Tag Archives: Customer Service

Social Decor for Your Office

csm hot tip social decorYou may have seen the ads for My Social Book while scrolling through your Facebook News Feed. I personally have bought 4 of them, each covering a year of my “Facebook life” from 2008-2011. I’m about to order 2012 and it got me to thinking — how great would a social book be for your patient waiting room?! Or even better – one in each exam room! (Note: we don;t make any fees from My Social Book – we just like their product.)

It would accomplish a few things:

  • It would show your commitment to patient communication goes beyond your office walls. With your Facebook page, you have built an online community of friends and fans where fun and interesting interaction happens. Patients love to be a part of that.
  • It would give them something totally unique, fun (and educational) to read while they wait. What a great first impression!
  • It would demonstrate trust. Seeing posts from fans never fails to impress.
  • It would be a great way to gain new followers on Facebook (and any other online networks). Believe it or not, your patients might not know you are active on Facebook, so this will get them motivated to join in the fun.

And put a little framed sign next to the book, and/or a sticker inside the front cover with a URL and QR code so they can like your page right then and there! Here is an example:

Lets Get Social-LJCSC

So there you have it – a little social media decor advice from your favorite social media butterflies! And please share with us your creative ideas for bringing social into your office in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

~ Monique

Customers Won’t Be Ignored: Why Relationship Marketing Should be a Key Focus for Your Cosmetic Practice

I came across this quote from Peter Shankman, which I think is quite apropos to the way customers are behaving and how businesses need to shift their thinking. He says, “The last ten years were about social media. The next 20 years will be about customer service.”

Customers won’t be ignored. They have tools at their disposal that give them immediate access to brands and businesses. But who is listening to this empowered consumer?

Is your practice prepared to handle what Brian Solis calls “Generation C” (the connected consumer) for whom sharing experiences with others is key? Relationship marketing – what we feel is the next iteration of social media – requires more than a mere presence by your practice.

Throwing up a fan page on Facebook and Google+ and hooking up your blog to auto-post some impersonal message is not enough (and we contend it never was, but that’s just us). This kind of automation of content is not personal, it is not engaging, and the viewer can’t even tell if it’s relevant to her, so why should she bother clicking to read more?

Signing people up for your newsletter is not enough either. Look at what Peter does when you sign up for his newsletter:

By inviting you to connect with him personally over a cup of coffee, Peter is setting the bar much higher than most – and with good reason. Relationship marketing is where it’s at. Savvy businesses who understand that expectations are higher than ever are busy building deeper connections to their consumers that are next to impossible to break.

Social platforms have become a key means by which consumers (and patients) communicate with brands and each other. Rather than thinking about your social media expenditure as “marketing”, think of it as an patient retention tool.

Remember when nobody thought the fax machine would ever take off? “Why would I EVER need to get a piece of paper to someone immediately?!” But they became the norm instead of a “nice to have”. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest as your new norm.

Think You Can Skip Facebook? Think Again…

A few days ago MediBeauty.biz editor, Tom Seery (who I love, by the way), put up a blog post entitled, “Doctors Don’t Need to Be on Facebook (and other good news)“. First let me way – that is a BRILLIANT title! Seriously, who wouldn’t click on this!?  But regardless of the genius title, I think there are a few flaws, so I sat down to give my thoughts…

Here is my response:

“Interesting points here Tom. I think the waters are being muddied in your article, however.  By saying “You don’t need to be on Facebook” I believe you are actually doing them a big disservice.  And I don’t say this because it’s what I do for a living – I say it as a former practice administrator who spent 20 years in plastic surgery management and marketing.  I know from firsthand experience how much of a difference it made in our practice’s patient retention, loyalty to our brand, repeat business, community awareness, and last but not least, referrals.

Now, should physicians THEMSELVES be on Facebook? The answer is yes, if they want to, but for their personal profile for friends and family *only*. These guidelines were set forth by the American Medical Association in late 2010 so this is not new news.  However, whether or not the physician wants a personal profile is less important than the PRACTICE having a page.

