How do you grow from one to three successful clinics in less than a year? For Jesse Curatolo, manager of the clinics in Rockville Centre, Scarsdale, and Syosset, New York, the key has been education.
“It’s all about breaking the cycle of lice,” Jesse said. “I explain to parents that if they don’t contact the parents of their children’s friends and schoolmates and tell them that they should be checked for head lice, they are going to send their children back to the same situation where they got head lice before and might get them again.”
After dealing with the stress and anxiety of head lice, the last thing parents want to do is go through it again. So, they are much more willing to talk about it.
“They are very motivated at that point to stay lice-free,” Jesse said. She even helps moms write group texts to friends with invitations to come in for a free screening. “A mom to mom recommendation is the most powerful advertising we have.”
She also invites parents to provide online reviews at that same moment when they are most thankful and relieved. “I know that a lot of people will go online before they call us, even when recommended by another mom,” Jesse said. “If they see a lot of five-star reviews, they will call.”
A competitor that has been in business for ten years has 12 reviews; Jesse’s clinics have received more than 100 five-star reviews in one year.
Jesse also educates educators. She reaches out to schools, PTAs, pediatric practices, and community organizations to teach the community about head lice, how the lice cycle works, and why traditional treatments are no longer effective. “It amazes me how healthcare professionals and educators continue to recommend outdated products,” she said. “When they learn the facts, they are grateful, and, in many cases, they start sending families our way.”
The phone keeps ringing.
When it comes to reviews and recommendations, it is critical that customers have a positive experience. “For our treatments, we focus 100 percent on customer service,” Jesse said. “I am passionate about helping people, and that’s why I love this business. We work hard only to hire people that share this passion and will go out of their way to make sure people have a positive experience here.”
To do that, Jesse says she interviews about ten people for every technician that she hires. “There is a difference between providing a great service and providing a great experience,” she says. “We find people, mostly young moms, that love to help people and love the flexibility the job provides. They can tell us when they want to work, and we give them those hours.”
“When your employees love their jobs, they want the clinic to be successful. They work just as hard to deliver great experiences, get great reviews, and help moms spread the word about how to break the lice cycle,” Jesse said.
“It is important to seize the moment when customers are most happy to be lice-free and are most motivated to remain lice-free,” Jesse said. “They are happy to recommend us at that point and much more willing to admit to their friends that they have been dealing with lice in their families. We have to help them get beyond being embarrassed about having lice. Silence is one of the great enablers of head lice in our culture.”