Dr. Shehla Ebrahim - After Glow Skincare and Ambleside Dermedics, Vancouver

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Name: Dr Shehla Ebrahim
Locations: Vancouver, BC
Website: www.afterglowskincare.ca, www.amblesidedermedics.com

Bio: I am a family physician with a special interest in dermatology. I am the owner and founder of 2 award inning medi-spas on the North shore in Vancouver, BC. As a graduate of the University of BC, I began a career in family medicine in 1992.I am a certificant and a fellow of the college of family Physicians of Canada. Responding to the urgent need for dermatological care in my community, I pursued a diploma in Dermatology through Cardiff University. I have a flourishing focused dermatology practice which has enabled me to reduce wait times for the patients in my community.

What made you pursue cosmetic medicine?

Having practised Family medicine from 1992-2005, I started feeling unfulfilled in my current profession. Pharmaceutical based medicine was disenchanting, patients were never satisfied, and the energy was wearing me down. I also realized that I possessed creative and artistic qualities and it would be a winning combination to merge art and creativity, with science and technology of the emerging aesthetic medicine industry. I recognised that I wanted to be in control of my own destiny and the only way to do that would be to be in business for myself. In 2005, I took a leap of faith and opened my first location in North Vancouver.

Kindly give us a background of your clinic.

I am the medical director of 2 award winning medi-spas on the North Shore, in beautiful British Columbia. I have a full service medi-spa and my patient population comprises mainly of women between 45-70 who have a disposable income of 60,000 or more. Most of my clients are women who are interested in positive aging. Wanting to be the best version of themselves and wanting to look the best for their age. Both the clinics offer a complete menu of medical aesthetic services covering the face to the body.

How do you manage your staff members?

I always used to tell my staff that customers come first. Now I tell my customers that my staff comes first. We all know that finding and keeping good staff can make or break your business. I have a successful business model that has enabled me to keep the same staff for 14 years and that business model is to have:
1)    humility in leadership.
2)    To respect and appreciate my staffs need to have work life balance.Most of these women are young,have children and unlike the baby boomers like myself who make work our number one priority,,these individuals have priorities other than work which needs to be balanced.
3)    To run the business like a family owned business.
4)    To respect and value who they are and making a daily effort to thank them for their service.
5)    Build a team that buys into my vision of providing exceptional and high quality service with integrity and authenticily.

My staff is paid hourly plus commission. Generally, between 20 to 27$ per hour depending upon their seniority. Commission is fixed for some treatments at 125$ and others as a percentage of the treatments sold. Varying from 5%-20%.

I hire staff based on my intuition and their personality. Technology can be taught but personality cannot.

It has been my experience that people leave your business because of who they are and not because they were not valued as we are taught in business and HR management seminars.

Which light based or laser devices are currently in use in your practice?

I use a number of laser and light and energy-based devices in my practice. IPL, fractional, fully ablative, microneedling, ultherapy and coolsculpting. My favourite is IPL and Micro needling with RF and total resurfacing. Over the years, it has been my opinion that many devices are overpriced and underperform and do not meet the expectations that sales people promise.
I now look at buying second hand devices esp. for hair removal. There are a number of companies in Canada and USA that sell second hand devices which will then allow you to pay them off quickly.

What marketing strategies do you employ?

Marketing is the most difficult yet the most exciting part of my business.

Because the industry is very competitive, it is important to find creative strategies that will set you apart from the other clinics. Other the usual website that use SEO and SEM strategies, the best way to now market your business is through social media. This would include Facebook, Facebook live, Instagram, paid google adwords, blogs, newsletters, videos and you tube. Having your own video channel and regularly posting videos is a very effective and inexpensive way to market one’s business.

Which treatments and procedures are usually done in your practice?

The most profitable treatments are injectables and constitute 60% of my business. These would include, botox, and fillers.

Over the years I have dropped treatments that no longer serve me or my patients. These include laser treatment of veins ,nonablative fractional and some chemical peels. I have added other treatments such as PRP for hair loss and vampire facial. I have recently invested in female rejuvenation treatments and threads.

Please tell us any anecdotes you can share.

Aesthetic medicine is a fascinating and everchanging industry.

The most exciting thing about this industry is how rapidly things change and all the different treatment options available to our clients. Clients are generally opting for little or no downtime treatments that get them back to work faster and are willing to pay a premium for these treatments. From treatments that slow down the aging process to treatments that may reverse aging, such as recent advances in regenerative medicine. Harnessing the power of blood to improve the quality of one’s skin to using stem cells for tissue regeneration and minimally invasive treatments such as threads to lift the skin.

What pearls can you share to fellow physicians in the field?

Having passion is the number one criterion if you want to be successful in this industry.
Everything else will happen effortlessly and money will come wherever it is supposed to come from as long as you are first happy without it. Treat your employees with respect. Honour and always thank them for their efforts in helping your business grow.

How To Blow Up Your Clinic Online... In A Good Way.

Podium gets you more positive reviews that drive massive traffic... that's why they're #13 of the fastest growing companies in the US.

Check out Podiums offer for medical spas and cosmetic clinics.

Inc. magazine today revealed that Podium, the leading customer communication platform for local businesses, is No. 13 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. With a three-year revenue growth of 13,645 percent, Podium is the highest-ranking Utah-based company to make this year's list. To accommodate the company's continued rapid growth, the company also celebrated the official opening of its new 125,000-square-foot office with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today in Lehi, Utah.

"This ranking is a testament to the Podium team and what we as a company have been able to do in just four short years," said Eric Rea, CEO and co-founder of Podium. "Addressing a segment of businesses that was being left behind by other service providers, our continued growth and future expansion shows how the demand for heightened convenience is finally being met with our platform for thousands of businesses across the country."

Founded in 2014 and now working with 20,000+ businesses to create over 4 million customer interactions a month, Podium has quickly become one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the U.S. The company's new office will house its current 350 employees with plans to hire 400 more through 2020.

Reflecting the active and eclectic culture of the millennial worker, the new space was designed by Cory Sistrunk, who has designed offices for the likes of Apple, Adobe, Nike, GE, Dropbox, Google and North Face. Features of the office include:

A 2,000-square-foot gym, complete with CrossFit equipment, free weights, treadmills, stationary bikes and space for yoga and pilates classes along with a locker room. This also includes onstaff CrossFit, pilates and yoga instructors.
A high-end soft serve and Dole Whip station at the reception desk.
An outdoor regulation-sized pickleball court, multiple spikeball courts, a bike storage area and maintenance shop.
A floor designed as a bike shop, which pays homage to Podium's roots starting out in an attic space above a bike shop in Provo, Utah.
"If your company is on the Inc. 5000, it's unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice," says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. "The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn't change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives."

