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Entries in Skin Clinic (19)

Wednesday
Oct212009

Medical Spa Lesson: The least recommend way for handling your medical spa PR problems.

Note: The identities that were in this post have been changed but the events are all as described.

A Medical Spa chain is not happy with what someone else has posted about them in the community forums of this site.

The negative comments are directed at one of the management team. I became aware of this medical spas concerns a few days ago after I received a string of emails from the medspa chain's 'CS Manager'. (Im guessing that CS is short for customer service.)

I can certainly understand why this medical spa is unhappy. Evidently the individual named in the comments was previously part of a failed franchise called Skin Nuvo and was one of three Skin Suvo operating officers who was sued by the SEC for 'Swindling investors of $11 million'. However, charges against the individual in question were dropped.

Here's an excerpt on the Skin Nuvo suit from the San Francisco Chronicle article:

Three men, including a Concord resident, were sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday on charges that they swindled more than $11 million from investors in a skin-care business that later filed for bankruptcy.

..."Skin Nuvo was projecting a glamorous image with their stores in very flashy and high-end malls, but beneath the surface, the company was in deep financial trouble," said Michael Dicke, an SEC supervising attorney.

Skin Nuvo, based in Henderson, has since filed for bankruptcy. During the alleged fraud from 2002 to 2004, the company's Bay Area stores -- which sold skin care and hair removal products -- were located in shopping malls in San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Concord, Corte Madera and Walnut Creek.

The SEC suit seeks to bar the men against any future violations of securities laws, a civil monetary penalty and the recovery of any ill-gotten gains.

So here's some of the emails that I received, and my response, over the course of the next three or four days. They start with an email from S.H. the CS (Customer Service?) Manager.

First email: S.H. of Nu U

Subject: Slanderous blog agiainst N.V./___ Medspa
Message: I need to speak with someone ASAP re: several slanderous remarks that have been made on your forum against N.V., owner of _____ Medspa.
Please contact me at 702-xxx-xxxx to discuss.

Thank you,
S.H.
CS Manager

My same-day response to S.H.:

Hello S,
What can I do for you?

S.H. want's to talk immediately. He's entirely too irate to just communicate that a comment may have gone over the line and violated Medical Spa MD's own terms. No, S.H. want's to talk. Now. Here's the next two emails:

Is it possible to call you?  Too much to put in an email.

S.H.

Jeff – there is a blog on your website re: N.V., owner of _____ Medspa.  The blog is dated 3/4/09 and is authored by “_____ Isn’t For You”.

The blog states Mr. V. only hires attractive females and then tries to date them / makes sexual advances towards them.  It goes on from there.

This is slanderous and libelous and a complete and total lie!  I am formally requesting this particular blog entry be removed immediately.  If you are unwilling to remove said blog then I will forward onto my legal department for further handling.  Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

S.H
CS Manager
_____ Medspa

I got another email amost immediately. Evidently my inability to grasp just how urgent this issue is and my lack of action in removing an anonymous post is getting under S.H's' skin. He dicides to forgo any more niceities and threaten me with his 'legal department'. Ouch. Here's S.H's next email.

This is slanderous and libelous and a complete and total lie! I am formally requesting this particular blog entry be removed immediately. If you are unwilling to remove said blog then I will forward onto my legal department for further handling. Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Have to give it to S, he's a silver-tongued devil. I mean, having an entire 'legal department' set on my like wild dogs? Terrifying.

So now I'm dealing with the 'legal department'. Here's what they sent.

Our firm, Kamensky Rubinstein Hochman & Delott, LLP, represents ___ medical spas.

Our client has informed us of various outrageous and defamatory blog postings/comments made on your website http://www.medicalspamd.com/ that impugn the character of Mr. N.V. of ___, specifically postings from "___ Isn't For You!" dated 3/4/09 and 4/10/09 and "former skin medique employee" dated 3/25/09.

In the March 4, 2009 posting, "__ _ Isn't For You!" falsely states that Mr. V only hires attractive females and then tries to date them or makes sexual advances towards them. In addition, "__ _ Isn't For You!" falsely states that if such sexual advances are not accepted, the employee does not get paid. In addition, in "__ _ Isn't For You"'s April 10, 2009 posting it falsely accuses __ _ of "multiple violations of state and federal labor laws, multiple instances of unwanted sexual advances and harassment." Similarly, "former skin medique employee" falsely states that Mr. V is "crooked," a "con artist," and "shady" and further falsely states that "if N.V. is involved . . . It is a scam from the word go."

