The burning logs warm your hands while the night chills your back as you sit around our Halloween campfire. Clouds shroud the stars and the inky black night blots the source of disquieting animal noises, noises you suddenly miss when they fall silent in the black void beyond the fire. That lack of sound, lack of sight, lack of life beyond the edge of sight, that unknown hollows your middle. You hug layers around yourself trying to stay warm. The squeeze of your hug forces out sweet breath as bitter adrenaline stabs your tongue.
Then you hear it. From the black, beyond sight, a noise escapes the maw. The sounds of hooves, picking up speed and coming closer. The EMR deadline fast approaches…
There are many ghouls and goblins our clients fear this Halloween night, and for your entertainment we drag a few into the light. There’s Raving Rachel the Reviewer, Claude the Clone, and Sully the Social Media Mummy.
Rachel seemed normal to our surgeon. She does to every surgeon. Perhaps there are signs of unreasonableness, but she hides them well with a smile. How the surgery actually turned out from an aesthetic point of view is irrelevant – what Rachel had in her head did not match what she saw in the mirror. And her dissatisfaction burned slow through tight smiles as she walked away and seemingly out of our surgeon’s life.
Then something strange started happening. Consults began to ask about “the revision policy”. When our surgeon turned his back, there was a buzz like a fly around his ear, only it was not wings, but “poor bedside manner” being whispered. Consults began canceling. Leads went nowhere. Business began striking and the walls closed in. Raving Rachel had a bad experience. Like casting a curse, she wrote a negative review that sucked the life out of our surgeon’s practice. She’s out there still, looking for the unsuspecting on which to feed.
She does have weaknesses. A solid and thorough patient screening process helps. Granting your staff the right of refusal helps put every member on guard for trouble. And proper post-surgery patient management with review funneling helps identify and diffuse potential Raving Rachels. Even better, with review funneling, you can encourage patients who give positive reviews to post them to the site you wish. Find the Rachel’s That Rave about your services and help their positive reviews get seen.
Claude the Clone
You opened your practice in your ideal market. Business was brisk. And then it was just decent. Then slow, and then dead. You’d call your best patients hoping not to sound too desperate and ask after their health. Always, just a slight pause before their answer, and in that pause an infinite amount of time for your heart to drop. You’d heard it before. You’ve heard it all morning. “Oh, but I just saw you last week!” And they’d describe the surgeon they saw, the one in the white coat, with the certifications, who offers great personal service and natural-looking results. Looked just like you. Well, of course. Claude is a clone, and he likes to feed on your customer base.
In the last 20 years, the number of board-certified plastic surgeons has doubled, according to the American Board of Plastic Surgery. An untold number of non-ABPS surgeons lurk with the Claudes, a vast, ever-growing army of white lab coats hungry for business. Your business. But Claudes can be repelled and their ability to clone inhibited. The Claudes can’t touch brands.
A tag line works like a charm, sticking in the minds of your patients and jumping from their mouths when they speak to friends. Strong colors, a specialized practice, striking images and impeccable, unique copy not only get you noticed, these are traits that are tough to imitate. These are the traits of a strong brand, one that will attract your customers, help keep them loyal and expose all the Claudes as pale imitations.
Sully the Social Media Mummy
Deep in the dark catacombs you post, tweet, follow, like, friend, link in, up vote, plus, digg and on and on. There’s a source of patients in this vast labyrinth. And something else, something seen just in the corner of your eye and then it’s gone. A distraction you chase, trying to get a better look. Could it have been a potential facelift patient? More tweets, more posts, you keep pressing ahead, down one corridor, around the next. On and on. And as you wind through the maze, spending your time blindly liking and plus-ing, you finally notice you are slowly being wrapped in gauze. Sully has another victim.
Sully was once human, a small business owner – he sold antiques. He had heard of the riches to be had in Social Media and dove right in without a plan. And like all explorers without plans, Scully got lost and lost track of time. Social Media does that to the unprepared, it drains time from the unsuspecting, leaving nothing but a desiccated husk. Now the Mummy seeks his revenge on the world by trapping others in Social Media time wasters.
Gauze can be cut, torches can be lit, and there are plenty of vendors with treasure maps to follow. Defining your goals and creating a publishing calendar will keep you on track and out of Sully’s arms. A good publishing calendar will center around events like seminars or open houses and promotions, with the post topics mapped out leading to up to the event or last day of the promotion. And remember, video and images garner the most interest, so build a library of content to pull from, or ask a vendor to help you build one. A library of content will help you plan and fill a calendar, save time and save you from Sully the Social Media Mummy.