Implementing a practice Facebook page (and this goes for all social media platforms) opens an online channel for your practice/brand to engage with current patients, their friends (most likely to buy), and prospective clients on a daily basis. If you think about it, you cannot do this any other way.

I believe RealSelf offers surgeons a wonderful platform to show their expertise and let the patients “get to know them”.  Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Foursquare, all provide additional touchpoint opportunities. With Facebook’s Graph Search implications (see this blog post for more) and the strong SEO benefits of social media in general, it’s more important than ever to be active in all channels so you are connecting with this new digitally-connected consumer.

We have become a culture of sharing. The connected consumer shares everything – how they feel about you, your brand, your products, and your service. It used to be a happy customer tell s one person and an unhappy customer tells ten. NOW – that same customer can tell hundreds or thousands the good and the bad with one touch of her finger – and 70% of consumers will believe her!  This is the shift from word of mouth being “one-to-one “ to “one-to-many” and is why social media is not a “nice to have”- it’s expected.

Remember, Facebook is not a marketing platform, but rather another communication platform, similar to the telephone, email, or RealSelf) but the beauty of it is that you engage with patients where they are spending time (and on their terms).  Your updates have to be relevant and engaging to be worthy of a like, share, re-tweet, re-pin, etc.

As for the results you found on whether or not social brings new patient activity, I would question how these practices conducted and measured their social media efforts (see: this blog post about Dark Social Media). All too often the practice sets up a page and leaves it to wither and die by not updating on a regular basis (and losing out on Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm for getting seen in the news feed), not engaging when patients comment, or flooding the stream with marketing posts. The saddest part is how many 3rd party providers don’t “get” social media either. So MD’s might be spending good money with so called experts who don’t understand the nuances of social and therefore implement the wrong strategy.

Social media is relationship marketing. Brian Solis, global new media thought leader called social, “The new cost of doing business. In an era of connected consumerism, to earn customer attention, trust, and loyalty is a cost and an investment in relevance and relationships.” (Click here for info about the new empowered customer)

 

 

Dark Social Media – The ROI Secret No One Wants to Divulge

The Future’s So Dark, You Gotta Wear Shades?

The original song lyrics of Timbuk3’s one-hit-wonder actually were, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” So what’s up with “dark” reference, you ask? Well, I figured that since we’re going to talk about dark social media, it would be more appropriate to don some dark shades.

First let’s start with the concept of “dark social media”…

In this article which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in the fall of 2012, Alexis C. Madrigal coined the phrase “dark social” to refer to social traffic that comes to your site from “sources invisible to most analytics programs”. He explains:

“It (dark traffic) shows up variously in programs as ‘direct’ or ‘typed/bookmarked’ traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that’s not actually what’s happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone G-chatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.”

Mr. Madrigal studied this topic further with the help of a real-time analytics firm called Chartbeat. What he found was extremely interesting, especially how it relates to Return on Investment, or ROI, (which we’ll get to soon). They found that dark social isn’t just some inconsequential figure, too small to worry about. They concluded that almost 69 percent of social referrals (see pie chart below) were dark, followed by Facebook at 20 percent and Twitter at 6 percent.

So I ask you… if nearly 70% of your social traffic comes from dark sources, how can you can measure the ROI of social?

My answer (and I’m not alone in this) is, “you can’t”…but this is not to say that social media has no value to you and your practice. In fact, I believe it’s much, much more valuable than you give it credit for.

Cue the “Future’s So Bright” chorus!

Courtney Seiter of Marketing Land said something in her post on the subject that sums it up perfectly…

“It’s a shot to get on someone’s radar and let that person know you’re cool, smart, funny, interesting and valuable to have around. And if you keep being all those things, eventually they’ll want to get to know you better. Or even tell their friends about you. That’s the value of social media – the potential to create a new relationship where there wasn’t one before. And then the ability to repeat that process as many times as you have friends and fans.”

Loyalty. Family, Affinity. Devotion. Allegiance. Bonds. These words are like gold for a practice (or any business for that matter).

