Being a plastic surgeon in private practice has never been so challenging – or so competitive. Between juggling staff dramas, tackling mounds of paperwork and avoiding cold-call solicitations from medical device reps (all promising that their technology is the holy grail of non-surgical anti-aging), to trying to decide how and where to market your practice without wasting precious dollars – it’s a wonder you have time for any surgery at all!
We’ve compiled this checklist to help you make the complex simple, and get back to basics so you can eliminate inefficiency, plug any operational holes and get the business side of your practice running on auto-pilot as much as possible, so you have more time for surgery… or golf!
9 Profit-Making Essentials for Every Practice
1) A modern, mobile-responsive website. This is one of the most important tools at your disposal. It should load quickly, look inviting and professional, and be easy to navigate. Can your patients find the information they are looking for quickly and easily? How do you know? Do you know which pages your patients spend the most time on? How about the least amount of time? Investing in a modern website (and website tracking) is the foundation of your practice. It will pay for itself over and over again, and is the smartest investment of your marketing dollars.
2) A before-and-after patient gallery. If your country allows before-and-after photos to be posted online, you will likely find that this page is the single most-visited page on your website. Get your team to expand your gallery with new photos every week. Make this gallery as big as you can – it is a huge asset and a testament to your work, and sets you apart from your competition.
3) Service-oriented telephone protocols. When speaking to patients on the phone, do your staff use scripts? Are they polite and well-informed? Are they true ambassadors for your practice, or are they just eager to get off the phone as quickly as possible so they can get back to seeing what their friends are up to on Facebook? Do you ensure that – no matter what – the phone is always picked up by a person within three rings? What is your procedure for calls that happen outside of hours? How quickly do voicemails have to be returned?
4) Standard appointment (and no-show) procedures. Does your staff personally call every patient to confirm their appointment? Do they also send them a text, and an email? Do you have a follow-up process for patients who do not show up to their appointment?
5) Strategic marketing. Are you tracking the results of your marketing? Do you know which 20% of your marketing is bringing in 80% of your new patients? If you do – bravo! You are in the top 1% of plastic surgeons worldwide. The fastest way to double your practice is to double the 20% of your marketing activities bringing in that 80% of patients! If you don’t already carefully track your marketing results, how can you begin? Start simply by asking patients where they heard about your practice, and then you can move on to more sophisticated methods like call tracking.
6) Patient recognition. Do you make every patient feel welcome and special? So few practices do this; you will instantly stand apart. Do you send “hand-written” thank you notes after a visit? (Remember, you don’t have to write these yourself, your staff can write them for you.) Do you send out birthday cards, or even birthday emails with a special offer? Brainstorm with your team what you can do for patient appreciation – and make it a daily habit in your practice.
7) An exceptional consultation. Do you answer all the patient’s questions during the consult process? Are you able to show a graphic rendering of expected results? There are many great software solutions for plastic surgeons, and being able to provide this can significantly increase your conversion rate – as well as give your patients something to share with their friends and family.
8) Referral appreciation. Do you give special recognition to patients who are “regulars” at your practice? How about those patients who refer their friends to you? An easy way to increase referrals is to help those people who already refer feel extra special so it encourages them to refer even more!
9) Review monitoring. Does someone in your office monitor online patient reviews and comments on Facebook and other social media? Getting a negative review is an unavoidable fact of life – no matter how skilled you are, you cannot please everyone. People even expect that you’ll have them. The real question is: HOW will you respond to a negative review, and how quickly? Show that your practice really cares by posting an empathetic response (but, remember not to divulge any personal information about the patient or your practice could run into legal trouble). Something as simple as: “We’re so sorry to read that you had a less than amazing experience at our practice. We deeply care about our patients and try our best to ensure every experience with us is a five-star one. Please call our office at your earliest convenience.” Everyone who reads a response like that knows that your patients matter to you.
There you have it: nine profit-making essentials of every practice. But are you feeling a bit overwhelmed at reading this checklist? It’s alright, you don’t need to do all of them at once! This isn’t about making a sweeping transformation that’ll have you wondering tomorrow whose office you stepped into. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, either, and any change you can make today, even a small one, means you now have a stronger, more profitable practice than you had yesterday!
Today, perhaps you’ll assign someone to monitor your social media. Right there, you’ve already set yourself apart from most of your competition! Next week, you could implement a phone script for your staff, or create a patient birthday calendar. After that, you might look into utilizing a website consultant. Making just one small improvement every week means you’ll have made 52 improvements by this time next year, and then as you think back, you may realize, “Wow, this is incredible.” Remember, it’s about steady progress, not instant perfection!