This is not the type of content expected from a thoughtful website regarding medspas. Accordingly, we request that you immediately remove the postings posted by "__ _ Isn't For You!" dated 3/4/09 and 4/10/09 and "former skin medique employee" dated 3/25/09. We also request that you provide us with the names and all information in your possession relating to "__ _ Isn't For You" and "former skin medique employee."

Now isn't that nice? Within something like 72 hours we've progressed from a simple email request to this Medical Spas' demand that I turn over information on individuals who've made negative comments about them. This medical spa went from trying to get a single comment removed, to making the front page of Medical Spa MD. (Medical spas usually have to pay for that privledge.)

Of course this may not be the kind of publicity that __ _, S.H, and N.V wanted. I can't think that this medspa would really want the fact that one of their corporate officers was once sued by the SEC. But with the nasty-grams that S and his legal department are sending me it made me wonder what all the hubbub's about.

__ _ Medspa: Lessons for S.

Let me take a moment here and discuss what I think S could have done that would have better fit his medical spas business needs.

First: Don't take it personally. Every medical spa is going to have unhappy patients and ex-employees. You can't shut them up. Don't try. Perhaps they're unhappy for a reason. Your best bet is to engage in civil conversation. If you're making decisions on behalf of your medical spa or laser clinic, you need to keep your emotions out of the way. You're going to have dissagreements and sometimes they'll get personal. Don't let it affect your 'actions'. Medical Spa MD doesn't have any interest in harming this medical spa and no Medspa MD author wrote those comments.

But I wasn't responding fast enought to S and he took that as a slight. It wasn't. I don't know S and my first response, 'how can I help you', was an invitation for him to lay out his case. He didn't take advantage of that. Instead he lost focus on what he was trying to accomplish.

Second: Focus on your goal. Sean's goal was simply to get me to remove a comment. It's not unreasonable. I've done it before. I've removed any number of comments that attacked individuals in a way that had nothing to do with their business and was just an attempt to hurt them personally. I don't like those attacks and when I find them, I often remove them and at times, block an IP address so they can't make more.

S lost sight of the goal which was to get a comment removed. Instead, he switched his goal to getting to me. If he'd not been so agressive he'd probably have gotten the offending comment edited or removed. Instead, S pulled a gun by threatening me with his 'legal department'.

Third: Never pull a gun unless you intend to use it. S went nuclear when he had his 'legal department' fire off a demand. If S was smarter, he would have done his homework and seen that Medical Spa MD has been threatened many times by medical spa francises and their lawyers and knows well how to handel cyber-slap lawsuits. Read this Medical Spa MD post on cyberslap lawsuits, legal rights and anonymous comments on the web.

S went 'legal team' way, way too fast. I wasn't being unreasonable. I didn't tell him to 'go to hell'. It just wasn't at the top of my list of things to do. Medial Spa MD can get twenty or thirty contacts a day. I could care less that S demands to talk to me on the phone right away. Get in line. A single anonymous comment doesn't rise to the need of emergency care. S would have done much better with a simple, "I know you're busy" and a written explianation of his need to get a medspa comment removed.

__ _ Medspas legal team doesn't have a leg to stand on demanding information about people who comment on Medical Spa MD either. Anyone has a perfectly legal right to post anonymously on the web. Comments on Medical Spa MD are most commonly anonymous for exactly that reason. Physicians don't want to be held liable for the advice they give to other doctors, and laser technicians working at some laser clinic franchise don't want to lose their job.

Last: Never pull a gun on the person holding the mic. If you don't know what that means... From the begnning, S is making demands and acting pretty agressive, but he's only got one weak pair of twos (his 'legal team') and he plays them right away. Now he's got nothing left. If he's emailing some ex-employee that kind of intimidation might work, but not in this case.

By threatening Medical Spa MD and myself directly he's chosen to make an adversarial relationship when he needed a helpful one. While I don't have any axe to grind against S or __ _ Medical Spas, I don't really appreciate this kind of interaction. Any new threatening communications S or his 'legal department' they'll be posted right here on Medical Spa MD's front page where our 50,000 monthly visitors can decide for themseleves. (I can't think that any named Medspa's physicians will welcome questions about it.)

So where does that leave Medical Spa MD and __ _ medical spas?

