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Ep.80: Q and A with Your Patient Coordinator

Let’s talk about your patient coordinator.

Do you ever wonder what she thinks about her job?
Or why she can’t convert more consultations?
Or would you like to know what she thinks about how you interact with patients in a consultation?

Learn of the challenges your coordinator faces. Discover how to work together better to form a cohesive team for increased profits.

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This episode is called Q&A with Your Patient Coordinator

Let’s talk about your patient coordinator .

Do you ever wonder what she thinks about her job?

Or why she can’t convert more consultations?

Or would you like to know what she thinks about how you interact with patients in a consultation?

If so, this podcast should interest you so here was my idea.

I run The Converting club for Coordinators where they get access to my training videos

That take them step by step on how to get patients to a yes.

And then I do be-weekly coaching calls with them 1-on-1, as well as monthly Q&A calls where I answer their questions.

I thought it would be helpful to hear some of the challenges coordinators have in representing you to prospective patients.

Because the more you understand each other, the better you work together as a team to convert more consults.

So in a nutshell, I train the coordinators to set themselves up for success BEFORE the consult so it goes more smoothly, they get a yes more often and they don’t waste time following up on patients who ended up saing the dreaded, “I gotta thik about it, I have to talk to my husband and I don’t have my calendar with me.”

We do that by using lots of strategies to pre-frame you as the best choice BEFORE they meet you.

And, your coordinator bonds with them BEFORE they visit so the prospective patient is more

Comfortable and prepared to say yes.

You can check out the details of The converting Club at my website cm.com

So now here are questions I’ve been asked during the Coordinators’ Q&A sessions:

I am extremely busy and don’t have time to make pre-consult calls. Is it really that important?

Block it

Can only wear one hat

Must be a priority

Take time here at the beginning so the rest goes smoothly and you save time & get a yes

You talk about bonding

Should I be in consult

More informed

Consistent

confident

We’re more expensive

Thanks! c

Transcript:

Beauty and the Biz

Episode 80: Q&A With Your Patient Coordinator

Catherine Maley, MBA:

Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying, and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits. This episode is called Q&A with your patient coordinator. So, let’s talk about your patient coordinator. You may have had somebody on board with you for one month, one year, one decade, but do you know them? Do you ever wonder what your coordinator thinks about her job? Or what her excuses are for why she can’t convert more consultations? Or would you like to know what she thinks about how you interact with patients during a consultation? If that sounds interesting to you, this podcast should interest you. I run the converting club for coordinators where they get access to my training videos, which take them step by step on how to get a patient to a ‘Yes’ because few coordinators have never been professionally trained. They’re nice-looking, kind, friendly people, but they don’t have any training. And I don’t know what you want to call it education, sales, persuasion, whatever you want to call it.

You must understand how a patient thinks, feels, and their decision-making process and goes on and on. So why I came up with the club? I do these bi-weekly coaching calls with coordinators one on one. We dig into what’s going on. Why are patients saying ‘Yes’? And why are patients saying no? And why are patients saying something in between? Now I also have monthly Q&A calls, where I answer questions coordinators have. It would be helpful to surgeons to hear some challenges coordinators have in representing you to prospective patients. The more you understand each other, the better you work together as a team to convert more consultations, I would say, next to marriage with your spouse, the next most important relationship with you, and your financial future is the relationship you have with your coordinator. The best working relationships I’ve seen where the coordinator and the doctor are so in sync. They know what each other thinks, they know how each other feels. They’re so instinctive. They’re the ones who do the best conversions because they’re working together as a team to get the patient to a ‘Yes’.

Hopefully, you’ve got the right coordinator on board I train the coordinators to set themselves for success before the consultation. So it goes more smoothly and they get it ‘Yes’ more often. And they don’t waste time following up on patients who end up saying the dreaded, I got to think about it, or I have to talk to my husband or I don’t have my calendar with me. They walk out of the door and never to be heard from again. We do all of this using lots of strategies to pre-frame you as the best choice before they meet you. My whole strategy is there’s not enough being done at the beginning, and that’s why you’re scrambling in the middle and at the end. You can check out all those details at the converting club at my website, www.CatherineMaley.com, but here are a few questions I’ve been asked during the coordinator’s Q&A you might find interesting. Here’s one, I’m extremely busy and I don’t have time to make pre-consult calls, Is it important? Now there I get a lot of pushbacks on the pre-consult calls. And it’s always because I don’t have time, I don’t have time.

