At our practice, we emphasize lifetime patient value. Simply put, that means offering a range of products and services intended to meet the full range of patient needs—including those things the patient may not even consciously be considering. It also means providing those products and services with exceptional outcomes and superior patient satisfaction. These are the keys to developing patient loyalty and building strong referral networks.

Showcase Your Services

Many aesthetic practices already offer an impressive array of services and products that should meet the various needs of most patients. This encompasses everything from retail skincare, aesthetician-level services, non- or minimally invasive medical treatments, and surgery. The issue is sometimes perception: Patients don't know your menu of services unless you tell them.

In our waiting room, we have a video loop showcasing different devices. Often, for example, a patient who comes in for breast implants will ask about a device, as well. That's how we create more value in every patient that walks in the door.

Build Referrals

Patients who have good results bring more patients with them. It takes time, but word of mouth referral occurs. Review sites have helped that. For some physicians they hurt that. Physicians who hate review sites need to consider why they dislike them. There's a lot of criticism, but these sites are what the consumer is looking for. They seek validation of their decision. If they choose to come to you, oftentimes they'll either research you before or after they leave your office. If they have an experience that's not commensurate with your reviews, then there's a disconnect. You can have great online reviews, but if the patient has a terrible experience in their consult, they won't become your patient. Reviews work when you have happy patients. And happy patients are happy to talk about their experiences.

Building Blocks

Building a practice begins with a good staff with vested interest in its success, people who care about you and your practice and where you want to go. The next step is to create happy patients. Happy patients come from a single thing: caring. Not every surgeon has a perfect result. Not every patient heals perfectly. But if you care, that patient will understand that. And if you work to get things to where the patient wants to be, you will get those 5-star reviews. I can't tell you how many times patients tell me, “You've spent more time with me than every physician I've seen in the last three years,” and we've only spent about 20 to 30 minutes. That's an indictment of the healthcare system, but that's also a benefit to our practice.

The practice will grow when you care about your patients. You can have the greatest lasers; you can have the most beautiful real estate; you can have fountains and cucumber water and a spa-like atmosphere with harp players in the corner. But it won't keep the patients if you don't care about them. Patients are very sensitive to that.

Other than having children, building my practice has been the most rewarding experience of my life. There are parallels in these experinces. You have to care for your practice. You have to educate it. You have to raise it up to be a reflection of yourself, just like your children. If you don't tend to it, it will be something that you won't enjoy spending time in. Patients won't either.

Want more? Watch Dr. Khorsandi discuss practice planning at ModernAesthetics.tv or download the app.

Christopher Khorsandi, MD, FACS is Founder of VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills. He is President of the Las Vegas Plastic Surgery Society and a frequent lecturer. In this series he presents tips for starting an aesthetics practice based on his successful experience.