocols (system logins, meeting schedules, patient care, etc.).

Joining a new office dynamic can be intimidating and overwhelming. By assigning each new employee a go-to person within the office, you will ensure they feel welcome and integrate seamlessly into your team.

Give a Comprehensive Tour

Give each new employee a complete tour of your office, from the front office to the waiting rooms, procedure rooms and consultation rooms. Every employee in your office should know where to direct patients if needed and where to find necessary information, whether administratively or clinically. In order to offer top-notch service, each employee should be an integrated member of your team. This means knowing what types of procedures your office offers, the technology available, and a comprehensive view of the industry and how your office compares to your competition. You want each employee to know their niche in the office so they can excel in their role. The first step is offering a complete narrated tour.

Provide Access to Important Systems

In addition to offering introductory packets and a guided tour, you will want to make sure every new employee has access to your systems. If the employee will need to access patient information in their role, provide information about the patient management software and scheduling system used. Not providing this can negatively affect their productivity. If they can begin familiarizing themselves with the protocols and systems in your office during orientation, they will become productive members of the team much faster. You may also want to provide detailed information on new technology and services your office offers and make sure the employee can log onto vendor websites as needed. This way, they can take the initiative to really learn the technology your office offers, after hours if needed.

Plan a Group Lunch

New employee orientation can be overwhelming. To help make the employee feel relaxed and welcome, plan a group lunch on their first day. Order food from a nearby café or restaurant and gather in a neutral location, such as a staff conference room. Make sure a few people from each part of your office are included—front office staff, supporting staff, nurses and doctors. Not only can the new employee interact with and get to know other members of the team on a personal level, but they will also establish key connections that will help them in their role. The most important part of answering any question is knowing who to ask. This introductory lunch will assist in establishing those connections and help the employee feel more integrated before they begin their first full day on the job.

Offer On-the-job Training

As part of new employee orientation, you will want to introduce the new employee to the general structure of a normal working day. Beginning after lunch on the first day, make sure the employee is settled at their desk or office location and provide a few simple tasks to complete. The “work buddy” will need to be available and ready to assist in the coming days and weeks, if needed. Make sure the employee feels encouraged and supported to ask questions. (Read more about the importance of on-the-job training in this article.) Now is the time to make sure the new employee feels comfortable with the expectations of their role, is equipped with all the necessary tools, and can begin working as a valuable member of the team.

Follow Up

Following up is one of the most critical aspects of new employee orientation. Don’t expect the new employee to know their role completely before they have some experience. Generally, you should have the “work buddy” check in with the employee weekly. After one month, arrange a meeting between the employee and the front office manager or relevant supervisor. This is a dedicated time for the employee to ask unanswered questions. You also can use this time to gather feedback and ask the employee questions about the office, services you offer and technology you use. At this point, the employee should be familiar with their role and responsibilities, know the basics of your services and treatment plans, and have some background knowledge of the industry. Use this opportunity to give an informal quiz and make sure they are up to speed.

Having a knowledgeable staff is absolutely key to the success of your office. This starts with an effective and well-thought-out new employee orientation. Schedule a strategy call with me or download my 10 Point Assessment to learn about how to structure your new employee orientation today.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Consulting from the Patient’s Point of View

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

consultation

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

The first consultation with a prospective patient is undoubtedly the most important. Patients will form most of their opinions regarding your office during their first visit. From the aesthetic quality of the waiting area to the expertise and relatability of your front office staff and the provider, it is critical that every element of the patients’ consultation experience is impeccable. Much of their experience will be directly related to how well your front office staff listens, engages and responds. (To read more about how to successfully train your front office staff, read my article on the LAER model.) Equally as important is how you, as the medical expert and professional, are able to connect with the patient. Here are the elements of the patient consultation and the key points you will need to consider to successfully consult from the patient’s point of view.

Perfect the First Impression

The aesthetic quality of your office—the décor, ambience and overall tone—will make a significant impression on prospective patients. When they first enter the front door of your office, you want them to feel at ease. Your front office staff should acknowledge them immediately using their names, offer them refreshments and give an introduction to the office. They also should provide a pamphlet of relevant literature: the services, equipment and individualized plans available in your medical aesthetic office. This way, the prospective patients will be more informed and prepared for the consultation appointment. Further, they likely will form additional questions based on this information, which will incite conversation and give you an opportunity to connect with them during the consultation appointment.

Connect

Making a connection with the patient is critical. Research has shown that making a genuine connection matters more than any other factor, including expertise and pricing. (Read this article from the NY times about the patient-doctor relationship and how this shapes medical care.) Establishing a connection begins with your front office staff. They should strive to connect with patients even before the formal consultation begins. By making conversation and finding common ground—similar interests or having kids that are close in age, for example—the front office staff members begin forming that personal connection.

During the formal consultation, it is important that the medical expert continues making that connection. This can be done by first listening to the patient: their needs, desires, reservations and questions. (This will be discussed further in the next section.) Make sure you devote enough time for the first consultation, but don’t overdo it—evidence has shown that if you spend too long with patients, they may assume you aren’t busy enough, and this can reflect negatively on their overall impression. The takeaway here is that you only have a defined amount of time to make a genuine, lasting connection with a patient. This often is what the patient will remember most when they leave your office.

Listen

While your natural inclination may be to provide prospective patients with as much information as possible during their first appointment, it is critical to listen first. Ask questions that will allow you to really get to know the patient: why they seek treatment, what types of treatment they’re interested in, etc. This begins with their interactions with the front office staff and continues during the consultation. The consultation should be a two-way conversation. This will help the patient feel more at ease, and they will feel like they are receiving personalized care. The patient’s input should guide your treatment plan: the services, technology and timeline. The goal is not to throw every treatment option at them, but rather to develop and fully taper an individualized treatment plan.