Well, one thing I’ll say is, I was at a clock store once and it said, Why don’t we have time to do it right the first time but we always have time to do it over? This is the same philosophy here. You don’t have time to make a pre-consult call, but you have time to waste on consults that never book. If you look at it that way, boy, start thinking differently about the quality of your consult traffic other than the quantity of your consult. When they say they don’t have time I say, well, when is your surgeon in surgery? Two or three days, they’ll say, and I say, well, there’s your time.

And the secret is you have to block it. No one’s ever going to get anything done when they have time, it has to become a block. They have to say, I’m going to block on my calendar for two hours, three mornings, a week, and I’m going to pre-consult calls. And the reason we’re doing that is the pre-consult call, in a nutshell, is to bond with the caller ahead of time, before they meet, because the biggest thing patient said was, I felt comfortable with this practice, I felt a connection with them, with a doctor, with a staff. I felt good about them, and that’s the secret. How do you make it happen? Well, you don’t bombard somebody, you don’t need a stranger and run them through your processes. You’ve got to do some pre-setup here, to get them in the mood. Another thing about coordinators not having time, you need to make sure they’ve got the time. If you have them wearing three different hats, if they’re the office manager, and the marketer, and the coordinator, they’re right, they don’t have time because their focus is not on revenue generation.

The coordinator is everyone’s important for sure, but the person who’s in charge of bringing in more money, they have a top priority with their time. They’ve got to focus on this revenue-producing activity than getting busy doing the busy work, which will make none of you any money. That’s never good. Make sure they only wear this one hat, to focus on calling prospective patients, meeting with prospective patients, helping them decide. Following up if they didn’t, that should be their ultimate job. It’s got to be a priority. The best thing you can do for them is to become the aesthetic adviser to the prospective patient. If you think about a prospective cosmetic patients, they’re full of uncertainty and fear, fear of not doing something, fear of doing something and regretting it. The emotions that go on are crazy, because it’s not just psychological, it’s physical, it’s emotional. It’s everything that we go through. The best thing you can do, or this cosmetic patient can do, is has a friend in the practice, who’s helping them on their journey through this world of cosmetic enhancement.

As much as we think everybody knows everything about this, thanks to social media and Google, they’ve never heard it from you or had a personalized for themselves. This is a big deal. The more time you take here at the beginning, the rest of the time in the middle and the end goes much more smoothly. You’ll save time and get to a ‘Yes’ more often. There was a question I got that said, you talk about bonding with prospective patients, but my consults are back to back. What do I do? I know this practice, most of you are busy. It is in the middle of COVID and it doesn’t even make sense all across the country. Everyone is busy, they can’t even see straight. It’s a phenomenon, I believe cosmetic rejuvenation has become a necessity. The mass-market believes they must have it, and they must have it right now. That’s terrific it’s not always going to be like that or if it is congratulations. I would set up processes to make sure things go a lot more smoothly when you’re busy.

So I still would say stick to find the time and don’t back up all these consult quickly. If you have to consult back to back, you know it comes out in your reviews when they say, I felt rushed. I felt this surgeon didn’t hear me. I felt it was a one-way conversation and nobody answered my questions because they were busy. It felt like a factory. I’m sure if you’ve heard it, that means you’re booking them too close together, and they need a minute to breathe, nobody’s going to decide when they’re hurried although some will but most don’t. Also deciding takes a while. What I like to do is pre-frame it to get to a ‘Yes’, when they get there. For example, if your coordinator is super busy and back to back, at least use automation to help her bond with the prospective patient before they visit. With all these masks going on, you can’t bond with somebody wearing masks The best thing you can do is, do a zoom consult ahead of time, without a mask, everyone can see you ahead of time, or have her do videos ahead of time, welcome to the practice, do introductory videos, that would be fun. She could say, I’m Susan, a patient coordinator, I’ll be helping you through your journey, and be relaxed.

She should tell her own story. She can brag about you, do an office tour, send emails with her photo and signature in her signature box. She can even do an intro video email that she can send. To build trust, people like to see each other. all you do is or have your coordinator open her iPhone, she doesn’t have to use her own but she would open it and do a quick video Hi, Susan. She could do a generic one, she doesn’t have to keep doing it over and over. Hi, this is Susan, the patient coordinator. She introduces herself and talks about what your process is and what the patient can expect, at least there’s a chance they’re going to feel much more comfortable when they visit because they’ll say oh, I know you, I loved your video and I loved all the email you sent me, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable.

