Presenter: Welcome to today’s episode of True to Form, with your Host, President and Co-founder of Crystal Clear, highly regarded speaker, and two-time Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, Tim Sawyer. True to Form is a podcast that highlights leaders making headway in the aesthetic, antiaging, and elective medical industry. Learn from the experts to discover the secrets of success and pitfalls to avoid when growing all aspects of your elective medical practice. This week’s episode is brought to you by Touch MD, the only one aesthetic technology hub that educates your captive audience in the waiting room and consult room, consistently captures and manages photos, provides digital charting and consents, and allows patients to take their experience home to share what they learned with friends and family via the practices patient app. Please join me in welcoming your host, the authentic, the transparent Tim Sawyer.
Tim Sawyer: Hello, and welcome to the fourth and final episode of Practice Management Month here on True to Form podcast that connects you to the people technology and hot topics that shaped the elective medical community. Provided to you by Crystal Clear Digital Marketing and brought to you by this week sponsor, Touch MD, the leading all-in-one aesthetic technology hub. I’m your host Tim Sawyer, to our returning guests, we say welcome back, and to our first time listeners, we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a subscriber.
Last week we spoke with Tami Pickens, President of insurance company ISU-ARMAC, in which he broke down how to protect your practice from click to brick, including cyber liability, ADA compliance, and all things related to HIPAA. If you missed it, you need to check it out. Which brings us to our next guest, who I’m so excited to introduce, she is a long term friend of the people at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, super successful in her own right. Today we have Renee Smith, who is the Director of Operations for Buckhead Plastic Surgery, and Co-Owner of Slim Studio, which I’m curious to hear about. With more than 18 years of experience, she is a seasoned veteran when it comes to growing cosmetic surgery and ancillary services within the practice.
Renee brings a unique 360-degree perspective to any project. Her perspective is shaped by managing plastic surgery practices and consulting with practices across United States to implement growth strategies, loyalty programs, and provide sales teams and customer service coaching and training to staff, which I can’t wait to talk about. Renee is passionate about her patients and team, and she believes the people who carry out the vision of the organization are the key to its success. So without further ado, I’d like to say to Renee, welcome to the program.
Renee Smith: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Tim Sawyer: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Renee Smith: Well, as you mentioned, I’ve been in plastic surgery in the industry for over 20 years. That does age myself a little bit, but it has been an amazing journey. I have a Finance degree from Georgia State. So my — I was on a different path, and I took a little part time job in the plastic surgery process while I was figuring out where I was going to — where my financial career was taking me, and I was completely intrigued, and was obsessed and enjoy the environment and helping patients and transforming lives, and it just stuck. It was–
Tim Sawyer: What’s the — when you say I fell in love with it, what was it about elective medicine that you fell in love with?
Renee Smith: So medicine in general was extremely intriguing to me since I had really all my training was in numbers and finance, and I did not ever really dabble in any type of medicine, science, anatomy, physiology. So that in itself was amazing. And I was super attracted to that, and then just meeting the patients and being with them through the journey, and seeing how it could really change and transform themselves, their mind, their confidence, it was quite liberating and just being there and being a part of that was an amazing process to me. So it — even though it’s supposed to be just part time, short term, it ended up almost over half my life.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, and here you are in the thick of it, of elective medical boom. Yeah, I’m really excited to have you on the show, to the program because one of the things that we talk a lot about on True to Form is the importance of financial literacy inside the practice. We see that a lot, that’s missing, in other words, we’re running a practice–
Renee Smith: Yeah, [indiscernible] [00:05:10] I realize that.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, so there’s that piece that’s important. But what’s interesting about you is that not only do you bring financial literacy to the game, but you’ve also it seems like you’ve got a passion for actually hiring people, training people up, building teams and coalitions. And what I’d like to do today, which I thought would be fun, is we have April Linden with us as well, returning to the show. And I know she shares a lot of that passion, particularly as she goes out and brings it to our clients with Crystal Clear around building teams and coalition and growing that part of the practice. So I want to introduce April, and I know April has a few questions for you that she’d like to ask. Go ahead April.
