Uber Doing Botox & Filler Housecalls

Just a few short weeks ago, in a major city close to you, close to a thousand Uber drivers teamed up with with a thousand registered nurses to deliver concierge medicine services — a flu shot for $10. Actually the flu shot was technically free, as long as a “wellness pack” was purchased, which included an UberHEALTH-branded water bottle and tote, tissues, hand sanitizer and a lollipop.  For $10, the nurse could deliver ten flu shots with the purchase of one wellness pack — which means that a team of co-workers can get their annual jab in the arm for the low-low-low price of $1 each.

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Uber yet — in the simplest possible terms, it’s a ride-sharing service that has turned the conventional taxi industry on its head. Riders use the Uber app to request a driver, and can see how many Uber drivers are close to them.  As soon as a driver accepts, the app pairs the rider and driver so they can find each other, it tracks the car’s every move from pick-up to drop-off — and simply charges the rider’s credit card at the end of the ride. You get to rate your driver and he or she gets to rate you as a passenger. I last used Uber in New York City a couple of days ago in the pouring rain — while there was a line of miserable-looking, wet New Yorkers waiting in line for a cab to show up, my Uber driver picked me up in a brand new Cadillac Escalade, offered me bottled water and refreshments… and whisked me off to my next appointment.

The bottom line is that Uber is what I call a “brilliant and disruptive” technology. It’s taken an industry that was rife with problems, dishonesty and inefficiency, and completely turned it on its head — this time designing it the rider in mind. Founded in 2009, Uber is now international available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide.

So last year, when Uber announced the launch of UberHEALTH and did a test run of their delivery of registered nurses armed with flu shots, it had many skeptical medical clinics dismiss the initiative as one that would just be a passing fad. Not likely. My prediction is that UberHEALTH is going to get not only into concierge medicine in a big way, but into the very lucrative field of cosmetic medicine — delivering door-to-door Botox and fillers to the privacy of your own home — for a fraction of the price of being treated at a reputable aesthetic clinic.

So what does all this mean for the future of your aesthetic practice?  It’s yet another warning shot across your bow. If you are relying on cheap prices to attract patients to your door, your marketing needs a serious facelift. Differentiating yourself based on price is the single worst and most risky marketing strategy you can use — because there will always be someone more desperate than you who will go lower. Or, as in the case of Uber, a giant distribution network and multi-billion-dollar company that will sink prices like a stone.

But here’s the really, really good news. Not everyone buys on price. In fact, MOST people will not buy based on price, which is why so many of us drive luxury cars (when a cheap Kia hatchback is all that’s technically needed to get you from point A to point B).

The secret is in building a distinctive brand for your aesthetic practice that helps patients realize the value of your services and treatments — versus the ultra-cheap guy just down the road. Telling them about your extensive training and experience isn’t enough anymore. Your marketing has to go a lot further, by educating your patients about the risks of going to “the other guy” — and the advantages of going to you, and at the same time building rapport and relationship with each and every patient. If you’re hearing a lot of patients say, “I can’t afford you,” or, “I don’t have the money” — that isn’t what they’re really saying. The truth is, we all find the money to spend on the things we want the most (which is why, often, the poorest parts of town often have the biggest TVs and loudest sound systems). What they’re really saying is, “I don’t see the value in your services and what you’re offering.” This is a Class-A marketing problem that you need to fix immediately, by implementing a marketing system in your practice.

And next time you’re standing in line for a cab at the airport, consider downloading the Uber app and experiencing the convenience of this service for yourself. And then think how you can implement something just as impressively customer- and patient-oriented in your own practice, to get patients raving about you.