Not only have the companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 (which are listed online at Inc.com, with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 15) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2 percent, and a median rate of 171.8 percent. The Inc. 5000's aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Podium

Podium modernizes the way business happens locally with products designed to help businesses be found, chosen, and gain insight into their customers' experience. By conveniently facilitating millions of customer interactions, such as driving customer-generated online reviews and providing improved customer communication tools, Podium serves 150,000+ users across nearly 20,000 local businesses. Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, and founded in 2014, Podium is currently backed by IVP, Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Y Combinator.

5 Critical Areas Of Staff Training We've Learned From 17 Years Building Clinics

If you're not continuously training your staff and yourself, you're losing patients, profits, and devaluaing your business.

A while back we sent a survey to 472 physicians asking about efficiency and productivity in their clinic or practice. You may be able to fit your own clinic into these responses:

  • Over 9/10 of physicians said that their clinic operated at less than 80% efficiency, and 4 out of 10 said that their clinic efficiency was below 60%!
  • Physicians reported this "productivity gap" costs their clinic between $5k and $40k in lost revenue every month.
  • When I asked them what doesn't work, the most common responses: "lack of systems" (44%), "wasted time and effort" (50%), and "micro-management" (40%).

Yep.

The most common reason that physicians give for not doing anything? They don't know what to do...

And, if you are doing anything it's usually something like "Hey everyone... <insert-patient-name-here> told me that she didn't know that we're now offering _____ and that she had to wait 40 minutes today. From now on everyone should tell every patient about ______ and don't keep patients waiting without asking me."

I may have not got it exactly but every clinic member recognizes this type of direction.

You've also seen the results; piss-poor execution, patients slipping through the gaps, poor morale and feckless leadership... and worst of all; shooting your own business in the foot.

There's a better way, but it's not as simple as spouting a 'directive'. It involves some effort.

Where should you begin? 

I'd suggest that you begin with the Ultimate Clinic Operations Blueprint, our course on implementing systems in your clinic, but here are some general rules to get you started. (Also, watch the video all the way through at the top of the post for a better understanding of this.)

The 5 critical areas of staff training:

  1. Patient interactions
  2. Sales
  3. Safety and compliance
  4. Accountability
  5. Decision-making

A blog post is too thin a medium to detail everything needed in these areas (which is why we built the operations course), but here's a little preliminary guidance.

Employer Rule No. 1: Give employees ownership of real deliverables. In a clinic this often needs some preliminary work to implement measurements. I'm guessing that you don't know your average wait times or how many word-of-mouth patient referrals you're receiving each month.

 Depending on the kind of manager you are, you’ll either shy away from this because: a) you can do it better, or b) you don’t want to overload your direct reports. Either is a mistake. In my experience, most complaints I’ve had with any of my past employers have related to having too little to do, rather than insufficient salary/title/etc. Give your employees meaningful work, and they will rise to the challenge.

Insist on personal accountability. Yes, it’s scary to have people counting on you. It’s much easier to coast along behind the scenes. But admit it: it’s not very satisfying. Sloth never is. It’s much better to be king of an infinitesimal pond than a nobody in a massive ocean. Go for the responsibility, not the title. (I’ve made this mistake on several occasions, and each time I’ve regretted it.)

Employer Rule No. 2: Less is more. You really don’t need 10 people for two jobs. You need one. I’ve become a big believer in slow, organic growth in organizations. It’s much better to hire one person and stretch them thin than it is to hire 10 people and have them struggling to find sufficient work to keep them occupied.

 More is less. You don’t need more. You just need to work with what you have. The less you have, the more resourceful you’ll become — this makes us think like a real customer, who has to stretch a budget. Speaking of which….

Employer Rule No. 3: Every employee should be revenue-additive. This is the most important of them all. Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, once told me that he thinks business development is something every employee should do, all of the time. I didn’t believe him then, but I do now. Every employee should understand how she contributes to the company’s top and bottom lines, and should be held accountable for how she measures up. Everyone should be selling, developing product, marketing it, etc. No exceptions.

Employee Corollary No. 3: If you’re not making money for your employer, you’re a waste of money. If you don’t understand how you fit into the Circle of Life for your employer, find out. Or figure it out. But don’t just collect a paycheck. You owe it to your employer and to yourself to help defray the cost of your paycheck, as well as that of others’. The more revenue-driven we become, the more effective and the better our chances of improved future employment.

There is a better way that can pull you out of the micro-managing, hair-on-fire, unproductive daily grind and put you in a position where you're working ON your business, not IN your business. Take a look at the Ultimate Clinic Operations Blueprint.

As with any business, staff and personnel may have to undergo training to further enhance their skills and to give them an opportunity to learn new ones in the process. Medical practices should also partake in training, as it also helps grow your medical spa.

Customer Service

One of the best training you can provide to your staff is customer service. In many reviews given by patients, it seems that patients notice the service provided by the staff particularly rude behavior. Customer service training is also vital as this is one of the first things patients write about in reviews. 

Learn how to use patient reviews to grow your profitability.

Sometimes the case is untrue, but still, it would be best to train your staff with telephoning, emailing, dealing with patients as well. Your non-medical staff, especially front desk and reception personnel are your first line of defense, and the way they transact with your patients is a reflection or representation of your medical spa. You could be losing patients if your staff is untrained, so give them better training in that area.

Procedures

Every procedure in your clinic needs to be standardized. Patients compare every interaction and if there's an identifiable difference between treatment sessions or interactions then patients will tag one as "worse" than the other and make the patient feel that you're less reliable. The result is greater patient churn, less income, more resistance to buying and less revenue.

Marketing and Reputation Management

Marketing is not just going on social media and promoting your medical spa. There are several aspects of marketing you must remember for healthcare. There have been instances where medical staff and providers forget to abide by HIPAA regulations, and that could put your medical spa at risk. In that light, you will need to learn how to strategize marketing around HIPAA or Health Information Regulations.

Social media is your best bet in marketing your medical spa especially it gives you exposure. You could invest in SEO for your medical spa, as part of your marketing strategy as well. Reputation management could be considered a branch of marketing as it deals with your reputation online and social media as well. Make sure that you have the right software to manage your reputation.

Operations and Management

This is mostly applicable for medical owners and physician owners of the medical spa. Managing your team should be a priority, by delegating tasks, setting meetings, overseeing without micromanaging, aside from seeing patients. It could become taxing, but it is doable with training. You will need to enhance your skills in operating your medical spa or aesthetic practice smoothly.