Renee Smith: Absolutely. Hi April.
April Linden: Hi Renee. Thank you so much for agreeing to participate today. I actually, I want to tap in, it’s interesting for as long as I’ve known you, I didn’t realize you had a financial degree from Georgia State. So I would love for you to share with us a little bit about how you blended some of that data ninja love into how you lead your people. And maybe some of the things that you use in helping your team being more successful in regards to some data because I know you have a very strong data background having worked in software as well as in this leadership role.
Renee Smith: Yes, well, interesting that you asked that. Some people get it and some don’t. So as far as the hiring and interview process, we can teach our staff what they need to know about the industry, about plastic surgery, about Med Spa, about procedures, about what their role is in the office, but we can’t teach personality. So the very first thing we look for is common sense and personality in general. That doesn’t — often does not have anything to do with numbers or finance or anything that actually typically confuses people tremendously. So we try to keep that very basic at the beginning.
April Linden: So as you move forward, kind of in your training process and your onboarding, what are some of the things that you focus on how to make your team successful and growing Dr. Larson’s practice in the cool sculpting part of this organization?
Renee Smith: Training of the staff is so important. Our staff is what makes — any staff is what makes the practice, the environment, it’s what keeps patients coming back, it’s what keeps patients happy, satisfied, loyal, and returning, and referring. So we spend a lot of time with training, training our staff on all the ins and outs, the processes, all the procedures, the technology that we use. But with that being said, and that being medicine, and doctors being doctors, it’s constantly changing and evolving, so it’s really important to keep the continual training up and going and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Tim Sawyer: Let me ask you this Renee, because I’m curious. So we work with almost 500 practices, and we don’t meet a lot of folks with the stripes that you bring to this and it’s amazing how — one of the pushback that we get in general, about whether it’s launching new initiatives or improving initiatives that are already in place, is you hear things like well, my staff doesn’t want to do it, I can’t make them do it, these freaking people. So if you’re referring to your employees as these freaking people–
Renee Smith: That’s why the personality.
Tim Sawyer: But how have you been able to over time in different environments, shape the culture so that there’s a culture of embracing training on whether it’s technology modalities, whatever, or service in general? How do you keep — start that and keep it going?
Renee Smith: I just think it really goes back to personality and people being open to new ideas and wanting to try new things and be on the forefront of services and technology and be the best of the best. They need to take ownership in what they do and they need to understand their representation of the practice and the practice needs to be put the best — the whole practice staff, everybody needs to put their best foot forward. They — knowledge is power, so the more that they’re educated, the more knowledge they have, the better understanding that they have, that they need to be on top of this, and they can’t just get left in the dust and — or over the next practice will very quickly generate some momentum and get ahead. There’s so many tools and resources out there available, and again, it really just goes back to their personality and their being open and willing to change and adapt and move fairly quickly and they have to be driven. And of course, we put some incentives and commissions and things in place that seem to — seem to work and seem to keep them encouraged and open to new ideas and not only that, but open to come to us and bring in new fresh ideas to us as well, which is, is refreshing. I’m sure you guys have all experienced that.
Tim Sawyer: You can feel it when you go into a practice and that doesn’t exist. You can like–
Renee Smith: And it’s so stagnant and stale.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, you can just feel it and you see the looks on people’s faces and–
Renee Smith: They’re not happy, there’s not this culture, not good morale. Yes, so we try to stay away from that. We try to give up the–
Tim Sawyer: Hear people swearing at each other through the walls. That’s usually a red flag.
April Linden: So one of the things that I talk about in my talks, calls, and presentation is the three types of people in a practice. There’s 30% of the employee base that show up to a practice, and honestly they’re like, how do we deliver a six star service and a five star scale? And you’re like, wow, I want more of these people. In my talks, there’s — I talk a lot about somebody named Miriam. And then you have 53% of the employee base that show up, they punch the clock, and they pretty much do just about the minimal amount of work in order to get to five o’clock and they get to go to happy hour and go home with their kids. And the sort of biggest opportunity or nightmare for most ownership is the people that are labeled very affectionately, the cave people. And what that stands for 17% of the people, show up, and they are continuously against virtually everything. I like to refer to them as the toxic pairs in a work environment.
