Many, if not most, medical spas are charging for physician consultations. The reasoning is easy to understand. They have time that they consider to be valuable and you feel that there should be a barrier to entry for that time the patient needs to have a little bit of skin in the game in order to take a position away from his paying patients. The flip side of that coin is that consultations are really where the money is made in the medical spa business.
At Surface when we have someone come in for a consultation, our conversion rate is over 90%. (Some of my physicians think it's 100% but it's not quite that good.) We're able to track this and within three months of a consultation with one of our physicians we see 90% of those patients.
One of the indicators that I keep very close track of is how many consultations we do and what our gross revenue is. That gives me a number when I'm looking at reports that says every physician consultation at this clinic is worth a specific amount. So I know that if I have 30 or 40 or 60 consultations a month, I have a pretty good sense of where that clinic is going to be. Every Surface consultation is free and really that has more to do with my feeling that we do not charge patients for education.
Surface consultations are an hour long and completely free. Anyone can call up and get an hour of physician time at which point they can talk about anything that they want to. They can talk about photofacials, IPL hair removal, Point Lift, Liposolve, what their diet looks like, pretty much anything. Our physicians will also talk in general terms about money. This is often a difficult topic for physicians who don't want to "get their hands dirty" by discussing cost. But cost is a huge factor for a lot of patients who are making decisions based on factors that we can't know so our doctors end up talking about it all the time. It's never been a problem.
Our physicians are there to do two things. One is to educate the patient and two is to act in the patient's best interest. If there is something that they need that we cannot perform, we refer them. If we see something we don't like, we refer them. If we don't think we can meet their expectations, we don't treat them. If there's a cheaper way that they can get the same results, we tell them about it. Our consultations are not designed to sell and that is why they are so successful.