Not only would training make them more engaged but your staff can be more productive in work. You can motivate your employees with training, and it will most certainly help them become more engaged in your medical spa.

You can find some of our training courses on our website.

When Your Marketing Goes Too Far: How One Dermatologist Got Suspended for Dancing and Rapping during Procedures

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Don't get yourself in trouble by failing to think through what you're doing and how it can damage your clinic and your reputation if something goes wrong.

You may have seen something about the recent case of  dermatologist Windell Davis-Boutté The “Dancing Doctor” who has been suspended for "negligence" after posting videos of herself dancing and rapping while performing surgeries. The physician used the videos to market her practice, where she was seen rapping and dancing, that it ended up having her patients file lawsuits against her with some of them claiming to be severely injured. (CBS article)

To get real for a second, this was a stupid thing to do for lots of reasons. Anyone who has been around for a while knows that it's not if you get sued, it's when you get sued since your patients have been pretty well conditioned to expect perfect results based on their own criteria.

The result: Dr. Davis-Boutté was sued by 7 of her patients and was forced to agree to a 2.5 year suspension of her medical license.

According to Gutierrez and Johnson (2018), there have been other instances like Davis-Boutté’s where physicians are singing and dancing while doing procedures. It causes immediate alarms to go off for patients, as physicians are expected to be focused exclusively on their care and the procedure. 

So what did Dr. Davis-Boutté get so wrong?

  1. She wasn't focused exclusively on providing the best care: Patients expect perfection from their treatment and if they're unhappy with the outcome in any way they're going to be looking to the doctor for answers. Any indication that the physician wasn't focused exclusively on providing the best care is immediately going to be the peg on which they're able to hang blame.
  2. She turned her patients into props: No patient really likes to be filmed when they're unconscious on the operating table.
  3. She made it public: Of course that was the whole idea. These were 'marketing' videos and they were produced and posted online in order to increase visibility for her practice.

While this went completely off the rails from the beginning for Dr. Davis-Boutté, there are some lessons to be learned. Here are a few things Dr. Davis-Boutté could have done to meet her goals without dropping a bomb on her dermatology practice.

  1. Use patients only for live testimonials: The social proof of happy patients is probably the best general marketing you can use, but they need to be aware of what they're doing and how it's going to be used. I'd suggest that if you're shooting live videos for promotion that you let patients "sign-off" on the final product before you actually release it. Make sure that patients 
  2. It's not about you: Patients want to be treated by a physician who's nonthreatening, caring and personable, and who puts them at ease, but they don't far beyond that because they're focused on themselves. Your efforts need to be focused on them as well. 
  3. Focus on what's actually important: There's only one thing that you're looking to have patients think about you if you're performing cosmetic treatments; that is that you're "the best" at what you do. Marketing campaigns that promote you as being the funniest, hippest, or best looking have no place beyond getting some initial interest. Successful clinics focus on outcomes for their patients and strive to earn new patients primarily by word-of-mouth.
  4. Think it through: All of this could have been avoided with a few simple "what if" questions were asked 

Below are a number of resources around the ethics of marketing physicians and procedures. In some cases it's a little head-in-the-clouds but remember that cosmetic medicine has really caused headaches for the medical ethics community.

Read more

Continuous Care. (2018, March 15). Ethics of healthcare marketing for physicians and medical practices. Retrieved from https://www.continuouscare.io/blog/healthcare-marketing-ethics-for-physicians-medical-practices/

Cătoiu, I., Geangu, I. P., & Gârdan, D. A. (2013). Applying Marketing Principles in the Field of Medical Services – An Ethical Challenge? Procedia Economics and Finance, 6, 449-456. doi:10.1016/s2212-5671(13)00162-7

Gandolf, S. (2014, July 22). 7 Dangerous Legal Issues to Avoid in Doctor Advertising. Retrieved from https://www.healthcaresuccess.com/blog/doctor-marketing/dangerous-legal-issues.html

Gutierrez, P. L., & Johnson, D. J. (2018). Can Plastic Surgeons Maintain Professionalism within Social Media? AMA Journal of Ethics, 20(4), 379-383. doi:10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.4.msoc3-1804

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011, November). Women's Health Care Physicians. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Ethics/Ethical-Ways-for-Physicians-to-Market-a-Practice

Medical Spa Pricing Strategies To Increase Profitability

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Pricing your medical services is a key factor in your clinic's success.

Your pricing strategy helps to determine how patients respond to you, and their feelings about your clinic. It's as likely that you're charging too little as it is that you're charging too much.

There are plenty of different pricing strategies; bundling, discounting, subscriptions...   let's take a look at a few and the research that can help give you a guide for what might work in your situation.

Before we start, let's settle on a point of view and the outcome we're looking for. In general, we're discussing how to maximize gross revenues. There are some strategies that you may employ with other goals in mind; for example you may want to work only 20 hours a week and so your focus may be on maximizing hourly revenue rather than focus on a total. That's an entirely justifiable goal and we'll discuss it and other areas around this in future posts.

For now  let's just begin with maximizing gross revenue.

Pricing High or Pricing Low?

In some cases physicians combine "lowest cost / cheap" with "value".

This is completely wrong.

"Value" is the primary buying criteria for every person and every purchase. The difference is that while cheap or the lowest cost is an external measurement that's easily quantifiable, "value" is completely internal and emotional. Value is personal.

Buyers who purchase high-priced services or pay more do so because they perceive the value from these purchases to be higher than cheaper alternatives. I many cases this is completely without merit but there it is.

So... economy pricing could be a hit and miss for your medical spa. With many reports of botched patients and reviews about horrible side effects and complications, medical spa may want to avoid the "cheapest" label for a number of reasons. The problem with being the lowest price is that there can be only one, and you can get stuck in a race to the bottom with competitors who are also pursuing a "lowest-cost" pricing strategy. And a patient who comes to you for price will leave you for a lower price just as quickly.

So, it may be that premium pricing is a much better option if you're able to execute. 

Break it Down or Bundle it Up?

For this specific strategy, you would need to consider different ways to implement this. Breaking it down refers to x number of treatments for this price per treatment. Example, you can price a  treatment for ___$ a session as opposed to using a “starting from” price implementation.

A bundle pricing strategy could also work for patients who need multiple treatments (e.g. laser hair removal, non-surgical fat contouring) or multiple procedures that could reduce wrinkles but if you break it down, patients could also see how much the treatment is per session as opposed to bundling it up. 

Bundling is a common strategy for treatments that require multiple treatments to see an effect and satisfy a patient.

The answer may be to do both.

Some medical spas utilize a “membership plan” method, wherein a patient is given an option to avail of similar procedures, for this certain price. This is essentially that 'concierge medical model' but it is an uncommon practice in cosmetic medicine, yet it’s something that has serious advantages.