Tim Sawyer: So I know you and I have — so true, and I know we talked about this, but can you share some of the tips and tricks that you’ve put into place in Dr. Larson’s practice that also as you’ve worked with hundreds of practices across the country on managing the toxic pairs and how you’re able to kind of come up with some strategies to minimize the effects of toxic TP and maximize the effective — those 30% that are your cheerleaders?
Renee Smith: Well, it is quite a challenge. We try — we really try to — they typically have some identifying personality traits and characteristics that you can identify at the beginning and just not even hire them. But sometimes as to see, there’s a lot of deception there, so sometimes you let them in, and we try to create such a tightknit family environment because obviously, you spend so much time at work and with your colleagues that you really want to have the best working relationship and be able to support each other and help each other and be there for each other. And when that doesn’t exist, it’s imperative that you just have to let that person go. It doesn’t necessarily even matter how productive they are, because if they’re bringing morale down and it’s affecting other people and it’s just a negative toxic toxicity being led into the work environment, it’s just not worth it. They are replaceable, and you can always find somebody that’s going to be — bring more positivity and be a better asset to the practice.
Tim Sawyer: I have a question. If you don’t mind sharing, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen an employee do that just left you shaking your head in your hands?
Renee Smith: Oh, you mean you’re talking about millennials?
Renee Smith: I mean, like, I don’t know, calling in sick and then seeing the Instagram pictures of them go to Miami. And they’re not even fazed by it when you call them out. They are just like, yeah, that happens.
Tim Sawyer: Have you seen a big shift Renee in how you manage these folks, particularly millennials, who are like, yeah, I did that?
Renee Smith: You know, you really have, I mean, they’re entitled, they don’t want to work, they want to be — they want to come in and be paid like the highest of all the other employees that are tenured employees. It’s — I don’t know, what they’re teaching in college, I don’t know how they’re setting expectations differently than — I don’t know what’s happening out there.
Tim Sawyer: Well, we gave everybody a trophy for 20 years.
Renee Smith: Right, that everybody gets a trophy. That’s so true.
Tim Sawyer: But these people, and Audrey is a millennial as am I, as you know–
Renee Smith: Yeah, I’m not speaking about, I do apologize. I didn’t want to — you are doing amazing stuff out there.
Tim Sawyer: We’re — this is a huge part of the community. And they can be if — creating the right culture, they can actually become huge advocates for the practice.
Renee Smith: Absolutely, they’re very talented. They are very talented, they do seem to be more educated and, or differently, like they’re all very technical and as far as like in graphics and photos, and they’re all very further advanced than when we were when we came out of school obviously. So there they have a different skill set and they know that.
Tim Sawyer: In many ways, valuable just in a different way. I want to — I don’t want to hijack because I know April has got a library of questions, but I do want to make sure that we talk a little bit about your loyalty programs. Have you outside the distinctions and that type of thing, have you customized programs that you found work really well between the plastic and the Med Spa services? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Renee Smith: Yeah, we have. I mean, as we all know, you pay a lot of money to get a patient, and if you can’t keep them, you’re doing an injustice. So we value our patients and we want to take care of them and give back to them, and when they refer, we want to take care of them for that as well. So we put a membership program in place at our Med Spa that really took off. It’s, a win-win, I mean obviously they come in, they have — if they take advantage, fully advantage of the program, then their skin will be glowing and they are defying aging and they are extremely thrilled. I don’t think we have a member that’s not, honestly, if they do end up having to cancel, it’s simply because they ended up moving or their work schedule changed, and there’s some limitations. Our patients love, love, love the membership, they love the providers, we had amazing provider, so obviously, if we didn’t, they wouldn’t stick around. We have — we try to offer not every single new procedure that hits the market because we don’t believe in all of that, but we know what works, and that’s what we offer, and that’s what keeps our clients happy and it keeps them strong referrals.
Tim Sawyer: And so in the loyalty program, how is the primary introduction? Word of mouth when the new client comes into the Med Spa or you are promoting that with — through social media or email or how are you doing that?
