Amber Moncrieff on 5 Star Practice

I’ve been really looking forward to this podcast and finally it’s here. Today I’m joined by Amber Moncrieff, one of the most dynamic ladies in the aesthetics industry.
Amber is the co-founder and Director of the multi-award winning Hunter Plastic Surgery, based in Newcastle, She has a strong business management and corporate communications background, complemented by tertiary qualifications in law and commerce and an MBA from one of Australia’s most prestigious business schools.
Amber shares the in’s and out’s of what makes Hunter Plastic Surgery a true 5 Star Practice. “From that morning huddle, through to a monthly team meeting, through to our quarterly updates, through to our six monthly planning and performance reviews – everything is about constantly improving, upskilling our team, and making sure that they’re delivering what we want for patients, which is really that WOW – 5 star experience.”
Don’t miss this fun and exciting podcast, hit the link in our bio to listen now!⠀
Transcript- Amber Moncrieff on 5 Star Practice
Trish 

Hey listeners it’s Trish Hammond here again from Aesthetics Uncensored, and today I’m joined by one of the most dynamic ladies in the aesthetics industry as far as I’m concerned and her name is Amber Moncrief. Now Amber Moncrieff is the director of Hunter Plastic Surgery. Now Amber actually started the practice with my husband Dr. Moncrieff. They founded it together in 2009 and they have created what is an absolute Five Star Practice so today we’re going to talk about what they do differently and how they do it and why they love doing it. So welcome, Amber.

Amber

Thanks so much Trish. Great to be here.

Trish 

Oh so good to have you here. I’m so excited about today. I can’t tell you. So, tell us before we even start so tell us like how did you even get into the aesthetics industry?

Amber

Oh, that’s an interesting question. Um, so I met Nic or Dr. Moncrief, depending on how you know him, but I met Nic when I was in my mid 30s working in Sydney and he was just sort of finishing off his training. And I was just finishing off an MBA and we met and fell in love and got engaged quite quickly as people tend to do in their mid 30s, when they’re starting to think about having families, and we moved up from Sydney and set up Hunter Plastic Surgery in Newcastle. So a bit of a change for me, someone that’s sort of trained as a lawyer and worked in banking and in politics, to be running a plastic surgery clinic. But as it turns out, it all worked out for the best and the skills that I have complement the skills that he has.

Trish   

Yeah, it’s true. It’s the perfect duo really, because obviously, you’ve got the business side. Because when you’re in a clinic, you either like most clinics, you see the clinic as a practitioner, and so how to do the hands-on stuff, but you don’t necessarily know the business side. So this is like the perfect unison, the business side and the hands on side.

Amber

Well, yeah, and you wouldn’t be the first person to make that observation. Interestingly, I sort of joke sometimes that Nic and I actually had an arranged marriage because we’re actually related, sort of, you need a whiteboard to kind of figure it all out  but yeah, basically, his second cousin is my sister in law from my marriage. And we actually met on Christmas day in 2007 and my mum was there that day, as was his mum. And my mum came up to me and just loved Nic. Older ladies just tend to really love Nick, he is really warm for the man, I think having a great mum helps there. He’s very close to his mum and my mum came up and said, Oh, Amber, she said, you know Nic is just about to finish plastic surgery, but he was telling me he knows nothing about setting up a practice and how to run a practice and you have just about finished your MBA so you know a lot about business. And at the time, I was like, calm down mum, like, is this gonna be an arranged marriage? And as it turns out, yes, it was.

Trish  

Oh, my God, I love that, like, give me goosebumps when it appeals to the Italian side of my personality. I love those arranged marriages. It’s so good. But somebody I didn’t even know that and, yeah, that’s fantastic. So tell me, because there’s no doubt about it that Hunter Plastic Surgery, and you guys have created like a business that is, I believe a business that that people in these aesthetic industries should aspire to be like, I’ve spoken to many of your patients on a lot of our groups, I’ve spoken to them to do interviews and stuff like that and you have managed to create this like, extended family, but it’s like a family of patients. Because It’s very personal as it’s personal and fun but as serious as well. But it’s also fun, if that makes any sense. How do you manage to do that in an industry like this?