For my part I'll put a quick notice up on the Medical Spa comments and take a look at them sometime in the next few days. If there's something that violates our terms, I'll edit or delete it.

I can't think that S has solved his Medical Spas business needs though.

Wednesday
Mar252009

Plastic Surgeon & Dermatologist Marketing Online: Is click fraud draining your advertising budget?

If you're one of the thousands of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, laser clincs and medical spas advertising online with Google Adwords or Yahoo, don't be surprised to find that at least some of the money you're paying every month is generated by click fraud.

Don't think it's happening to your skin clinic? Here's a quote from Michael Caruso, CEO of click fraud services vendor ClickFacts in an interview with Marketing Sherpa:

In some particularly fraud prone verticals such as finance, class action lawsuits and medical, ClickFacts sees rates in the 30%-45% range. These are all categories that see high keyword pricing in the auction model. That makes them particularly tasty for click fraud artists. “If you can make more money from the dark side than the light side of search, there are plenty of people who will take advantage. Plus, it’s not even technically illegal yet.

Two ways that your plastic surgery or medical spa marketing budget is being drained:

Competitors who see your ad simply click on it, draining your advertising dollars, or 'affiliate' sites are set up that run your ads where they are clicked on by bots or employees. These sites are the most damaging since you're paying for every click without any return. Click fraud for medical spas can be very lucrative since medspas are becoming such a competitive market and the payment per click can be as high as $4-5.

To keep your budget safe you have very few tools. Google just advertisers $90 million to compensate for click fraud as the result of a class action suit but you can bet they're not that interested in your individual account. Especially since they're making money from click fraud too.

Start by limiting your exposure to click fraud. If you're still running an Adwords or Yahoo campaign, they allow you to limit the maximum amount you spend in a day. Take advantage of this feature by limiting your maximum cost to what you can afford to spend. You can also look for the tracks of click fraud by examining the reports you might have available to you. Multiple clicks coming from the same IP address are a sure sign of fraud.

Malaysia has become such a haven for click fraud 'sweat-shops' that clicks generated there are completely discounted and Malaysian accounts for Adwords or Overture are not granted.

If you're going to run search ads, try to protect yourself. You can be sure that you're the only one trying to.

Thursday
Mar192009

1800LaserHair.com: Another laser clinic directory wannabe spamming Med Spa MD.

Ok, I'm more than just a little tired of some of the bull shit that certain laser clinic and plastic surgery directories spamming the site and posting positive anonymous reviews of their services and laser hair removal listings.

So, there are about to be some very public spankings.

Medical Spa MD has attained some popularity, and some clout with physicians running laser clinics. I receive regular iquiries from docs looking for advice on cosmetic lasers and I personally know of a number of doctors who have printed out reviews from Med Spa MD and asked cosmetic laser sales reps about them. There are laser companies who are now Medspa MD members and (to my current understanding) are welcome members to the community.

However, there are some cheap laser clinc and plastic surgery directories that think that you're an idiot and post comments like those below. (There've also been some physicians offering their 'expertise' as trainers who have tried this to promote their training.) Don't. You've been warned.

1800laserhair.com: I don't know if 1800laserhair.com is posting these comments as part of their corporate policiy or if it's just a rogue individual salesman who's doing it for them. I also don't care. My guess is that they're some small little hack job outfit. It pisses me off personal that whoever this is thinks that this won't be found out.

Here's an example of laser clinc directory, 1800laserhair.com who posted this rave review to Med Spa MD under the name Dr. Don:

I have the two Candelas yag alexandrite and a light sheer diode. I use a service tech that is awesome and reasonable. I can't remember his name right off but I got his name from this great referral network I belong to. Call 1-800 Laser hair ask for Nancy or go to their website WWW.1800laserhair.com There may be a link but I think I got the guys name directly from Nancy. His name is Robert something... BTW anyone slow or having advertising or marketing issues, I am getting tons of referrals from the 1-800-laser hair network. You have to meet their criteria, they are very picky and exclusive but if they will accept you join!!! Two colleagues of mine were denied I am not sure why. The leads are great worth every dime. I resisted their advice at first, them I put my wife in charge of all of it, she followed their program to the letter now we are so overwhelmed with calls for laser (Not really what I want to be doing but I better not complain because laser hair removal is supporting my practice through this crappy economy. Nice plug for them...tell them Dr. Don sent you...I may get some referral bonus!! LOL