Regarding the pre-consult call, I’ve been in sales my whole adult life. Since 20 years old, I used to sell office equipment and air freight shipping services. I’ve been around a long time and one thing I learned was the objections you get at the end. Why in the world wouldn’t you prepare them ahead of time, you don’t get them anymore at the end? Why not handle them at the beginning? For my pre-consult call, the coordinators are trained on four things, they’re going to make a phone call and it’s something like Susan, it’s Catherine with Dr. Smith’s office. I’m to meet you next Tuesday at 3 pm, for your consultation and to help you prepare for it. I wanted to give you a couple of ideas, one, allow about an hour to be with us. We have enough time to answer all your questions. Two, bring along your calendar because we do book fairly quickly and I want to accommodate your schedule. Please bring along some dates, should you decide to move forward? There’s no pressure there should you decide. Three, plastic surgery is not cheap.

It ranges anywhere from five to $15,000 for the procedure you’re interested in and know we’re here to help you make happen. If you are interested in easy pay plans, we offer those. I’m happy to go over with you or let me know now. I can find some options for you ahead of time. Is anyone else going to be helping you make this decision? Whether it be your husband, or neighbor or girlfriend, or Mom, please bring them along via FaceTime? Because we’d like to answer their questions as well. When and what happens when you ask this. Now when you get to the end of the consultation, they’re not half as willing to say what they were going to say, which was I have to talk to my husband. I have to think it over. I don’t have any money. I have to leave early because I don’t have enough time to wait for the quote. Do you see what I mean? You’re trying to address it because it’s going to come.

Let me put it this way. If it doesn’t come, it’s going to come up at the end when you wasted an hour. Another question I get is, do I need to be in the consultation and I always found that interesting. I assumed coordinators were always in the consultation because I can’t imagine not being in the consultation. I’ll tell you why. Here’s a typical example, a patient shows up, sight unseen, just shows up, the receptionist says, Hi, nice to meet you, here, fill out some form and I’ll send you to the exam room, they’re sitting in the exam room. Here comes the doctor. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on. If there was no easy pass off, and the doctor brings in his MA, or the nurse, another female, and they do their thing. Somebody sends the patient to the coordinator’s office, and now they’re supposed to talk about money. Does anybody think that’s odd? I think that’s abrupt, and I don’t see how you get a good answer doing it that way, that’s not the best way to do it to get to a ‘Yes’.

I would have your coordinator bonding with them with emails, intro videos, pre-consult calls. I think she should greet the patient when they come to visit. I also believe she should be in the consulting room and make it happen, get her in the consulting room, because for lots of reasons. Number one, she will be more informed about what you’re saying so she doesn’t say something else. That way, you’re being consistent in your wording and what has been said. Also, the patient can’t say something that wasn’t true. Let’s say the patient misheard the surgeon saying something, and the coordinator said No, and I heard too, but he meant this. it helps with some miscommunication If there is some. It also helps the coordinator to be standing by watching your conversation with the patient. She can watch the patient’s body language and facial expressions.

This helps her gauge what she’s walking into when it’s time to talk about numbers. It’ll make her more confident. It’ll make the patient also confident because they keep seeing this one person with them in their journey. They’ll keep feeling more comfortable with them. I recommend it. I recommended they’re there. If the coordinator cannot be in there with you, please at least do the hallway huddle thing? Another question I got was, what do I do when the patient tells me they want to bleph. and my surgeon tells them they need a facelift? This is common, and because you’re a surgeon, you see surgical procedures that are needed. I’m sure you’ve learned by now women are insulted when they think they only need a bleph. and you think they need the whole enchilada, of course, they’re insulted.

Several women cannot say they need a facelift, and they get caught on that. They’ll say they need a neck lift, or they need something. If that’s true, you’ve got to figure out how to give them what they want without insulting them, but also give them a good result. Usually, you don’t do that directly. My recommendation is to prepare the patient strategically. For example, if the coordinator finds out the patient is in her 50s, and she’s asking for a bleph., there’s a good chance she’s going to need some more done. She’s going to also have jaw issues and neck issues. Why not have a learning center where you’re a surgeon or have a YouTube channel, and you have lots of videos explaining the difference between somebody who had a bleph. versus somebody who had a blast and a facelift? Like they did everything at one time than pieced it together. The pros and cons of both? Or if they say they need a neck lift.