You know the cost of acquring a new patient is much higher than a referral or return visit by an existing patient. So why obsess about the ROI of social media when it can be one of the key elements driving your retained and referred business? One presentation I saw asked, “how do you measure the ROI of your telephone or your copier?” It’s a core business tool, plain and simple.  And one of my favorites… the famously outspoken Gary Vaynerchuck (aka. Gary Vee) said in a 2011 keynote to inc500, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” (Watch the 3 minute video – you’ll love it.)

And Brian Solis, Prominent Social Media Thought Leader and Principal of Altimeter Group, said in his new book What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, “Perhaps this is just the new cost of doing business. In an era of connected consumerism, to earn customer attention, trust, and loyalty is a cost and an investment in relevance and relationships.”

Given the “that’s so 90’s” feel of ROI, I propose some new terms…

Mari Smith talks about ROE – Return on Engagement. An excellent alternative. But let’s delve even deeper. What about…

  • ROE – Return on Empowerment – The “connected consumer”, as Brian puts it, is in charge. So arm (empower) her with relevant, valuable content, and you will earn her undying devotion (and her friend base!). Put THAT in your calculator and see what happens!
  • ROR – Return on Relationships – Having patients feel an affinity to you and your practice creates a family-like bond, one which hopefully gets stronger with time as you continue to deliver wonderful experiences both in the office AND ONLINE!
  • PAF – Practice Affinity Factor. This metric would measure not only patient satisfaction with office visits and procedure results, but also referrals, return visits, coupled with online engagement.

So the next time someone asks you the ROI of social media, I encourage you to put on your dark sunglasses and just smile… because you “get it”.

P.S. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!


*P.P.S. I highly recommend Brian’s new book (as well as his previous ones).  As a creative person I’m especially loving the hardcover version (versus the kindle) because of the art & images by Hugh McLeod @GapingVoid.

Delete Facebook Posts at Your Own Risk…

Let’s say you are a brand… let’s say ChapStick for example… and your marketing department decides it’s time for a funny ad campaign. The top brass signs off and the campaign is posted in social media sites such as Facebook. So far – nothing too unusual. And Facebook, the heart and soul of social media, seems like the perfect place for a hip & lighthearted ad, right?

Well, not always

Check out the article from AdWeek (link below) for an example of how sometimes it’s not the creative that gets you in the most trouble, it’s how you react to your customers’ comments that could do the most damage to your brand.

ChapStick Gets Itself in a Social Media Death Spiral A brand’s silent war against its Facebook fans By Tim Nudd

Social Media “High T” Number 3 – High Touch

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration. Over the past few weeks we have explored Trust and Transparency.

Now we will talk about the value of HIGH TOUCH.

Touchpoints are interactions that your client has with your brand. Some examples include:

  • an in-office visit
  • a call to make an appointment
  • a reminder text message
  • an eBlast with your latest office news

Each one of these touchpoints allows your patient to connect with you, and more importantly, form an opinion about you. The opinion will either make them feel a stronger affinity towards your practice, or leave a negative impression.

Think about your practice for a moment. Depending on your specialty, you have a limited number of times that you see a patient in your office in a given year. Some might include:

  • Post-op /Follow-up Visit(s)
  • Injectable appointments
  • Before/After Photos
You may see some patients more frequently, and some you might not see at all.  Therefore, you should think about touchpoints that:
  • happen throughout the year
  • add value
  • are interesting
  • are varied (in-person, eBlast, email, telephone, text, mailer, social media)

Social media is a perfect way to accomplish every bullet on the above list. Between blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, LinkedIn group postings, etc. you can really keep the message going all year long in variety of venues. Sometimes you will be educating your patients about a new procedure in a blog post. Or you might tweet to share an upcoming event. You might share a YouTube video of  you on the news, or showing off a new tool that you use to make the patient experience more comfortable, etc.

The point is, you can use social media channels to keep your patients in the loop in a very positive and non-threatening way. With every social touchpoint your patients will feel more connected to your practice, making them much more likely to refer you to their friends and family. And remember, with the “viral” nature of social media, they will also share your message with others (at no additional cost to you!).

Next week, we will explore the final “T” in our Social Media High T’s series… Traction! Stay tuned!

And if you found this post valuable, we’d love to have you pass it on to a friend or colleague!