Back to Laser Hair removal service. I don't have a service contract. Don't get them. I regularly get laser check-ups. Robert (the service guy) calls my office when he is in my area. By getting him in when he is already in my area he gives me a break on service costs. I get the check-ups and do preventative laser maintenance. Also Nancy (the 1-800 laser hair removal lady) gave me a monthly weekly and daily check list that tells us how to properly maintain our lasers in between service visits. I have not had a significant laser repair cost in 7 years and I haven't had to replace a laser yet going on 10 years. After we got our staff to follow the checklist diligently we saw a significant drop in repair costs. My staff was going through thousands of dollars worth of parts yearly and I was watching our profits go to Candela, I too despise them. They have terrible service and they have been so shady. I think they would sell their grandmothers if they could make a buck!!! Their service contracts are totally over priced. bad plug!!

I really don't use the light sheer much but I keep it for a back up, just in case. Robert can usually fly in for emergency repairs next day. So I have never really needed it.

Posted As: DrDon

Posted Email: wtawtawdba@yahoo.com

Posted Link: www.1800laserhair.com

Comment Posted From This IP Address: user-24-96-114-40.knology.net (24.96.114.40)

I have to laugh at these claims of exclusivity. "You have to meet their criteria, they are very picky and exclusive but if they will accept you join!!!" Sure.

If I were Candela I'd be contacting my legal department about now. This is a perfect case of liable; posting damaging comments as fact under an assumed name. Candella can't be happy that these laser hair removal guys are bad-mouthing them and servicing their lasers at the same time.

Does anyone fall for these laser hair removal guys? I'd be interested in hearing what any identified physician using 1800laserhair.com thinks about their "tons of referrals from the 1-800-laser hair network."

If anyone has an email from 1800laserhair.com that they have archived in their inbox, I'd be interested in seeing it since the IP address is included. We could compare the two. I'd expect that they change their IP address shortly if they happen to match.

PS: This IP address has been banned.

Wednesday
Mar112009

Laser treatment? Skin clinic? Who's in charge here?

It’s happened in Florida and now in Massachusetts. State legislators and physicians are trying to establish some guidelines and laws to protect the public from sustaining injury by unlicensed or untrained service providers.

We’ve read the of the lipodissolve horrors where people are offering lipodissolve, laser treatments and botox in their garage for heaven’s sake! It’s hard to believe it has come to this, but cosmetic medicine has turned into a “cash cow” for anyone!

I’m getting so sick of the turf wars amongst doctors of which specialty should be doing what... I mean seriously... can’t you all get along? Instead of fluffing your feathers to establish dominance over cosmetic medicine you should ban together to eliminate the bottom feeders who are performing services in their garages to protect the practice that IS cosmetic medicine! These are the people who are ruining your reputations! The unskilled, the unlicensed, money grubbers (and yes, I am also including lawyers here!)!

Let us also not forget that nurses and aestheticians are fighting over positions as well. There’s no certifying board for aesthetic nurses, or medical aestheticians. Here’s a funny story... when I started our medical spa with my husband years ago, I contacted both the heads of the nursing board and the cosmetology board. Since I hold both licenses I asked if I was allowed to perform a facial. I was told it’s a gray area. The nursing board said I could, in fact, perform a facial under the direct orders of a physician if the facial were deemed medically necessary. What physician do you know who will write an order for a facial? What physician wants to manage facials, and waxing, and massage, and the products which are dispensed? The cosmetology board said I could not perform a facial because the practice isn’t licensed or inspected by the board.

Huh?

With the economy the way it is, it’s no wonder everyone is jumping on the “medical spa” bandwagon! I mean, it’s like an ATM machine with no fees and no penalties. The perspective boards are all looking at each other and wondering who’s responsibility it is to be monitoring them.

The time is now upon us where legislation will take precedence, once again, on how we perform medicine and who may perform it. The powers that be will decide for us exactly if IPL is a medical device, or not. If the removal of a sunspot or tattoo can be removed by a physician, PA or nurse. Who may do cosmetic procedures, what training they must have and what certifications must be obtained prior to plucking an eyebrow (I digress, but you get my point).

Although we agree that certain treatments be performed or directly supervised by a physician, the fact is, there are many other services that aren’t deemed medical in nature. Should a physician be controlling those as well?

No current board has jurisdiction over all professions within a medical spa or laser clinic so, most likely, a new board will emerge with regulations, standards and licensing fees to add to our current practice.

