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Recently, I sat down with the practice manager of a top performing aesthetic practice in the greater Los Angeles area to learn the secrets of its success. This practice is generating total revenue above the 90th percentile in the Allergan Medical Spa Database, as are each of its providers (two physician assistants and one registered nurse). Knowing this, I picked the manager’s brain about the practice’s business processes, specifically around patient recruitment, conversion, and retention. Here is what she said. (The Q&A has been minimally edited for clarity.)

Q: We know there are four levers to patient performance: acquisition, churn, frequency, and cross-sell. Which of the four do you think are your business strengths?

A: I honestly feel we are even across the board in all these areas. Right now, we have about 30 new virtual patient consultations a week and our main referral sources are social media, Google, and existing patients. Our best quality client is open to everything we recommend. We are always busy, as our new patients are always on the books again as [encouraged] by our aesthetic consultants.

Q: Let’s start with acquiring a new patient. The national average lead capture rate is eight to 10 percent from patient inquiry to treatment. Please share what business processes you follow that yield you a higher rate than the nation.

A: First off, we make it easy [for patients]. We have a self-booking option on our website where an interested patient can book a virtual call directly with one of our aesthetic consultants. We always ensure there are spots available every day of the [work] week.

For patients calling in, our receptionists are well trained to follow our “front office playbook,” where they credential our signature process and unique methodology. Our receptionists are “quizzed” on their knowledge and skill set on a quarterly basis to ensure accountability.

Also, we are very diligent and disciplined with lead follow-up. We have a checklist that captures every lead. We go back as far as six months to check who has cancelled and not gotten back to us, patients who inquired but didn’t book, etc. We capture every patient who didn’t book at the time of initial inquiry and follow up.

Q: Once a patient is booked with one of your aesthetic consultants, you really soar with patient conversion and cross-selling. Talk to me about what that process looks like once patients are on the schedule with an aesthetic consultant.

A: Each aesthetic consultant is like the “maître d” of our practice. It’s a 1-to-1 ratio of aesthetic consultant to provider. We hire [aesthetic consultants] based on sales experience and emotional intelligence. We have also taken advantage of the training provided by our (practice management consultant) and follow the “credential, capture, and close” structure.

Our aesthetic consultants credential our method, our providers, and our outcomes. They listen to patients and educate [them] on facial aging. Lastly, they share before and after photos that perfectly showcase patient concerns. In doing so, once patients are in the provider’s chair, they already trust us and are ready to spend, maximizing the provider’s time.

Q: We know 82 percent of patients move forward with what the provider recommends. What is the process you follow to provide treatment recommendations and plans to patients?

A: When patients arrive for their appointment, an aesthetic consultant takes 3D photos that we then display in the treatment room. We also include photos of their treatment progression, if it’s not their first appointment. Photos say it all, especially a retrospective look at them.

Afterward, the provider gives an expert diagnosis. The aesthetic consultant then creates a healthy aging plan and quote that patients can access from our own practice app. Our aesthetic consultants are well trained to create packages on the fly to produce the best possible outcome.

We treat patients that day and then schedule a follow-up call a few days later to discuss the next step in their plan and get them on the schedule again. Lastly, we have an email automation [system] that sends patients a follow-up email based on their specific treatment pathway. Our aesthetic consultants have a checklist they follow so we don’t skip a beat.

Q: A high level of communication amongst the practice team is paramount to converting and retaining patients successfully. What internal processes do you have in place that allow your team to operate with a high level of communication?

A: I have a weekly meeting with each department. I jot down anything that comes to mind during the week via an app on my phone, so the agenda for the meeting is already right there for me. We discuss protocols, any issues, patient chart reviews, etc. Also, we discuss revenue numbers and goals; we are very transparent in that regard.

We also have an all-staff monthly meeting and a quarterly team building training [session] with our (practice management consultant). We more recently partnered with an HR consultant who has coached me on having crucial conversations with staff.

Lastly, we hire slow to ensure we have the right people who can operate at the level in which we require and expect.

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to a practice that is focused on improving its business processes to achieve internal operational goals?

A: I would say, number one would be to hire right; have a solid team with well-defined roles and responsibilities. Number two would be to take the time to focus on assessing the flow and efficiency of your practice, with the assistance of (a practice management consultant) via a flow and efficiency assessment. Small changes and improvements can yield big results. And number three would be to inspect what you expect from your team via measuring results and holding people accountable.

Refining Your Approach

I hope my interview with this practice manager provides some valuable takeaways that can be applied in your practice. By learning what others do, evaluating your own business processes, and refining and updating your approach where needed, you too can enjoy great success.

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