Just as with starting any business, before opening an aesthetic practice, it's important to identify your reasons for doing so. In his new book Beauty and the Business, Dr. Gregory Buford discusses the critical components of a successful aesthetic practice, and the importance of customer service.
"You know, I love doing aesthetics, I really do," says Dr. Buford. "I love working with my patients. I've been absolutely blessed to have an amazing patient population that I work with." He says that it's important to enjoy your patients, and that they enjoy their physician. "Don't try to just be busy, try to be busy with patients that you actually enjoy working with because the bottom line is if you look at how you work and if your building your business and you're going to be working 12 hour days or more, that's half your day. That's half your life that's spent working. You better enjoy that, so enjoy what you're doing."
He says that it's important to understand what it is that patients need and to really enjoy giving it to them. "Have a game plan, I mean really think it through, and the money will come. I mean if you're good, you take care of your patients ? someone told me this, a senior surgeon years ago, and he was absolutely right. He said, 'Competition is competition, there's ways to compete but the bottom line is take care of people.'"
Dr. Buford says that good customer service is critical to the survival of your aesthetic practice. "I was raised in that culture of taking care of people, and that is the most important thing. You know, I talk about margins. Margins don't mean anything if you're not taking care of your patients because you'll make an awful lot of money immediately, but it won't be sustainable. You need a revenue model that's actually sustainable, that will grow in time, and you can only do that if you take care of your patients. Your patients are incredibly smart. Two of the best referral sources that I've seen - and I think most marketing people would agree with this - are number one, the internet, but number two, the best is word of mouth. A happy patient by far is your best best source of referrals."