It will take a few years to establish a task force and develop legislation for most states. But when all is said and done, what will arise is higher fees for service for the client, more inspectors showing up on our doorstep, higher licensing fees and insurance rates, and less control, once again, on how we treat our patients.

Are you ready for another government agency to take control of YOUR profession?

Author: Paula D. Young RN runs internal operations and training at Young Medical Spa and is the author of the Medical Spa Aesthetics Course, Study Guide, and Advanced IPL & Laser Training course for medical estheticians and laser technicians.

Submit a guest post and be heard.

Tuesday
Jun192007

Med Spa vs Laser Clinic: Analyzing your medical spa competiton.

Get to know the laser clinic and med spa competition.

 

Contrary to what some may say, growing your clinic or medical spa isn't a single event.

Successful clinics and medspas look for 'incremental wins' that compound over time. The key to winning market share is to differentiate your company by providing products, services or solutions that your best prospects will find more desirable than what's offered by your competitors.

Experienced marketers know it's easier to fill an existing need than to create one. Someone who is already using the type of product or service you offer is a great prospect because he or she has a clearly defined need and is looking for a solution.

The job of convincing qualified prospects to buy from you instead of your competitors' is where the real work begins. One of the first steps is knowing what the other clinics, day spas, medical spas, and others who might be competing are up to in your market.

1. Do some detective work. Ok, this is a little spy like, but don't think all of your competitors aren't doing it to you and it's just good business sense. Start by gathering your competitors' marketing tools and advertising materials. Read their web site, print and broadcast advertising, and articles in which they've been featured. Request their brochures, price lists and any collateral materials. You may also be able to do some mystery shopping, which will allow you to experience what these medical spas are offering and how their positioning themselves. You'll want to send your staff rather than visiting yourself if you want to avoid embarrassing situations. (Surface has had more than 45 plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other physicians attend our seminars over the last five years in this type of sneaky capacity. They're not hard to spot and often they're 'outed' by women in the audience. They're the guys (mostly) who are sitting in the back scribbling furiously while their estheticians sit up front and ask telling questions like, "Now types of sutures do you use?".)

2. Evaluate your "slant" competitors. Chances are, you have a lot more competitors than you think. In addition to real competitors, evaluate the marketing tools and materials of any businesses your prospects perceive as offering a similar set of products or services. It's very common for day spas to attempt to compete with medical practices by offering a few medical services from a NP or PA. Microderm is often touted as some sort of medical type treatment. OBGYN's, FP's, pretty much whoever is in the market or wanting to get in. Know who's saying what about you.

3. Focus on the message. Once you've gathered the materials, the next step is to analyze what's being communicated and how. Identify the key promises made by your broad field of competitors. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of "me too" marketing. There's so much out there that's mediocre or worse, you may find the majority of your competitors have similar messaging, with only a few front-runners showing anything approaching real positioning. (This probably refers to you but we'll work on that.)

After assessing the most effective messaging, look at the actual tools and materials themselves. What formats seem to work best overall? At this point, your competitive analysis will reveal whether your company is lacking any standard tools that prospects expect everyone in your industry to offer.

4. Find a unique spin. So now comes the 'look in the mirror' moment. You've gathered all the materials and have learned the key message points of your real and perceived competitors. It all boils down to this: How does your clinic meet its patients' needs in a way that is both unique and compelling?

To find the answer, consider not only the products or services you sell, but also how you operate, including any company-specific characteristics, such as a higher level of customer service or uniquely specific positioning. If you can't find a selling point based on your current service offering that will help you stand out from your competitors, use what you've learned in this competitive analysis to retool what you sell and how you sell it.

If you can't see any difference between yourself and your competitors, why should you think any patient would choose you? 

Wednesday
Jun062007

Skin Clinic & Stem Cells

Via the Times: Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells

bone01.jpgThe advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues.

If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. But scientists say they cannot predict when they can overcome the considerable problems in adapting the method to human cells.

 

Wednesday
Jun012005

Laser Clinic, Med Spa, Skin Clinic.... Got Strategy?

While often physicians starting medical spas think that they have a secure patient base that they can target, this often doesn't amount to mush and bigger competitor that has a longer history will continually be stealing their patients. So the only thing left is a keener savvyness on how the game is played, and getting to where you need to be before the guy down the street does.

Click to read more ...

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