Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a powerful practice management course that I believe will change the way we view and create these types of programs going forward. As a faculty member of 33 national events and associations, I will be the first to admit the programs all start to sound the same from event to event. However, the MCS event held in Miami on February 19-22, 2020, really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what effective practice management training courses could and should look like to optimize the different ways people process information when learning new skills. The traditional approach calls for industry experts and medical providers with a unique approach or success in a specific area, to stand at the podium and speak for 15-30 minutes while hustling through endless slides packed with overwhelming amounts of stats, data, trends etc. While this approach may be effective for SOME of the audience, it is by no means effective for ALL of the audience. So, the million-dollar question is what can we do to improve the absorption of new information while increasing engagement/ participation of conference attendees? Well, the creators of the new MCS in Miami came up with a brilliant idea. And they should receive all the credit for this game-changing approach.
First, I want to share my unique viewpoint into practice management training. There are essentially three categories to be optimized in practice management (PM) -- there are people (i.e. building a world class team, compensation programs, leadership vs. management, etc.) All great topics.
Next you have processes (i.e. protocols for world-class patient care, sales and marketing, financial management (governance and PNL management) -- again all great topics.
Then you have tools (i.e. software selections, hardware / computers, financial models, training platforms, etc.) All great topics once again.
To summarize the viewpoint, how do we optimize the PEOPLE, PROCESS AND TOOLS in the practice to FIND, TREAT AND KEEP more patients profitably? And like a vitamin in pill form, only a fraction of the “nutrients” we share via didactic learning ever get absorbed into our systems. So, what did they do to shatter old norms? They actually got the audience engaged by performing real life examples of the practical application of PM concepts.
To highlight the potential benefits of creating a powerful online presence, they created a website makeover challenge. Three real life companies were asked to re-design three real practice websites and share their before and after work with the attendees. This included justifying the decision-making process and answering questions from attendees related to the reasons for why certain changes were made and the impact on website conversion rates, search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, bounce rates etc. It was all great information and these were not just PowerPoints -- they were actual real-life scenarios. Needless to say, the attendees liked the healthy competition amongst the vendors, and they appreciated the effort put into the website makeovers. Cool, RIGHT?
But that was nothing compared to the audience reaction in the next interactive exercise. Three faculty members were assigned to call three different practices who had agreed in advance to allow the faculty to call their practice, while in the room, FROM THE STAGE, in real time, with no advanced notice to the staff members receiving the calls. Scary right? And for many in the room it was the most enlightening exercise they have seen in a PM course setting.
Consider the results: the first two calls bordered on disaster…
I.e. Person answers the phone and can not answer the question: what type of fillers you provide? Instead they responded with, “I think we have the whole suite of Allergen products but I’m not sure.”
Next, call transferred to the actual doctor who reiterates the same while adding prices vary depending on the provider. Injectors with less experience would cost less, but not to worry because he had two master injectors on staff. When asked “what’s a master injector” the wheels completely fell off as it was difficult for a non-industry professional to comprehend. Similar for terms like Allergen.
This followed by the statement that they charge a $75 consultation fee, however, when pressed on the fee, the doctor immediately backed off and said they would be happy to waive the fee and he would let the girls at the front desk know... I know RIGHT? Keep in mind, no one introduced themselves, asked for any information from the prospect OR made any attempt to book a consultation. The good news is, this was the second-best call.
Not enough room to cover the third best. The last call was much better -- knowledgeable friendly staff of a plastic surgeon. In this call, the staff member got a little hung up when asked about the price of 4 quadrants of Coolsculpting. Saying it was $1,750 per quadrant and it would take potentially three treatments to get results. So, $1,750 x 4 x 3, right? Said another way $21,000? “Wait, hold on, that seems like a lot. Let me apply the promo discounts, etc.….” She got a little hung up on the math and trailed off from there. And once again, she never asked for any prospect information and ended on, “thanks for calling.”
This also happened to be a very well-run practice that I know personally. Needless to say, everyone in the room was taken aback by the lack of consistency, training, knowledge and execution of the brave staff members who unknowingly participated. What are the real implications of this exercise? Everyone in the room panicked because they knew they had little firsthand knowledge of what was happening at the front desk, in THEIR own practice. Talk about REAL learning taking place. If you’re reading this and you own or work in an elective medical practice you probably have some tingling going on in your own spine. Or should at least. This is the future of PM training courses. REAL LIFE SCENARIOS with real life consequences. What would it be worth to the last practice to never miss out on another opportunity to book a Coolsculpting consult when missing just one can cost thousands of dollars to the practice? Or keeping a tired website that is not designed with contemporary best practices in mind AND actually reflects poorly on the practice brand while discouraging potential patients from learning more. YIKES. These are just two examples of the potential breakdown in the practical day to day practice management functions.
This leads me to my final point, which is the need for practice owners and managers to make it a priority to utilize software solutions that can improve these mistakes we see so often in aesthetic medicine, where treatments are a CHOICE. Choosing a software that can capture & record inbound phone calls, manage incoming leads, and track website & marketing data on a consistent basis is truly a game-changer in today’s modern elective medical marketplace. In other words, what I like to call, separating facts from feelings.
Because at the end of the day, practitioners need to understand the importance of managing their people, process and tools as if they are all on the same continuum, completely related and integrated with one another AND how failure in ANY one of these areas can result in failure in all.
Sustainable success in the modern medical world requires more than a license, a building, and a few willing staff members. The elective medical space is growing rapidly and so is the competition and technology available to level the playing field. Kudos to Dr. Dayan, Dr. Tager and the folks behind the Practice Management course at the MCS. They got it right. But as I like to say in my talks, it doesn’t matter what I believe, it only matters what you believe.