Should it be a 5, 9, or 0?

Pricing with the ‘9s at the end is called Charm or Psychological Pricing. It’s when you dock a cent off from its perceived value. Grocery stores employ this strategy thus many customers, and many are enticed when they see an original price and see the lower priced amount.

However, it doesn’t work all the time. You simply can’t have all treatments priced $_99. 

The answer: price treatments differently.

However, consider the “psychological” aspect of the patient when they browse your price list. Round numbers like 0s work well for people who rely on emotions because seeing the number would make them “feel good”.

One of the most effective pricing implementation strategies online is a discount or "credit" on a first treatment inside a specific time window. Sumo (see below)has done their research on the matter, and found that most customers signed up after learning they could receive store credit, and that the company’s email list grew by 87%. 

Slashing off or Discounting?

The strategy works well definitely for costly treatments. Instead of offering a $4 discount for a $12/unit of Botox, better to have it as such: $150 off a $450 for a treatment of Botox. Thing is, for both examples, the price is just docked 3 times off its original cost. Patients tend to go for the $150 off as a larger perceived value.

For values lower than $100, go for an actual percentage.

You can have a side by side comparison of the old price to the current price by putting a slash on the old price, provided the old price is higher than the current one.

You can implement any of these at a time, but remember not to go overboard with it. Learn which strategy could definitely work for your medical spa, and which would be more cost-effective as well. For your medical spa to get more patients and leads, you may need to switch up your pricing or implement different ones at the same time and which ones receive the most profits.

Further Reading On Pricing

Ciotti, G. (2015, September 09). 10 Pricing Strategies That Can Drastically Improve Sales. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250289

Maguire, A. (2017, March 16). 6 Different Pricing Strategies: Which Is Right for Your Business? Retrieved from https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/pricing-strategy/6-different-pricing-strategies-which-is-right-for-your-business/

Moreno, N. (2018, May 10). 9 Pricing Strategies to Explode Your Revenue (Backed by Psychology). Retrieved from https://sumo.com/stories/marketing-pricing-strategies

Reeves, C. (2016, August 03). 8 Pricing Strategies To Use On Your Product, Service Or Workshop (FS124). Retrieved from https://fizzle.co/sparkline/7-pricing-strategies

Von Wilpert, C. (2018, July 04). Ecommerce Store Credit Strategy (Hint: 87% Email List Growth). Retrieved from https://sumo.com/stories/ecommerce-store-credit

Learn from The Past - Prevent Embezzlement in Your Medical Spa


Embezzlement and theft news for medical practices often happen, so why is it rampant?

Whether or not your practice has been affected by a previous embezzlement or theft case, you need to be wary about the security of your finances and data.

These are some simple measures you can prevent embezzlement in your medical spa. To learn more about other cases of embezzlement and not become a victim of it, you can sign up for this free course in our Training Academy.

How to Get More Positive Reviews

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Receiving one negative review can affect your medical spa marketing and sales?

Some clinicians believe that a couple of negative reviews are common and to counter that, you just need to receive more positive reviews. That’s easier said than done...

Some stats:

According to Vendasta, you get an 18% bump in sales when there are reviews that customers see. 

Based on Robert Cialdini’s research 77.3%, people are inclined to follow through with a favor when you ask them for help. Influencing your patients to leave a review will make a difference, so you should be making it a point to ask for reviews from your patients.

In an infographic by Website Builder, 84% patients submit online reviews to rate physicians. Review Trackers, on the other hand, find that most patients would leave a review after a negative review, and only 24.8% of patients will leave a positive review.

Here are the do’s and don’ts in getting more positive reviews.

Do Not: Disregard Any Review You Receive

You will need to find where most of your patients post about you, and start from there. 

Regardless if it’s positive or negative, you need to know where you receive them. As for responding, a simple thank you would suffice. Don’t get too carried away, choose your replies. Reply only to around 25-60% of reviews that are 3 stars and up.

However, if a negative review surfaces, it’s better to contact them directly offline than engage with the patient any further.

Do: Claim Your Listings

As such, wherever you have a listing, claim it. 

Facebook, Yelp, and Google are the best platforms to have reviews for business in general, and in Website Builders, ZocDoc, RateMD, and Healthgrades are the top 3 review sites for physicians. So you can have at least SIX different websites to have a listing on. Up to you then, which would be strategic on your part.

Do Not: Depend on One Review Page

If you want patients to come to your medical spa, then you will need visibility. Google is definitely your best bet to be noticed, although it would take a while, with some traction from other sites, you are on your way to acquiring new patients. 

You may need to consider Google Reviews as your primary channel for reviews. Through Google My Business, you can control the reviews that you receive from your patients. You would easily be found via Google provided you have complete information (i.e. website, schedule, contact details, and reviews).

Do: Add a Testimonials Page on your Website

Another channel where you can post reviews is on your website. These could be in a form of testimonials or reviews from other sites. Many physicians apply this strategy, and it is effective because it could also help arouse more interest in you and your medical spa. Adding a testimonials page would also add value to your website.

Do Not: Resort to Posting Fake Reviews

Posting fake reviews are definitely a no-no. You can detect fake reviews if there is no pro and con, if it uses uncommon terms, and if multiple reviews come in a short amount of time. Don’t be afraid to ask from reviews from your patients, even if they are family or friends.

Do: Automate Your Reputation Management

There are many reputation management software in the market, and if your medical spa does not have one yet, you may be missing out. Many businesses have seen an influx of reviews ever since installing a software. Not only that, you could control the reviews you receive and prompt the patient to write a review 

Medical Spa MD’s partner in Reputation Management -- Podium -- is in and has helped businesses receive more reviews. Your medical spa can benefit greatly by saving $1257 when you are a member of Medical Spa MD.


