We’re living in the coupon era; I even see guys with wads of coupons in hand at the grocery. They might even be better coupon users than females. The point is, coupons are ubiquitous.
Thus, when I saw Premier Plastic Surgery and Dermatology Associates promoting the addition of a new dermatologist and a coupon for a FREE cosmetic consultation, I called right away. Maybe it was time for me to call in the experts and see how much sun damage and “fine lines and wrinkles” were invading my face space.
When I called to schedule the appointment with Darlene, I shared that I had a free consultation coupon and would it be usable. The nice lady said yes. The appointment was rescheduled three times, and off I went today only to take a look at the coupon and find NO address on the advertisement. Stupid.
The five receptionists asked for my insurance card and I said I had a coupon for a free consult. That’s when the fun began.
Apparently, the free consultation wasn’t for the new dermatologist who had just joined Dr. Christopher Reeder’s practice; the free consultation was for him (if I wanted more boobs, a tummy tuck, cancer removal, or another wonderful procedure).
I was confused and asked for clarification and pointed to the descriptors in the ad. That’s when I needed to explain that I wasn’t there for moles, lesions, warts, skin cancer or anything else they could bill my horrid insurance for. I was just there to get a professional to tell me what I ought to be doing for my skin to attempt to age gracefully.
Finally, after about six minutes, the woman returned and said, “She’ll see you for a cosmetic consultation.”
Wait. I thought that was what you billed to the insurance company and it was for procedures, etc.? Isn’t that what you just said? Nope, that was medical and that gets billed to the insurance. Okay, thanks. Bah-bye; time to get back to work and remove myself from the circus of confusion stemming from:
An advertisement that was not written properly
An advertisement that was not going to be honored although the scheduler said it would upon making an appointment
Dermatology Practice Marketing Tips
- When dermatology practices decide to print advertisements, please test them with prospective patients first. In fact, you might even hire a professional to copywrite for you.
- Stop trying to write a book in a 4×6 advertisement; you confuse prospects and no one in your office can even interpret the ad.
- When the prospective patient arrives for the consult, honor the coupon! It could not have hurt that brand new dermatologist to come out of her cave and say hello and apologize for the confusion.
- It was obvious you didn’t want my business although I alluded to the fact that I didn’t need to carry around all this weight on my chest….hmm, a smart receptionist would’ve perked up to resurrect the potential relationship, right?
- The FREE part of the coupon didn’t say it was ONLY for Dr. Reeder; if you’re welcoming new providers into a practice, the FREE consult should be for anyone named in the ad (there were three professionals in the ad).
- A new customer walks in your office for an appointment lured in by your marketing program. Should you fight over the fine print and your interpretation of the coupon versus how that potential patient is reading your poorly written advertisement?
- Or, should you head back to the cave and politely ask the new provider you’re promoting in the advertisement to see Jayme Soulati, professional blogger, marketer and public relations professional, who may turn into a long-term customer with medical needs one day?
No matter, I’m back to work and writing about it so I can put that experience behind me. I think I’ll schedule more time with an esthetician instead.