NOV-DEC 2016

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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effective as calling," says Sarah Stein, offi ce manager at M.D. Laser Studio in Mooresville, North Carolina. The medspa, which recently incorporated the MDware practice management system, asks its clients their preferred method of communication on its patient intake forms, which includes permission to contact them by email or text. In addition to automating appointment reminders, practice management software can be used to follow up with patients who are due for their next neuromodulator or fi ller appointment, or homecare product refi ll. "If you have patients who come in for neuromodulators, then you would set your automated reminders to go out every four months, for example," says Merlo. "You can also do this for dermal fi llers or even skincare purchases. You can set the software to look at when the patient will need to replenish their skincare product based on date of purchase and usage instructions. The system then automatically sends out an email reminder when it's time to refi ll." To streamline this process further, M.D. Laser Studio plans to add online booking. "So when we send clients a reminder that it's time to book a follow-up appointment, there will be a link they can click on right then and there to view available time slots and book the appointment," says Stein. When adding online booking, practices have two op- tions. "With online booking, there is a link on the website that goes directly to the practice management software. The practice can choose whether to have those appoint- ments put directly into its appointment book—and the patient just shows up—or they can set it up as an appoint- ment request that is then reviewed and confi rmed by staff before actually adding the patient to the schedule," says Kelly Rajkumar, marketing manager at MDware. Tracking and Rewarding Loyalty Loyalty programs that reward repeat customers have become common in a huge variety of industries, including medical aesthetics. With increased automation, the punch cards of old have given way to software tools that track sales and allot rewards based on preset parameters. Prac- tice management software and third-party vendors, such as Solutionreach, allow you to create point-based loyalty sys- tems that can be customized by the practice. "Each treat- ment is assigned a point value—e.g., Botox is 50 points and a facial is 20 points—and the practice determines the reward system. So at 200 points or 500 points, the client receives a free treatment or discount on a service, and the software tracks the points for you," says Rajkumar. Some systems also allow you to track patient referrals. A staff member would fi rst ask how the new patient heard about the practice and then the program would track those answers, and alert the practice when a patient has earned their gift card or discount based on the number of referrals. "Referrals are the holy grail of aesthetics, because word of mouth is so important to practice growth," says Merlo. "But when you talk about referrals and rewards, you have to be mindful of state and medical society regulations re- garding kickbacks and monetizing referrals. These programs are not legal in many states and violate the bylaws of some medical societies." If your state or professional association discourages referral rewards, Merlo recommends keeping track of your top referrers and engaging them as practice ambassadors. "You can run a report to see who your top referrers are and establish a VIP list of your best practice ambassadors and create unique experiences," says Merlo. "Maybe you have a VIP dinner or lunch and use that as a focus group for practice feedback." Dr. Buford has moved away from point-based loy- alty programs, though he does track and reward repeat patients. "I don't like loyalty programs because they aren't very exciting," he says. "I like surprising our VIP patients with a free service. At the end of treatment, I say, 'We ap- preciate your support; Botox is on me today.' We end up spending less than we would with a loyalty program, and patients are blown away because they're not expecting it." 34 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 | Med Esthetics SERGEY NIVENS © GETTY IMAGES; COINSLOT: ROBSTYLE © GETTY IMAGES AUTOMATED MARKETING

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