Supporting research and reading:

Bassig, M. (2017, August 04). Patients More Likely to Review Their Doctors After a Negative Experience. Retrieved from https://www.reviewtrackers.com/patient-reviews-doctors/

Bassig, M. (2018, April 04). Did You Know? 67 Percent of All Yelp Reviews are 4 or 5-Star Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.reviewtrackers.com/know-67-percent-yelp-reviews-4-5-star-reviews/

Bloem, C. (2017, July 31). 84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here's How to Manage What They See. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/84-percent-of-people-trust-online-reviews-as-much-.html

Bonelli, S. (2017, February 08). 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked. Retrieved from https://searchengineland.com/70-consumers-will-leave-review-business-asked-262802

BrightLocal. (n.d.). Local Consumer Review Survey | The Impact Of Online Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/

Christopher, E. (2017, June 14). 5 Proven Ways to Get More Customer Reviews On Google and Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295655

DashBurst (2017, November 02). Why Positive Reviews are So Valuable to Small Businesses. Retrieved from https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/04/importance-of-online-reviews.html

Shrestha, K. (2018, February 06). 50 Important Online Reviews Stats You Need to Know [infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.vendasta.com/blog/50-stats-you-need-to-know-about-online-reviews

Walker-Ford, M. (2018, May 06). How to Make a Website that Influences People: 9 Web Design Psychology Tips [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-make-a-website-that-influences-people-9-web-design-psychology-tips/522884/

Websitebuilder (n.d.). [User Reviews is The King: Why Online Reviews Can Either Make Or Break Your Business] [Infographic]. Retrieved from: https://smallbiztrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/58ba1a5ea43c71e16d55cd7f.full_.jpg

Is your aesthetician your MVP?

Is your aesthetician your MVP? If not, find out how you can grow your business by simply changing your batting lineup.  As most medical spa owners have learned, employing an aesthetician can be a difficult and challenging task.  I, myself, have on several occasions heard and witnessed less than professional personality traits exhibited by my aesthetician colleagues.  Gossiping about coworkers, complaining about pay, and unhappy with scheduled hours these complaints can reverberate loudly from the staff lounge.

You are probably asking yourself, how could that person ever be my MVP and why would I want them to be.  Operating a successful medical spa can be nearly impossible without an aesthetician amongst your team.  If you take a moment and reflect on who an aesthetician really is, you will gain much insight and be able to truly unleash their abilities.  And once engaged, they will become one of your most valuable players.  

Who is the average aesthetician? The average aesthetician is about 24 years old, and other than their aesthetician certification hold no other degrees or licenses. According to ZipRecruiter as of March 2018, aestheticians earn $16.38 an hour and an average of $39,000 per year once commissions and tips are factored in.  So basically, they are young, earn just over minimum wage and have on average 18 months of vocational training.

A large percentage of aestheticians tend to leave the field in their first two years due to dissatisfaction with pay and benefits, difficulty finding consistent employment, and an unrealistic expectation of their roles in the marketplace.  So, they leave the profession they chose within two years.  

Conduct a little research on aesthetician satisfaction in the workplace and you will see most aestheticians are given varying schedules from week to week and oftentimes get same-day notice of shortened or eliminated working hours.  Their job security as well as take home pay is always in question.  Engage in conversation with one or two aestheticians and you will find very common theme of insecurity.

Imagine as physicians the reality that aestheticians live in and you will be able to focus your efforts on actively engaging them within your practice.  Aestheticians have a key role in our arena and should be the backbone of your office.  Who better to be your ambassador for skin care than the person who chose this career and possess the skills, passion and dedication to improving your customer’s skin.

Understanding their background and possible baggage brought over from previous employers is the first step.  The next step is providing security, security in their position, affirmation of their impact on patient retention, and assuring their shifts are as consistent as possible.   

And finally, educate and continue to educate them.  Most aestheticians cannot afford ongoing education and tend to use social media to increase their knowledge base.  As providers, you possess the medical and aesthetic knowledge to grow your team’s ability internally. But, there are many ways to continue educating your team: bring them in during medical services to assist you, have them join you for conferences and conventions, ask them to research new skin care lines and report back to the team.

The concept is simple and applies to all personal and business relationships.  Beyond Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when someone feels valuable their loyalty will bloom as will their desire to help you and your business bloom.  Not only will you find overall sales improving, but you will see many of your customers transition from microdermabrasion to lasers and injectables.  They will become an extension of you, your sales approach, and your practice.
 

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Nancy Miller, RN MBA

Experienced Executive Director Of Operations with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. Skilled in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT), Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Health Insurance, Nursing, and Clinical Research. Strong operations professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) focused in Health/Health Care Administration/Management.

Dr. Joel Kopelman - Kopelman Aesthetic Surgery, NY & NJ

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Name: Joel E. Kopelman, M.D. FACS
Locations: Park Avenue, NYC & Ridgewood, NJ
Website: https://www.drkopelman.com

Brief Bio:  
I trained in oculoplastic and facial plastic surgery at UCLA in 1983. I subsequently did another fellowship in orbital surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England. I have been the director of multiple professional courses on blepharoplasty, endoscopic brow lifting, facelifting, laser resurfacing, and rhinoplasty across the United States. My current laboratory research is on how aging affects the eyelids.   

Can you give us a background of your career in cosmetic medicine?

The training that influenced my entire career really began at U.C.L.A. thirty-plus years ago. Under my fellowship director we performed primary and secondary cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid and eyebrow surgery. Our particular focus was fixing complications from overdone cosmetic eyelid surgery and forehead/brow lifts. Subsequently, my practice evolved into primarily a cosmetic practice. I began to incorporate facelifting techniques, chemical peels ,laser resurfacing techniques, and body contouring into my practice. I never stop learning.I bring new surgical and non-surgical techniques that offer safety and lasting benefits to my patients. I don’t jump on every new product or technique because I have learned from experience that there are fads that are not safe and have precipitated problems. Like everything else in life, experience counts.

What can you tell us about your NY and NJ practices?

I currently practice on Park Avenue in Manhattan in an office I share with three cosmetic dermatologists. I also have a second clinic in Northern N.J. where I have a certified surgical facility. I have four employees who include R.N.s, surgical techs who assist me in surgery as well as a board certified anesthesiologist. My New Jersey and New York practices are similar and consist of primarily women between the ages of thirty to sixty-five and men in their thirties to fifties.  

How do you manage your staff?

I highly value my employees and generally compensate them commensurate with their training and experience. Each employee is intensely vetted prior to hiring them so I don’t usually fire anyone unless they have been dishonest or rude to the patients.

What devices do you regularly use?

I currently use IPL for diffuse skin pigmentation, acne and telangiectasia. I have erbium/YAG, pulsed CO2, and erbium-glass lasers that I use for skin resurfacing. I usually prefer my erbium lasers because there is a very rapid recovery time. I also use a non-invasive ultrasonic body contouring device called UltraShape Power. I like this device because it causes little discomfort compared to CoolSculpt.

What marketing strategies do you employ?

Word of mouth, internal marketing ”awareness”, website and Instagram. The marketing that traditionally has worked is “word of mouth” recommendations. In the past few years internet ratings and ranking has increased traffic but I have found that these patients do not always have realistic expectations.

Which treatments do you consider the most popular in your practices?

Facelifts, blepharoplasties, endoscopic brow lifts. I plan on performing more PRP for hair rejuvenation. I no longer perform rhinoplasty.