Renee Smith: All of the above and just the initial phone call. We let them know about it so they can start considering it when they come in the office. We let them let them know how — whatever their skin care program is, how the membership would benefit them. We short term, long term, we do post this on our social and our websites and through E blast and drip campaign. So they’re definitely touched many ways by it, typically their first or second visit to the clinic, they’re already hooked, and they’re already in number.
Tim Sawyer: Amen, because there’s a lot of data that supports that approach. You guys are — I give you a lot of credit for doing that.
Renee Smith: Yeah, that’s been amazing.
Tim Sawyer: April, I know you had some other questions, I don’t want to raid in your parade.
April Linden: Thanks Tim. It’s raining here in San Diego, so that’s not so funny. So we talked about your biggest employee shocker, how about the most rewarding employee experience that you’ve come across in your 18 years? Once again, it can be something from within, or maybe somebody that you’ve worked with while traveling in the field. Share a story about something that you’re super excited about, that you’ve had an impact on.
Renee Smith: Most rewarding, the most rewarding stuff. So just similar, but a little different, we have a little incentive in place that we call Buckhead Babe. And my office manager came up with the concept and it is a staff member every month is voted on, who made the biggest impact to whether it’s to the practice, to the staff, or to a client that month. And they are then highlighted and featured and honored and given a nice little gift card. And I feel like that has really been exciting to the staff, and everyone enjoys that they’re able to participate in the process and every one I feel is working a little bit harder because who wouldn’t want to be honored and be given a lovely little gift? And it’s been a boost of confidence, and I feel like it has really improved morale and helped the culture of the practice.
April Linden: Well, I think it’s always nice when your coworkers are catching you do something right because we know that it’s more often than not that you’re hearing from the negative patient or the negative staff members. So when you get to the staff meeting once a month, and you’re going through the bags or however you determined who the Buckhead Babe is, it’s fun and it validates, I think for everybody, why we’re here. Well, oh, remember how you took the extra step and you drove Mrs. Smith all the way over to Alpharetta. That was an hour and 15 minutes out of your day, and it sure made a difference in her life. Thanks so much. And you know that you’ve made a difference and they take the opportunity and they’re sharing that success kind of outside of your office. And they’re posting on their own social media platforms, wow, it’s not a job for me, it’s my passion. And it’s your passion that will make a difference, and they have this beautiful post. So, kudos for you, how do I get to ne a Buckhead Babe?
Renee Smith: Any time you’re welcome.
April Linden: So I know not only you do some internal training in your office that the staff sometimes has the opportunity to go out and go to some meetings, how do you take advantage of the trainings that your — you and the staff are exposed to? I know you were at a manufacturers meeting over the weekend and did the staff come back and they shared the knowledge that they’ve learned and you put together kind of some ideas and implementation. What is — what does that look like in your practice?
Renee Smith: Yeah, so luckily we’re in Atlanta, so we have an opportunity. A lot of the vendors and companies come to Atlanta to host these events. So we have a lot of opportunity to attend. The staff goes, we encourage them to go and learn as much as possible, there’s always good pearls, there’s always good takeaways. They do come back excited and — excited to share it with the rest of the staff members. We — the trainings are really invaluable. And the other nice thing is if you don’t — if you’re not able to attend, they have a ton of webinars. The companies now, there’s — they are really into the training in a lot of the devices and everything has consumable. So the harder our staff work, and the more we sell, the more the company benefits. And so they finally realized that, so they finally realized that they put a little effort into the training of our staff, then it’s a win-win for everybody. And we appreciate that and we take full advantage of it. They’re looking at things from a slightly different perspective, and they have a little bit more time on their hands to do the training, so we take advantage of it.