 

Social Media “High T” Number Two

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration.

Image Source: EverydayTenacity.com

This is the second post in a series called Social Media High T’s – Read Week # 1 here

This week we’ll explore the second High T: HIGH TRANSPARENCY

We know what you may be thinking… I hear this buzzword all the time, but what do they mean by transparency?

The issue of online transparency really came about in blogging’s early days when less than honest bloggers would post rave reviews of products and services in exchange for payment or “free stuff”. Of course, it’s a little hard to keep things impartial when you have payola involved (at least in my experience). Combine this with corporate and government greed in the news, and all of a sudden, the public got wise and became much less trusting of what they read.  This culminated in a big backlash and a big emphasis on transparency and authenticity.

But as an online marketing participant, how can you incorporate the idea of transparency in your patient communications?  

I have a few ideas for you…

  1. Be Humble: No one likes a snooty, “I know more than you, therefore I’m better than you” physician. We know you went to med school and have a wealth of knowledge to share. But share it from the heart to help people, not to prove how much you know. Have someone read over any blog posts you write to make sure they feel like the “real” you (even if you didn’t write them -which in itself isn’t authentic but I’m just being realistic).
  2. Be Authentic: This comes down to being yourself… flaws and all. Give them a peek behind the scenes in your office, a typical workday, or some photos from your latest weekend hike. When you are yourself, you will actually be much more approachable to your patient base. In turn, they will feel a stronger kinship and tie to you which leads to higher patient retention (translate – loyalty) and referrals.
  3. No Hidden Agendas: Post information to help people better their lives, not pad your wallet. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to make a living, but trust me when I tell you that we consumers can see right through even the best-disguised sales pitch.
  4. Be Credible: If you make a mistake, own up to it… publicly. Let’s say you have a post on your Facebook wall from a patient who had to wait 45 minutes to see you at her last post-op appointment. The worst thing you can do is delete it (trust me on this one- the backlash to a deleted post can do more harm to your credibility than the original complaint). Instead, face it head on. Post something like this: “Our office strives to be on time for each and every appointment. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, our schedule dosen’t always go as planned. We value our patients’ time and do our best every day to live by The Golden Rule – treating our patients the same as we would like to be treated.” 
  5. Be Influencing versus Controlling: Not every conversation online will go exactly the way you want it, but you can help steer it in the right direction. It’s okay to disagree, just do it in a humble manner. Remember – what you post on the internet is “forever” and you can’t take things back or have “do-overs”.
Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments section below! We’d love to hear your input.  Next week we”ll discuss High T number three… High Touch… so stay tuned!

 

 

 

Cheep and Cheerful – The Southwest Airlines Way

I read a Facebook post today from my friend Jamey Ice, a member of the band Green River Ordinance (and if you haven’t heard of them… you need to get to iTunes and pick up their new album Out of My Hands and follow them on Twitter @GRO.  Anyway… he was headed on an American Airlines flight to FL and was lamenting that it wasn’t Southwest Airlines.

So… what does Southwest do that others don’t?

I was fortunate enough to attend the Center for Services Leadership’s annual Compete through Service Symposium a few weeks ago and Dave Ridley, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management, at Southwest Airlines, was a featured speaker.

Dave summed up the motto of Southwest Airlines in three words… “cheap and cheerful”. It’s really all you need to know… (well, assuming safety is a given!).  But in my vast experience traveling on Southwest, their motto is consistent with their actions (they walk the talk).  Have you ever encountered a Southwest team member who was rude or grumpy?  I haven’t.

Dave also talked about the company culture… all employees have a sphere of influence. They are all empowered to deliver superior service.   But Dave…” how do you get employees who do this? ”

Three ways… Southwest:

  1. Hire great people
  2. Put people first
  3. Lead them well and no BS  (meaning “Big Shot” leadership)

He also emphasized three things that all Southwest employees need to have:

  • A warrior spirit (being innovative and creative)
  • A servant’s heart
  • A fun-loving attitude

I think Southwest has it right… and I try to embody these last 3 principals in my everyday life.  Do you?  I think any company who does has a huge wing up on their competition!