In your many years of experience, what have you learned so far?

I tell my staff “If a patient is happy when they come to see me they will be happy when they leave but if they are unhappy when they come to see me they will be unhappy when they leave”- there is nothing that I can do to change their view of the world. 

Lastly, what can you impart to fellow physicians in the field?

Do great work, be passionate, show that you care. Patients will recognize, value and trust your service, see you as their medical guardian, and appreciate you as an outstanding physician and surgeon. You don’t have to wave a flag - your actions will speak louder than words.

Only Work On What Brings Value To Your Customer & Your Medical Practice

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If you're working on solutions without a very clear definition of the problem you're trying to solve, you're doing it wrong.

Is the solution you're working on solving a real problem? Is the problem based on your existing patients needs? If you're successful with the project you're working on, would it change anything for your patients? And in turn, would it change anything for your clinic? These are the fundamental questions you need to answer to make sure that you're investing your time and effort working on worthwhile opportunities.

If you put yourself in a position where your clinic is running on autopilot and give yourself a chance to get off of the constant production treadmill you'll have a chance to work ON your business, not just IN your business.

Process is critical here.

My guess is that you don't have any real way to prioritize what you're working on at any one time. If you're like the vast majority of clinics who are physician-owned, you're not running a business as much as you are running a communal job, where nothing's addressed until there is enough pain that you have to actually do something.

  • We don't have enough patients; so I need to try and figure out how to get some. I guess I'll call that local ___ rep who was in here last week promising that she could help grow my practice. Maybe my nephew can help me out with some Facebook ads.
  • We're getting a lot of returns and some negative reviews online; Oh well, what can you do. Some people will always be unhappy. Nothing really you can do about that. (If this is you, get your ass a Podium account now.)
  • I know that we're over-promising on what the results are with this old IPL that I've had forever but it's still working and it's not worth much so I can't afford to upgrade. (Get a certified quote on your used laser or IPL)

I could go on forever.

Features and solutions are easy to imagine and talk about with other people, and coming up with a 'solution' is rewarding, it makes us feel like we're making progress and are figuring things out.

This is not the way that successful clinics operate.

Successful clinics have systems, and one of those systems is some kind of process to prioritize what to work on, and it's not the low hanging fruit.

It's the hard things that will kill you.

No one cares if you add a Facebook widget to you website so that patients can join up and be ignored in your I-don't-have-time-to-do-it Facebook group.

But if your staff is fighting over commissions your patients will see that and you'll have less word-of-mouth.

Who gives a shit if your using a credit card processor that charges you 5% more than someone else.

But if your consultations aren't perfect you're cutting your own throat.

You need to be working on the hard things; building systems into your business, an obsessive focus on patient satisfaction, a team that is all working in unison, and a real business.

It's the hard things that you have to get right- the foundations of your business- not the bullshit on the surface.

Here's a simple process to identify and prioritize what you should be working on. (Note: I use this but I stole it from Amazon.

Prioritizing What To Work On

Here's a simple method to ensure that you're working on problems that can actually affect your business.

Note: This is a physical process, not a thought exercise. I suggest that you use post-it notes and do this first with yourself, but then with your team. (If you're doing it with your team DO NOT hog the meeting and deliver the answer. Let your team help you with all of it.)

  1. Write down the BIG problems that are facing your clinic. These are the problems that, if they're not fixed immediately, can put you out of business. 
  2. Prioritize those problems according to risk, with the biggest problem at the top and the least risky one at the bottom.
  3. Pick the problem right at the top. The one that poses the biggest risk to your clinic.
  4. Break it apart into smaller constituent parts. For example; "We don't make enough revenue to cover our costs" can be broken down into, "We don't make enough revenue" and "our cost's are too high".
  5. Keep breaking it down into smaller segments.
  6. Pick a segment or a challenge. 
  7. Use this technique of the 5 Why's to uncover the root cause.
  8. Use these root causes to build a plan of action that you can be sure are contributing to drive value and work on your most pressing problems.

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How To Use Jeff Bezos' 5 Whys Technique To Find Root Causes In Your Clinic

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Identifying and addressing the root cause is where you can make changes in outcomes as a business leader.

Pate Abilla is a a process guru, and I've added his post here on how Jeff Bezos uses a simple technique called "5 Why's" to find the root cause of a problem.


What is it that really sets Amazon apart from everyone else. I obviously don't know the definitive answer to that, but I can draw on some experience being an early employee at Amazon. 

I want to especially point to one experience that might, perhaps, demonstrate the way we were taught to think at Amazon.

The Conveyor Belt Accident

Back in 2004, I was part of rotational program at Amazon and at this particular time, I was in one of Amazon's massive fulfillment centers. During Q4, Jeff Bezos takes the time to visit several fulfillment centers to see how things are going and to lend a hand.

In a meeting with the senior team of which I was a part, we discussed metrics for that Q4. One of the metrics is related to safety. It was at this time the safety manager explained one of the accidents during that year at the fulfillment center. 

An associate had damaged his finger on a conveyor belt.

I immediately noticed Jeff Bezos' demeanor change from one of excitement because of the busy-ness of Q4 to one of serious concern.

Then he got up and went to the whiteboard. He then began to facilitate the following discussion:

Demonstration of 5 Whys by Jeff Bezos

Bezos wrote on the whiteboard the following and took us through an exercise right then and there (this is from memory).

  1. Question: Why did the associate damage his thumb?
    Answer: Because his thumb got caught in the conveyor.

  2. Question: Why did his thumb get caught in the conveyor?
    Answer: Because he was chasing his bag, which was on a running conveyor belt.

  3. Question: Why did he chase his bag?
    Answer: Because he placed his bag on the conveyor, but it then turned-on by surprise

  4. Question: Why was his bag on the conveyor?
    Answer: Because he used the conveyor as a table

Conclusion: So, the likely root cause of the associate’s damaged thumb is that he simply needed a table, there wasn’t one around, so he used a conveyor as a table. 

Countermeasure: To eliminate further safety incidences, we need to provide tables at the appropriate stations or provide portable, light tables for the associates to use, or place maintenance bags on the floor.

There are several things amazing about this experience:

  1. Jeff Bezos cared enough about an hourly associate and his family to spend time discussing his situation.

  2. Jeff properly facilitated the 5-why exercise to arrive at a root cause: he did not blame people or groups — no finger pointing.

  3. He involved a large group of stakeholders, demonstrated by example, and arrived at a root cause and he didn’t focus on symptoms of the problem.

  4. He is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, yet he got involved in the dirt and sweat of his employees’ situation.