Amber

Well, thanks, Trish. I mean, yeah, I think that is a family business. But not just family, because I just happen to be his wife kind of family, I think what I bring to the table in terms of my background, and how I look at things, is quite different to other spouses and that’s not to minimise the contribution different people make, you know, there’s a lot to be said, for having a spouse that’s not in this industry because obviously, for Nic and I, we’re not talking about either our kids are a practice pretty much 24/7. So sometimes I think it would have been better if I did something else for a living and we had other things to talk about. But I think it is reflected in our practice. We love what we do and we’re successful in it and that’s great. But as you know, we’ve all just been through varying degrees of lockdown. And I love coming in when we went through the last lockdown that was more difficult, we were fully shut down this time, we’ve actually been able to largely keep operating and that’s been really important for Nic and I because this is really our passion. We love our kids, but homeschooling is definitely not our passion and so I think that that’s what is coming through in our practice, it is just that we love it.

Trish  

And you know, you’ve got great staff, and I know that your staff absolutely love you. They love working for you and a lot of your staff were actually patients themselves before hey, so it’s almost like you recruit from within?

Amber

Definitely. And you know, I just gave a talk a couple of weekends ago at the annual ASAPS conference. So for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, you were giving a talk there too and when I talk about the things that really helped us in our practice, our team is definitely one of those things. And so yes, we do love to have people that have already been Moncrieff magic recipients. And because that gives them an insight into the journey, and the transformation in a really realistic way that you couldn’t have unless you’d had that experience so a number of our staff and some of them are more public about it than others have, have had surgery with us. And so they’re really great with patients, they’re really realistic. They know the ups and downs, they know that for that first couple of weeks, people often regret it, wish they hadn’t done it all of that sort of stuff that first roller coaster ride that you go on after surgery. And so our team can really hold their hand through that process and I think that’s really important.

Trish

There’s a lot to be said for that, because I don’t know how many people that work in a clinic that have never actually had a procedure. But it’s so true, unless you’ve actually walked in those shoes yourself, you cannot really empathise with the patient, what the patient’s going through, because it’s a totally different, the post, the pre anxiety, the surgery, and then the post op stuff and the blues and all that, like, unless you’ve been through it, you really don’t know what they’re going through.

Amber

Absolutely. And I think our team are very empathetic women, because they are all women, apart from our surgeons, but I think unless you really been there, or you’ve just seen it a lot, it is hard to imagine, it’s a bit like being a mum, isn’t it, because you all have an idea, everyone has an idea of what you’re going to be like, as a parent or as a mum, until you actually have children and the rubber hits the road. And it’s really a bit of a rude shock at times and so it’s interesting with our team, because many of them came to work with us, before they actually became mums. And you’re always as an employer, you have this sort of thing that you can heal God when this person who’s fantastic one day, gets married, or has a baby, how’s that going to impact on their work here, and they’re going to stay with us and things. And I think one of the strengths that we have is that anyone that’s ever gone on maternity leave has actually returned to work with us. And in fact, I believe they are more valuable after having that experience, because they, so many of our patients are mums, and they absolutely they know firsthand what the body changes are, what the commitment that you have, when you’re going in for surgery, before you became a mum, versus after that feeling of responsibility, you want to have a procedure, but you’re thinking more what happens if something happens to me and what happens with my kids and it’s a totally different level, isn’t it? That you have the team members that we have, like Jess and Alicia, who have become mums, while they’ve been working for us, I think have been even better afterwards returning to work, and really being able to understand the patient’s perspective on that, particularly of mums.

Trish

That’s true. And I guess even as well, the fact that, like I know that when they come back to work, you’re you’re really accommodating as an employer, really accommodating to what it’s like to be someone who’s just had a baby, and you’re not going to be able to work full time 40 hours a week or whatever, but it lead the way you haven’t just sort of said yet, no, you’ve got this much time off, then you got to come back and do this, it’s sort of like you work around them as well. 

