What Makes You Worth Your Fee? 4 Steps for Developing a Unique Service Proposition
March 19, 2019
When Option A appears to be the same as Option B, all that really matters when making a selection is price. When prospective patients do not see a difference between you and a competitor, they will tend to choose the cheapest. This is the economic principle of commoditization.
In an editorial for the Aesthetic Surgery Journal1, Dr. Foad Nahai listed commoditization of aesthetic surgery as one of the three contributors to what he dubbed the specialty’s “New Normal.” Dr. Nahai described the pressure presented when surgeons engage in expensive marketing efforts and at the same time cut fees to counter competition.
In contrast to commoditization, differentiation is the process of distinguishing your service offerings from others, which ultimately gives you pricing power.
Nahai suggests that practices that have best adapted to the new normal worked diligently to differentiate themselves from competitors. They know how to establish the importance of training, experience, patient safety, and overall quality of care – rather than price – as essential aspects of selecting an aesthetic provider.
In a highly competitive aesthetic market, practices that wish to maintain a premium price and avoid becoming a commodity must be prepared to differentiate themselves by articulating their Unique Service Propositions (USPs) – the qualities that set them apart from competitors and are perceived as valuable to patients.
Follow these steps to develop your USPs.
1. Brainstorm with your team an initial list of what makes the practice special.
During a staff meeting, give everyone a pad of sticky notes and ask them to write down all of the things that make your practice unique and attractive – one item per note. Then, have staff read what they’ve written, grouping similar notes together on a wall or flip chart.
Writing “board-certified” is not allowed, unless you truly are the only one in your geographic area. USPs are distinctive benefits that explain why a patient would choose your practice over another.
Some ideas to get you going:
– Evening consultation times available
– Computer imaging available at the consultation
– Holistic approach that includes nutritional analysis
2. Define the benefit of each feature.
To get to the true patient benefit, ask the question: So what? Example:
We have our own accredited surgery suite.
Because we have our own accredited surgery suite, we have complete control of ensuring the highest quality and safety protocols are followed. We hand-select the OR team, all who have been with us for more than five years.
We have a Vectra machine for imaging.
During your consultation we will use our Vectra machine to do 3D imaging so you can visualize your expected surgical results on your own body.
We offer complimentary post-op makeup.
Our aesthetician will show you how to apply special make-up to camouflage any residual bruising or discoloration so you can confidently get back to your normal activities.
3. Combine, rework, cut down, and wordsmith.
Your USPs should be as specific and simple as possible. Create succinct and attractive soundbites that are easy to remember and distribute to everyone on your team.
4. Ensure all staff members can explain the USPs.
Have staff role play explaining the USPs to a potential patient until they feel comfortable and confident instead of sounding scripted and robotic. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect; pretty soon the USPs will flow naturally into conversation.
5. Don’t keep them a secret.
Take a critical look at your website and social media feeds. Do they look like everyone else’s or do your unique features shine through? Waiting for patients to call the office so the staff can explain your USPs is a mistake; you may never get the opportunity. Including the practice’s differentiators in website and social media content is a smart way to distinguish you from competitors, and inspire people to call.
1Nahai, F. (2015). The Aesthetic Surgeon’s “New Normal”. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 35(1), 105-107.
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