  5. In that simple moment, he taught all of us to focus on root causes — quickly. He did not heavily rely on data or over-analysis of the situation, and yet he was spot-on in identifying the root causes of the safety incident.

Conclusion

Remember, this was back in 2004. If the CEO can think this way, then clearly the entire company can. While Amazon isn't perfect in any way and Bezos isn't necessarily the poster boy for effective leadership, this particular situation is a really great example of how leaders can behave and how they can demonstrate clear thinking and quick problem solving.

If I were to point at one thing that sets Amazon apart, it's how their people think. And how they think is heavily influenced by Bezos and his example.

Dr. Ahmad Rabb, Cosmetic Medicine At Medical & Cosmetology Centre In Toronto

Connecting with a Canadian physician practicing cosmetic medicine in Toronto, Dr. Ahmad Rabb.

Name: Ahmad Rabb, MD
Clinic: Medical and Cosmetology Centre
Location: Toronto, Canada

That's interesting: Dr. Rabb leads Bio Ethics Seminars for medical Undergraduates at the University of Toronto School of Medicine. He speaks English, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi.

You started out in family medicine but then switched to cosmetic medicine. Why did you switch?

It took me couple of years to transition from family medicine into cosmetic medicine. Over the years I realized that non-invasive and non-ablative skin care techniques were becoming increasingly popular and effective in reasonably reversing the adverse affects of different aging types ex. Photo-aging, Intrinsic aging (age related aging) and environmental aging.

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How To Add Texting To Your Clinic And 6X Your New Patient Inquiries?

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Allowing patients to use text messaging makes them 6 times as likely to reach out and communicate with you.

6X in anything is a MASSIVE increase, but especially in inbound contacts there's simply nothing else that comes even close to that.

Nobody likes to call.

Asking new patient-prospects to call your front desk is a lot to ask. It's an investment of time, it's slow, you have to call during office hours, and you know that there's social pressure that's going to be applied by the person on the other end. It's a big hurdle and has always cost you those patients who you might have had if only it had been a little less difficult.

You're missing those inquiries, patients and those sales.

But texting is easy.

Sending a text is a much lower 'ask', and that's just what you want as a business; a very easy first step. It's asynchronous so you don't have to worry about office hours or connecting, and there's much less social pressure than talking to someone on the phone.

Best of all, your front desk staff can probably handle 5 times the traffic in texting communications than in phone calls.

Here are the numbers*: (reference)

  • New patients are 6 times more likely to text you than call. 
  • Texting is 10X quicker than phone calls
  • 81% of Americans text regularly
  • 85% of people want to be able to not only receive a message from a business but also answer a message from a business.
  • 98% of consumers want to use texting when communicating with a business
  • 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent
  • People prefer text for most scheduling, changing appointments, or confirming reservations
  • Response rates from text are 209% higher than phone calls and 200% higher than email

If you can read those stats as a clinic owner and think that you don't need a two-way texting capability to communicate with your patients and field new inquires...  well, I don't really know what I could say that could help you or your business. Please stop reading.

The simple truth is that you need to find a solution using text messages because it's the preferred method of communication for your existing patients, and it's more productive than what you're doing now.

How much time is actually wasted every week on the phone? Here are my guesstimates:


Common Tasks

Calling to confirm appointment

Call patients to fill a cancelation

Staff time wasted: calling, on hold,
calling back, waiting....

Phone

2-5 minutes

5-30 minutes

50-60%?

Text

40 seconds

2 minutes

0  


Texting is clearly a more productive and efficient system and your patients respond better to it. The only question for you is what to do about it.

How do I add texting to my clinic?

Before getting started there are a few things we suggest doing to ensure that you are successful. The first is setting up your Google My Business listing to accept text messages from mobile searchers. Check out this post for instructions on how to set up Google Click-to-Message for your business.

Next, you’ll want to find a solution that can enable your landline to accept text messages. This will help you maintain continuity and consistency with your contact information, which is an important factor in where your business ranks in local search.

Once your landline is set up to accept text messages, you’ll want to publish that number wherever your contact information is displayed with instructions to “call or text us.” Some places to include it are on your website, on all of your business directory listings, and even in your email signature.

Finally, you’ll want to implement a customer interaction platform to help you manage all of your text message conversations.

More help on that a little later.

Best practices: What would I use text messaging for?

I understand your reluctance to start texting your patients and prospects. Its new and you don’t really know where to start or how to do it. but let's identify a few moments during your patient journey where it makes perfect sense to be using text messaging.

1. SET APPOINTMENTS AND SEND APPOINTMENT REMINDERS One of the biggest frustrations is when patients no-show, but you can eliminate a large number of no-shows by texting out appointment reminders and setting appointments with your customers. It's much less intrusive and time-consuming than having your staff call out and remind customers about upcoming appointments.

There are automated systems that you pay for that do this automatically, but that's all they do. You want a a system that does this and the other things on the list too.

2. BE A RESOURCE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS Not all of the questions your customers have will warrant a phone call. Some are simple and can often be answered with a very short text. Because texting is more visual than a phone call, it allows your patients to use testing in ways that phone calls just don't handle well, like sending a photo. This can eliminate a lot of confusion that might arise if they were to try and describe the problem verbally.

3. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO UPSELL Having a texting relationship with your customers will also give you the opportunity to upsell them from time-to-time. This will provide your business with incremental increases in revenue that will not only improve customer satisfaction but also boost your bottom line.

4. ASK FOR FEEDBACK A number of our customers have started to replace traditional customer satisfaction surveys with a text message-based survey. These customers see a higher open and response rate because text messaging is more conversational and less intrusive than a survey. A simple "let us know if we can help in any way" as a text is another touch point of care that patients appreciate and cost's you nothing.

5. CLOSE BUSINESS This might sound crazy to you, but it’s not uncommon for people to make a sale in a text message conversation – even for big-ticket purchases. Just send a special offer to your best clients, or followup on a consultation in a non-intrusive way.

7. COLLECT REVIEWS Finally, you should invite all of your customers to review your business via text message. Building up your online reputation is important because it makes it easy for consumers to find your business via online searches, while also helping to influence purchase decisions.

8. LET PATIENTS TEXT YOU AS A FIRST CONTACT This is a big one... make it easier for patients to take the first step towards your clinic by allowing them to text you as a first contact.

What does all of this?

We started looking at providing a solution for our Members that solves these problems. The company that we chose to partner with is a best-in-class software solution called Podium. 

We contacted them and they agreed to partner with us and put together a special offer for Members. You can see that offer here: https://medicalspamd.com/podium

Here's a little info about how it works to make it easier for prospects to connect with you, to communicate and interact with them, and to get them to help you grow you reputation and business.