April Linden: As you need to, because even the most effective staff member out there realizes that there’s always something that they might be able to do that’s going to have a different impact, and I think that kind of plays into that 30% that are like, I’m a six star employee. But at the end of the day, the success or failure of a team really comes down to great leadership. And you and I have worked together over the bulk of your 20 years, we’re kind of vintage, I don’t like to think that we have tons of experience, which is vintage, we’re like a good wine. And I would say — I would say that what I see in you and why you and your team is so successful is when you took this position as being a director, you didn’t sign on to be a director because you wanted the title. You like other people know that great leaders don’t set out to be a leader, they set out to make the difference, and it really isn’t about the role, it’s about the goal. And the goal being a great experience for your patients, and how do you get that great experience? You get the great experience by aligning a team of people toward that experience from top to bottom. And I just want to say thank you for everything that you’ve been doing in that practice and to the industry in general.
Renee Smith: Right, well, when that’s in place, everything else just happens. It’s just organic, and we have some of the goals that we’ve reached and obtained. We didn’t even know our goals 10 years ago, but since everything was in place, and we were successful, things just continue to grow and expand and grow and expand. And that was that super rewarding and gratifying, and everybody feels that way, everyone knows they’re a part of it, couldn’t do it alone, couldn’t do it with — if every staff didn’t take ownership and really put everything into it. So it’s all about the staff, the staff represent the practice, they are the face of the practice, and they are super important to have to invest in them.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, I think that’s a great message. And I can hear it in April’s voice in our organization, she was just grateful that we took the cameras out of the bathrooms and–
[Off Topic Conversation]
Renee Smith: No, it’s been a pleasure, it’s wonderful. It’s an industry that is constantly evolving. There’s always something new and exciting and the people are so amazing, and the knowledge, wealth and knowledge, and the doctors are fantastic. And every doctor has their own school of thought and perspective, and they are all right, and it’s amazing to hear them.
Tim Sawyer: And we’re — I was so grateful that you could join us, and now what do you got to go with this fall? Any shows coming up that you are headed to or into the spring?
Renee Smith: Any shows?
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, do you do like go to big training shows or trade shows, that kind of thing?
Renee Smith: What do we have coming up here in Atlanta? We have a site time summit coming up, we have the big breasts symposium coming up. We have a ton of — there’s a ton of laser devices that are out there like Candela and InMode, and all of those coming to town. So we like to go — and Allergen. So Allergen hosts a lot of events as well, we like to attend all of them and learn as much as possible, see what the competitors are offering, so a bit of competitive edge.
Tim Sawyer: Think about writing a book anytime soon?
Renee Smith: Absolutely. It’s already halfway done. April and I are a team. We are co-authoring. We will come, we’ll do a signing for you.
Tim Sawyer: Well, listen, I would love that. And so first of all, once again, I want to say thank you, and I know it’s doing these types of — they take up time and it’s not always the most comfortable thing, but like I’ve promised, you have been amazing, and I only have one question left. And that is, how about a commitment six months from now with the listeners where they love to catch up with you again, get you back on the show, and see how things have evolved and changed since?
Renee Smith: I love it. That’s the deal.
Tim Sawyer: That’s a deal. So once again, Renee, I want to say thank you; April, I want to say thank you to you, we really appreciate it. And the big takeaways are obvious guys, if you’re trying to grow a practice, you’ve got to create the right culture, you’ve got to hire the right people, you’ve got to put your employees and your patients, value them above all things. And it doesn’t hurt that Renee is not only passionate about the business, but brings a high level of financial literacy, and that seems like a pretty good winning formula for success as it’s played out. So Renee, I want once again, I want to say thank you to you, want to say thank you to Touch MD, the leading all in one aesthetic technology hub for their sponsorship today. Anybody interested in learning more about Crystal Clear, we encourage you to visit the website at Crystal Clear DM dot com or Crystal Clear Digital Marketing dot com and check out the site and give us a call, we are always glad to help you out. Thank you very much Renee, and I hope you have an awesome happy Thanksgiving.
Renee Smith: You too guys. Thanks so much.
Presenter: Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of True to Form, brought to you by Touch MD, the only one aesthetic technology hub. To learn more about your podcast sponsor, visit touchmd.com. And to learn more about your podcast provider, Crystal Clear, visit crystalcleardm.com. Also be sure to subscribe to the show on all your favorite music apps including iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and tune in to stay up to date with the newest episodes. Thank you for listening.
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