Relay Your Expertise

Every member of your staff—from the front office to the nurses—should be well versed in the treatments, technology and services your office provides. While your front office staff members may not know the science behind the technology, they should be able to relay key information about your services, how they compare to your competitor’s, etc. A patient wants to feel like they are in the hands of the experts. When you meet with prospective patients, explain the services to them with enough detail that they feel confident in you as the expert. Be careful to not oversell them or over-explain the technology. Relate the technology to their personalized treatment plan and explain how it will benefit them specifically. This goes back to making a genuine connection. If patients feel a connection with you and feel confident in your expertise, it is likely that they will choose your medical aesthetic office.

Follow Through

At the end of the consultation, a prospective patient may want to consider his or her options before fully committing to your office. If you have successfully consulted from the patient’s point of view, it is likely that he or she will feel confident moving forward and will follow through with a second appointment. After the initial consultation, move forward by developing an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan based on that first appointment. Make sure the plan is professional, clean and personalized. Meet with him or her in person to discuss all of the options, financing, timeline, etc., or send it via email and discuss it by phone. This will get the conversation rolling and encourage him or her to make a final commitment to your office.

It is essential to consult from the patient’s point of view. First impressions are critical. Make a genuine connection and carefully tailor your expertise to meet the patient’s needs and desires.

Click here to complete Terri's 10-point checklist.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Invest in Quality Internet Marketing for Your Medical Spa

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 11, 2019

online marketing

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Online presence is one of the most critical elements of a successful marketing program. In the era of technology, many—if not most—prospective patients will first come across your office through an Internet search. Your website must be eye-catching, professional and thorough. It should paint the complete picture of your office: individualized services, state-of-the-art technology and professional staff. In the first few seconds of accessing your website, prospective patients will form an opinion of your office. Therefore, it is critical to invest in high-quality website engineers, content writers and marketing personnel. (Click here to read more about how internet marketing ties into a successful marketing program).

With internet marketing especially, you may be tempted to find ways to cut corners and lower your overall costs. However, doing so will substantially weaken your marketing program and cut into your overall profitability. Invest in a high-quality, experienced marketing team to build a solid online platform for your medical aesthetics practice. The rewards will far outweigh the cost.

Initialization

Invest in high-quality website engineers or staff from the get-go. While you may be able to find companies to create a website for a low price, the product reflects the cost. And it’s far more complicated to scrap a website and create a new one, especially when you consider that it needs to be properly integrated into search engines such as Google. The takeaway message here is that you’ll spend more money hiring the right team to correct a poorly formed and developed website than you will if you pay to have it done right the first time.

Structure

Your website needs to be clean, professional and easy to navigate. Steer clear of flashy designs and complicated navigational tools. You want prospective patients to navigate your website with ease so they can quickly and efficiently learn about the services, products and technology you offer. Make it easy to return to the homepage by having a banner on each page. Keep in mind that many people will access your website through a mobile device, so you’ll want to make sure your website can adapt to any screen. Lastly, make your contact information easily accessible, either in the footer or in the main menu. You don’t want prospective patients to struggle to find ways to get more information or reach out to your office. Make it obvious. Read more about these and other ways to improve your website design in this article from the Huffington Post.

Content

Aside from a clean and professional design, the content is the most critical component of your website. It won’t mean much that your website is easy to navigate if the pages don’t lead to well-developed, informative content. Your website should effectively illustrate all the key details of your office—your services, technology and staff—in a consolidated space. This means you’ll need to invest in highly talented writers and content developers. Writers can either be hired in-house or contracted out. Either way, be careful in your selection; ideally, you want professionals with experience in both the writing and medical fields. Your website content needs to be original—not duplicated from a similar site—in order to be searchable on platforms such as Google. Well-developed website content also will contain robust inbound/outbound links, as well as searchable keywords, phrases and page titles. (Click here to read more about how to successfully incorporate SEO elements into your website content). The takeaway here is that the content on your website needs to be original, professional and searchable.

Link Development

High-quality content goes hand in hand with proper link development. Inbound links are like the gateway to your office—you want them to be logical, well-placed and natural. Ideally, the team you hire for website initialization and content development will have experience in link building. Beware of companies that sell inexpensive links in bulk. More is not always better—in many cases, these bulk-type links are poorly developed and placed on totally unrelated pages, negatively impacting your presence on search engines such as Google. The cost to repair this damage will far exceed the cost of having an experienced SEO team develop high-quality links the first time around.

Return on Investment

There are several important numbers you need to know to track the progress of your marketing program, as outlined in this article. As with every marketing avenue, you’ll need to know your internet marketing return on investment (ROI) every quarter. How many prospective patients first learn about your office through an online search? How many patients inquire about your services through website forms? These are key numbers that will help you determine your projected and actual ROI.

They’ll also help you plan for the future and tailor your marketing program to the times. For example, if you notice a 50% decrease in the number of prospective patients visiting your website, you may need to invest more in SEO and link development. An increased number of well-placed and tailored inbound links will lead to increased online traffic, contributing to your overall visibility. The idea is that this will ultimately lead to increased patient conversion. Keeping track of the numbers allows you to gauge the success of your online marketing plan and implement targeted changes to improve your online presence.

Online marketing is a central element of your marketing program. Invest in a high-quality professional team to develop and maintain a clean, informative and well-guided website.

Click here to complete Terri's 10-point checklist.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
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