Two great questions: #2

“I guess this doesn’t apply to opthamologists”. I guess that’s not really a question, but it’s what someone in the audience muttered when I finished my talk.

OF COURSE it applies to opthamologists.

Remarkable marketing is the only way to grow. That’s not what they teach you at eye doctor school, but even doctors are beginning to understand that the health insurance free ride can’t and won’t last forever.

Medical care has operated in a weird twilight zone for a long time. Basically, many customers of health care don’t pay (except with their time) for the services they get. In a marketplace where people are fearful (they want the best, not something flaky) and where everything is free, it certainly appears that the best approach is to play it safe, to keep your head down, to force your product to become a commodity and just wait for your fair share of the business.

In essence, most medical professionals are focused on being reasonably well recommended and reasonably convenient. That keeps the waiting room full, and until recently, the coffers filled.

The problem (at least in the USA) is that health insurance doesn’t pay as well as it used to, doesn’t pay promptly and often (for more and more people) doesn’t pay at all. In other countries, doctors are compensated by their popularity, so there’s an incentive (though not as much) to get people in the door.

Bottom line: remarkable doctors (the ones that people talk about) can charge more, can see more patients and have more security.

Being remarkable is not about a better ad in the Yellow Pages. It’s about everything from the way the receptionist interacts with the patient (hint: receptionist comes from the word ‘reception’) to the way the doctor talks to the patient.

What’s become clear to chiropractors and dentists (who went first in the marketing game) is that the actual quality of the medical care is often secondary. The fact is, we have nothing to compare the medical to. We don’t know if a different doctor would have cracked our back better, or if a different eye doctor would have made our vision less fuzzy. What we DO know is how we’re treated, cared for, accomodated and talked to. And it’s amazingly easy to do this in a remarkable way.

The sooner you start doing this on a regular basis, I would have told my friend the opthamologist, the quicker you become remarkable.