When investing in a therapy laser, most people spend time comparing the features/benefits of the equipment, but neglect to do their research on the companies behind the equipment. The first question most practitioners are thinking is, “How much is this going to cost me?” The real question might be, “how much am I willing to risk by buying a product that might not be supported by the vendor in the next couple years?” Making a sizable capital purchase should be looked at with a wider view, beyond just the purchase price.
Here are 4 questions every healthcare professional should ask before bringing laser therapy into their practice to avoid making a costly mistake.
Is the company selling the laser also the manufacturer?
At first, this may not seem like an important question. Often vendors selling laser platforms sell equipment from multiple companies with different levels of quality and varying levels of history in the laser market. This can make it difficult to compare apples to apples when looking at a pricing list.
As with any product, quality can vary from company to company. Knowing the service history of the company that makes the laser as well as the track record of the vendor selling the equipment is a good place to start. Looking at how they’ve been reviewed on their website(s) as well as what their social media reviews look like, should start to paint the picture of whether or not you want to start a business relationship with that company. If you are having trouble finding any of this information on a given device or company, this should raise buyers’ level of skepticism regarding the long-term prospects of the potential relationship.
Buying directly from the manufacturer of the equipment has significant benefits. Getting older units serviced can become problematic when purchasing equipment from companies that are not well established. They may go out of business or discontinue carrying the device you purchased. This can make it difficult or impossible to maintain your equipment over the life of the unit.
Dealing with a reputable manufacturer often enables customers to have lasting service options/ warranty opportunities on their laser, which creates peace of mind for the end user regarding service and ensuring the longevity of their purchase. As equipment ages, it also opens the door to trade-in options if your business decides to upgrade the laser. Vendors that simply sell the equipment on a commission basis, usually have no mechanism to trade-in older equipment and provide any value regarding your initial purchase.
For instance, when a laser company introduces a newer platform that may have options you desire, what options do you have? LightForce customers over recent years have been able to upgrade their equipment when desired. They received substantial trade-in value for their older unit and were able to move into the more current i-Series platforms with updated software, and in many cases increased power output. Is having that type of flexibility important to you? If so, asking what kind of trade in programs a company has to offer should be part of your due diligence.
What happens when something goes wrong?
Even the highest quality therapy lasers on the market occasionally need servicing. Having a live voice on the other end of the phone goes a long way in these instances. Having your laser equipment down for any length of time can result in frustration and lost profits. LightForce understands this and provides industry leading customer service, making sure that you are up and running as soon as possible. Often a solution can be worked out within 24 hours, even if that requires a loaner unit being provided.
Questions you should consider regarding customer service include:
- What kind of warranty does the equipment carry? What specifically does it include? Does it only cover the cost or repair, or does it cover shipping too? Is a loaner unit provided during servicing so I can keep treating without interruption?
- When I have a problem or a question, is there a dedicated customer care team available to answer my call or email? Can I trust that they will be able to answer my questions or find someone in a reasonable amount of time? Will they be willing to work with me until my problem is resolved?
- If presented with a challenging case, is there clinical support available to answer treatment questions? What kind of professional answers these questions? Are they able to provide recommendations regarding both clinical and operational problems to ensure optimal results from my laser program?
I’m a provider, not a marketer. How do I make sure this is successful for me?
When you’re focused on providing excellent care for your patients, it’s often difficult to balance the heavy responsibility for marketing your practice. Educating people about your services and increasing your patient base is important for the long-term health of your practice, but you don’t have to do it all yourself –when you are partnered with a company who is as committed to your success as you are.
Make sure you inquire about the level of marketing support a company provides. Do they offer marketing packages for purchase that include both digital and print media? Do they also offer educational resources such as webinars, eBooks, blog posts, etc., that will further bolster your marketing efforts?
Look at the online presence of any companies you are considering. Are they working to educate people about laser therapy? Do they have an active presence on social media and post content that you can share with your audience? Many people rely on the recommendations of friends and family when looking for practitioners, and social media is where they are making these recommendations in real-time, so if you’re not working with a company that is helping promote your services on-line, you are missing out.
Will my staff and I be trained how to use and implement this modality?
It is also crucial to find out what kind of training is offered. You may be eager to get started using your new equipment, but proper training and installation are crucial to the success of your laser therapy program. Inquire carefully about how your staff will be trained on the laser. Is it in person, on line, or is training only provided via printed materials that come with the unit? Training should not only include the basics of equipment operation and treatment techniques, but also steps for achieving clinical integration to make sure you’re generating a desirable ROI from your laser program.
Look for a Partner, Not a Purveyor
Implementing a successful laser therapy program requires more than purchasing a quality piece of equipment. To get the biggest ROI on your investment and your time, you need to closely evaluate the company you decide to partner with as support, longevity, and your ability to rely on their guidance in a number of areas will ultimately define the success of your program.
If you’re ready to get started with a laser therapy program in your practice, click here to schedule your free in-office demonstration and find out why LightForce is your ideal partner.