Let me start by saying that as a consumer I want a good deal if I can get it. That being said , in the field of Cosmetic, Aesthetic, or Regenerative Medicine services, not all deals are great deals for the practice or for the patient.
The point of this article is to encourage doctors in the Cosmetic, Aesthetic, or Regenerative Medicine field who truly value their own skill and want to maintain a good quality of life, to avoid or be driven into the discount game. Why? Because once you do it’s hard to get your patients to pay full price for any of your other services. And you are essentially creating the insurance environment you may have just walked away from when working in the hospital or group setting. Making you an employee of the insurance company.
Discounting really took off with Groupon and many practices have not seen their profits improve or recover after incorporating Groupons as a main part of the marketing strategy.
Do not let the discount bug take over your practice. The reason’s why are many, but let’s just start with a few.
1. Cosmetic, Aesthetic, or Regenerative Medicine services are now viewed as a commodity, however in truth they require real training both educationally and in practical application for treatments given. This requirement is to ensure the best possible outcomes for the patient receiving your services. Which means that the Provider of such cosmetic and aesthetic services should be either board certified and/or a licensed professional. Otherwise the patient runs the risk of receiving a poor outcome for a treatment they neither need or want from a inexperienced Provider.
2. Discounting basically is telling your prospective consumer that they can bargain for services which has taken a licensed professional or board certified physician years to acquire the knowledge, skill, and know how. Additionally, the expense and time that is required to obtain board certification or licensing can be very rigorous and take many, many, years to complete. Therefore discounting can change the patients focus away from the skill and experience of the doctor to that of only price.
The question I ask all of my doctor clients and practice managers during the course of their Practice Assessment is, what is the value of your time and what is the value of your experience? The answer to that question tells me allot about the doctors confidence and how his staff rates him or her as a physician or provider.
3. Once you start discounting, it becomes a race to the bottom regardless of how skilled you may be or regardless of the number of years you have been in practice. Currently this model of descending fees is devastating the insurance based providers and hospitals with no end in sight. Insurance companies want doctors to see more patients, make less money, take on more stress, and reduce their overall income and quality of life.
The impact of racing to the bottom has brought with it truly bad result? Doctors are starting to walking away or retire in droves from insurance based hospital services and group practices which mainly focus on health care. Many are now transitioning to a concierge or well care model of fee for service treatments.
Has this change helped or hurt? So far, its become increasingly difficult for patients to find a primary care provider or specialist who does not have a very long waiting list. And for the doctors who have walked away from healthcare model to the well care model. They seem to find a happier set of patients and inside they feel more valued because they are not being paid less for their skill or experience. And lastly, they are out of the prescription business and more into actively working with clients to improve their diets, their exercise routine and lifestyle changes.
All of that being said, the mentality of giving discounts has slowly crept into the cosmetic and aesthetic industry. This is happening due to the commoditization of aesthetics, the amount of competition, and the need to drive up new patient volumes. However, just because a doctor or practice can give a cheaper price, it certainly does not mean they should. There has to be a balance when offering discounts. Why you ask?
1. The loss of real income or practice revenue over the course of a year from giving away so many discounts can be tremendous if you look at the total discounts over the year.
2. If those discounts are not part of good customer service for an unhappy patient (which happens from time to time) , they usually don’t get listed as a tax deduction which in truth hurts real wages.
3. The lower you go, the more you become known as a discount practice which in turn will drive up your number of patient prospects who are not focused on your skill as a experienced doctor or provider but as a place to get quality services for cheap. And once you’ve conditioned your patients to lower cost, how willing will they be to pay a premium for your skill or your time.
4. By becoming a Discounter, you also raise the risk of drawing client prospects who complain more, who ask for more of a discount and lastly who are more likely to request a refund for work that has been done but who truly can’t afford your services.
The key is to use discounts for only a few special reasons:
A. If you have excess inventory and you want to move it from the shelf instead of letting it sit which in the end is costing you money. Than discount… ( If this happens to much, it means you are not doing a very good job of inventory control and you may become supply poor.)
B. If you have a new product or service that you want to roll out to the public, provide a discount to only your most loyal clients. This makes them feel special, appreciated , and valued. But than make sure you charge the value of what the procedure is worth as well as what the value of your time is worth thereafter.
c. If a treatment or service has not had the optimum result and you want to make it up to the client. Provide them a price discount or rate reduction for the treatment..
d. Lastly, you discount to provide an incentive for patients to buy more than one product or service. Which in turn will help to raise your dollar per transaction averages. ( Remember – the more products or services you provide for a patient the more likely you are to make them a long term client.)
The way you market , what you market, and how you present your practice image tells the prospective consumer what to focus on when it comes to getting services at your office location. Your either a skilled and experienced board certified doctor or a state licensed provider.
But if you come across as The Discounter, expect that you will get patients with very little money, who expect JLo looks on a beer budget.
Your marketing and social media outreach should highlight these few things:
1. Your years of experience
2. Your skills as a result of your experience
3. Number of Patients Served
4. Great Patient Testimonials
So in conclusion, no matter what your competition is doing down the street. You want the reputation of providing a fair price for quality services and care.
Audio: Pro’s and Con’s of Discounting in Your Aesthetic or Cosmetic Practice
Always Connected with Social Media Solutions for Doctors
Quintin L. Gunn Sr. CSO/CEO – +1-407-702-4408 Work