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    Blindspots to success

    Fulfilling individual patient needs is the key to practice growth

    Cosmetic practices have all the bells and whistles —from new technologies to skilled practitioners. So, why are so many competing on price?

    According to Robert Rullo, cofounder of The Aesthetic Blueprint, it’s because aesthetic physicians don’t know how to market in an age of  experience marketing.

    Mr. Rullo, who presented at the May 2017 Aesthetics and Medical Dermatology symposia in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, says the economy has evolved beyond a service economy, which focuses on giving great service. But even products in a service economy become commoditized.

    “So, the next, new level is the experience economy. … people will pay handsomely for a great experience. Everybody is focused [on] giving good customer service and patient care, when that’s not enough,” Mr. Rullo says.

    There are five blind spots that practices don’t see or commonly recognize as issues. Not addressing these could prevent a practice’s successful growth, he says.

    Blind spot #1: Failure to truly understand your customers’ wants and needs.

    In order to create a great experience, you must connect with customers in a personal way that addresses their issues and needs — not your own, according to Mr. Rullo.

    The place to make that connection is during the face-to-face initial consult

    One tool to help doctors better understand their patients is to refer to human needs psychology he says.

    There are six human needs that everyone has.

    1. Certainty. That’s the need to know that you’re ok.
    2. Uncertainty, or the need for variety.
    3. Significance — the need to feel important and wanted.
    4. Feeling love and connection.
    5. Growth — the idea of progressing.
    6. Contribution, which is recognizing people’s need to give back.

    Of these six needs, two are most dominant. 

    “All decisions in life are made in an attempt to fulfill these two needs. Understanding which needs are driving a patient’s decision making can make all the difference in building a long-term trusting relationship with them,” he says.

    Blind spot #2: Not creating experiences to differentiate

    Shifting into the experience economy is an opportunity to engage individuals —creating a positive, memorable experience for them, Mr. Rullo says.

    “…the experience economy is about using your products or services as a stage or prop to create a memorable experience. Again, the focus is on the customers’ needs and wants; not yours,” he says.

    The focus on creating an experience is why Starbucks can charge $3 to $5 for a cup of coffee, which costs the company pennies to make, he notes.

    Aesthetic physicians tend to focus on customer service, but in today’s economy that’s not enough to be competitive. Create experiences that build loyalty.

    Mr. Rullo offers his ideas:

    1. Use the concept of PHI proportions and the mathematics of beauty. Use calipers and facial marking to determine volume loss and areas for correction, this enables you to engage the patient in a personal way. It’s similar to being fitted for a custom-made outfit, he says.

    “People feel special when something is tailored specifically for them,” he says.

    1. Another suggestion is to have patients bring a photograph to the consulation that shows them in their 20s. The simple task creates a shift in the patient’s experience. It’s likely something they’ve never been asked to do before. He recommends taking a current, baseline photo and merging it with the youthful photo to create a split-face concept. Doctors can use the photos to show patients where, aesthetically, things have changed.

    Simple things, like these, help doctors make a connection and build trust, as well as results in a different patient experience, he says.

    Next: Blind spot #3

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...

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