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Here's a video showing how new patients can use Podium to text you directly from your own website or from other pages like your Google business page. Now, instead of just being able to call, they can now text, connecting them to your front desk and allowing your staff to respond right from their computer.

  1. User finds you on the web, often on a mobile device or smart phone.
  2. They text you.
  3. You text them back.

It's asynchronous so it doesn't impact calls and no one has to wait, you can send images if you want (like a price list or before and after photos), it's efficient so your teams productivity increases, and it's what your patients want.

And here's a video that shows how Podum's new webchat feature works for brick and mortar businesses like your clinic.

"Podium Messenger makes texting with customers a breeze. 90% of consumers want to use messaging to talk to businesses. With Podium Messenger, stay connected with your customers and answer questions in real-time via text message – all from one centralized dashboard"

So that's really it. This is something that you actually need, that your patients want, and that you're never going to get a better deal on since it's only our Members that get it.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of this Members only deal, just find it - along with other deals and offers - in the Marketplace.

Oh.... and in addition to Members getting better pricing forever for this, you'll also get free training for your entire team online.

Done.

The New Member Forums: Cosmetic Lasers, Legal, Marketing + More

The new Medical Spa MD Member Forums are now open.

The old forums were becoming difficult to navigate to the information you might have been looking for. We've simplified them and put them entirely in their own section.

Now, there's one link in the main header above that says "Member Forums" instead of a drop down. That link takes you over to the forums and we've simplified the navigation there as well, removing all of the links above and replacing them with the various categories; clinical exchange, legal, marketing, and cosmetic lasers, IPL, and RF technologies.

There are something like 30,000+ comments. This should make it much easier to use the forums again to find answers and express opinions that both you and others can learn from.

As always:

  • You must be a Member to post a new comment or ask a question
  • You can identify yourself or remain anonymous
  • We regularly (daily) sweep the forums for spam and remove junk links and threads

The forums are an incredibly resource if you use them correctly. For example; ask very specific questions, not general "what should I do" fluff that no one could possibly answer. There are some threads that have more than 400 responses, and others that clinics use to deep-dive into very specific questions.

Take a look and ask your most pressing question. There are thousands of readers and members who just may have the answer to your question.

Take a second and ask the experts.

The New Medical Spa MD Marketplace

We've just launched the new Medical Spa MD Marketplace where you can get special offers and deals from companies.

We've just launched a new, updated marketplace to let Members take advantage of offers and deals from our Select Partners and outside companies who to provide special offers to our Members.

In addition to the publicly available offers which are visible and available to everyone, our Members will also receive additional offers and discounts that are not available publicly. (Yet another great reason to join us.)

You can already find some incredible offers like discounted software, upgraded warranties, and group buy wholesale pricing on fillers and injectables.

And we have a Certified Partner Program to protect all of our Members.

Need a waiting room video to increase your up-sells and educate your patients about your other services? Need a designer to create a kick-ass Facebook page graphic? Want to know that when you buy a used laser that you've got someone who can intervene on your behalf?

Done.

Have a product or service that could benefit our Members? Become a Select Partner.

How To 180 An Unhappy Patient

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No-matter how terrific your clinical outcomes, the occasional unsatisfied patient is an inevitability.

Sometimes it’s warranted and there really was something you did wrong or could’ve done better. But most of the time, you did everything you could and it’s more about managing expectations.

Last week, I had a 42-year-old lady come in to have a mole removed. In passing she mentioned her dissatisfaction with a BBL treatment she had 3 weeks ago.

She's a nurse and a long-time satisfied patient but she seemed agitated and a little upset. She'd paid for a package of 3 BBLS, had 2 of them, wasn’t seeing results, and didn't want to go through with her 3rd treatment.

At this point my first instinct was to say: "What do you mean? BBL is a great treatment and you look amazing!”

She really did look fantastic – wayyy better than when she first came in 2 years ago – but if I’ve learned one thing about dealing with unsatisfied clients (and people in general), it’s that straight-up disagreement will get you nowhere fast.

When you blatantly disagree, the shields go up and you have lost. This is persuasion and sales, not a presidential debate.

So I thought to myself: “what's the best way to turn her around without making her feel like she was proven wrong?”

I said to her: "look, I can see you're not happy with the way things turned out. I wouldn’t be happy either if I didn’t see the results I wanted".

She immediately softened up and I had my nurse bring in her B&A pictures. We went through them together showing her how much clearer her skin was now.

She still thought the recent treatments had done nothing, but I was now in a much better position to guide her in the right direction, since she could see her long-term progress.

I thought and said: “Why don't we just wait then for your third one?”

“Why not wait till the end of the summer? That would be a perfect time to do another one. We’ll fix up your summer skin damage from all the boating and outdoor activities you like to do.”

She agreed.

We then went on to remove her mole, and rebooked her third BBL in the fall.

Everyone was happy and I couldn’t help but think how much of an uphill battle it would’ve been if I didn’t bite my tongue and said the first thing that came to my mind.

Sure, I could’ve convinced her to continue with treatment through sheer force of will, but that would leave a sour taste in both our mouths that would threaten our relationship.

She might stop referring her nurse friends and the patients she sees in the hospital, or could decide to stop coming in all together.

Instead of pushing back against her, I agreed. I acknowledged her feelings and then came up with a solution that worked for both of us, thus preserving our great relationship - the most important thing in a cosmetic practice (or any business for that matter.)

I’m still far from perfect though, and continue to learn every day from situations I know I could’ve handled better.

Here’s the 3 most important points for dealing with unsatisfied patients that I’ve gathered so far:

  1. ALWAYS take standardized before and after photos. Make this part of your protocol that gets done no matter what. These are crucial to showing patients their long-term progress when they’re on preventative treatments and are no longer experiencing the “wow” factor from when they first started.
  2. NEVER blatantly disagree with your patients. This can be extremely tempting, especially if you enjoy getting into heated debates with your friends. In sales, the more tactful thing to do is to absorb the patient’s energy by agreeing with them. You’d be surprised at how much the patient drops their guard and how relaxed the interaction becomes afterwards.
  3. Look for compromises. You don’t want to yield to your patients’ every whim, but also don’t want to be so stubborn that you end up upsetting the patient and ruining the relationship. Compromise allows you to hold your ground without making the patient feel like they were coerced.
2 Comments

Peter Ursel MD


Dr Peter Ursel has been treating leg vein patients in Lindsay Ontario for over 20 years. He was initially a family and emergency physician and early in his career discovered that there was a need in his area for outpatient vein treatments. At the time, there was no formal training available. After extensive research and over many years, Doctor Ursel assembled the finest treatments available and brought them to Lindsay.