I’ve heard practices say oh, well, he won’t recommend the neck lift because you can’t have a neck lift or you’ll end up with a muffin top and that’s not professional. I would have you do Q&A or FAQ videos of the typical requests from patients and why that’s a good idea. It’s a pros and cons of everything. Another one would be a tummy tuck. A lot of women are shocked about the scar there, they’re thinking to themselves, there’s no way I’m going to live with that scar. But when you do a video on it and you say, there is a trade-off, there is a scar, however, you now have a flat tummy that you never had before, and let me show you what the scar can look like as the months and years go on. So the more you prepare the patient for her different options, she won’t be shocked when she came in to get a bleph. and you turned it into a facelift and financially become pretty crazy. Because if she was going to be spending, let’s say 5000 on a bleph., and now the bill is 25,000 there’s no way she’s going to say ‘Yes’, she’s going to have to go home, she’s got to think about it, she’s going to have to think about financing, and there’s a good chance you might lose her.

Please always do the hallway huddle, mate, and that’s why I like the coordinator to get to bond with the patient first, hear where they’re at, hear who they already spoke to. This is where we women are good at bonding. You might hear your competitor did exactly what you were going to do, and she’s pissed off and she said I went to and for a bleph.. He wanted me to have a facelift, I’m outraged and wouldn’t it be good to know? She wants to lift, give her uplift, give her a good bleph., give great service, and she’ll come back when she’s ready for the rest. The last thing was, how do I respond? How do I respond when we’re more expensive? Now, I want to say something about COVID, and I find interesting. All of us have always said it’s always price, right? It’s always price, price, price, we all talk about price.

It’s much easier to talk about price than the other reasons. We’re not saying ‘Yes’, it’s easier to say no, no, it’s too expensive than to say, I’m uncomfortable with something you said. I don’t like somebody here, I’m not comfortable going to the hospital. It’s easier to say you’re too expensive. With you are more expensive, I want you to get together as a team and answer this question. Why are you worth it? You know why you’re worth it, but the patient doesn’t know why you’re worth it. You know what you went through to become a board-certified plastic surgeon. I would make a big deal out by making sure you explain in visuals, in medical logos, in medical certificates or medical associations, or although speaking in the writing you do, and the studies you do and what pro bono, all add to why you’re more than somebody else. A lot of times, a plastic surgeon can say the same thing, but they don’t, you win when you do.

So, it’s not that you’re different because you are going to explain in a million different ways why you’re different or better or worth it. Hopefully, you have a private and that’s for their privacy and their comfort. You send a nurse home with them. Have your surgical procedure include your customized recovery kit. Give them your cell phone, as a team come up with how can you say why we’re worth it? Because if it’s not clear in your head or in your coordinator’s head, she’s going to fumble around trying to answer why you’re, $2,000 more. She should confidently say, oh, let me tell you why and she’s got to be real, she’s not thrown off when she gets that question. Another thing, often, it’s not that you’re expensive, it’s that they need help to pay for it. A lot of you don’t even offer to finance or you don’t bring it often. But I assure you, you’re missing an awful lot when you make the patient go home save their money and come back because they will not come back.

They’re going to be looking for help to pay for this, quite a few of them are. All you have to do with your coordinators say is, you know what, we’ve got lots of ways for payment plans. We know we have care credit, and alfian but we also have prospered or patient fi or green sky like some of these differences are not stringent on the rules or you could get a cosigner, you could do a home loan like a HELOC loan or you can open a zero interest-free credit card. Get creative with the financing because that’s what they could have been saying, this is too expensive. But now if you tell them it’s only 300 a month now, they can afford it. Do you see what I mean? That’s all I’m going to do right now.

I hope that was helpful to you and let me know if you like that because I have plenty more questions from the coordinators. You can’t grow without more patients giving you money. I would focus on this part of your practice a lot more than you do. That’s it for this time. I hope you appreciated it. If so, can you please head over to iTunes and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz If you’ve got any feedback for me, please leave me a message at www.CatherineMaley.com or you could always DM me on Instagram at CatherineMaleyMBA. Thanks so much. We’ll talk soon.

Picture of Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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