Amber

Oh, absolutely. I mean, the people in our team that have gone off and had a child and then return, they’re our family. And I know myself when we had our first son, and then less than two years later had the twins. I remember coming in at the beginning, and I would have our first son on the booth breastfeeding him while I was trying to do all the pays and things like that, send the stuff to the accountant. And because those things needed to be done, and they really needed to be done by me, obviously and that was two weeks in. I remember that first time I came in breastfeeding and paying bills. Obviously, we don’t expect that of the team but anyone that’s had a baby with us generally has come in for our monthly team meetings and things almost from the beginning, because they just love being around it, knowing what’s happening, and then coming back and then we’ve tried to be really accommodating in terms of you’re going to come back one day, a week, two days a week, we just make it work. And the most recent one was Jess, our Practice Manager, and I think she after four and a half months was back one day a week and then has built that up to three and a half days a week. And that’s worked really well and Alicia really stepped up as acting Practice Manager during that time and has stayed on as Assistant Practice Manager because obviously with Jess being here five days a week, that sort of gives us full coverage. And that’s worked really well for us. We’re quite open and I know Jess has had a hard time with little baby Jasmine in terms of sleeping and things. And she’s like, I just don’t know if I ever want any more children. And I’m like, if you can, I really encourage it, and you can really support you doing it. So she doesn’t feel that pressure not to have another baby for a few years, I think it’s, if you want to have another baby, you need to feel that you’ve got a job and that people are very supportive of it.

Trish

Yeah, exactly. That’s so true and on that, I reckon that’s true. So, like, as a patient, they join your community, but as your staff, it’s like a, it’s another sense of community. So it’s sort of like, and I think that’s like the whole sacred I reckon to what you’ve done is the fact that you’ve managed to build these sub communities, within your own community, if that makes any sense and like, that’s to be admired. There’s no doubt about it.

Amber

Yeah, thanks, Trish, I think, what we try to do is recruit the right kind of person, and then train them up in the other stuff. So they don’t necessarily have to be experts, they don’t have to come from a medical background to work in our team, we can train. What we can’t train is attitude and sort of disposition I guess so for us, the team, the way that we get great results for patients in terms of that love bubble that we talk about, in our practice, really wowing patients, comes from getting the right people, training them well, and continuing to do that. So everything from we have a morning huddle. Every single morning we are in the admin room and we write down things that are happening in the practice, or at the moment, it’s been things that are happening with COVID. And what’s the latest rule? And can we continue with this surgery or that surgery, all that stuff, to more sort of a fundamental basic sort of stuff. We’re expecting a big delivery that day, who’s going to put it away and get it away from, being in the way for patients, things like that, we have our goal of the day. So every team member has a goal of the day, that is something that they really want to make sure is completed and often those are associated with patients. So it might be making sure that the PSPs, our Plastic Surgery Planners all go out for the upcoming patients that day so they’ve all got the information that they need. So things like that, so we everything from that morning huddle through a monthly team meeting through our quarterly updates through to our six monthly planning and performance reviews, everything is about constantly improving upskilling our team and making sure that they’re delivering what we want for patients, which is really that one wow, five star experience.

Trish

So it’s like it sounds like it’s really process driven, hey. So you have your processes and procedures and you follow them step by step by step by step and then if a new one comes in, if new process procedures come in, you just slop them in where they’re going to fit.

Amber 

Absolutely. I mean, the word process is so darn unsexy, isn’t it? It’s like, oh, God, it sounds like McDonald’s, like there’s a process but the reason McDonald’s has processes and I guess this is where my sort of background in business and things comes in. The reason they have that is that they can consistently deliver a product every time that the customer expects, and that’s why we have processes to I could just say, Oh, well, let’s just leave it and patients are booking and all that sort of stuff, and you guys just figure it out, we don’t have any documentation that we have a new team member, someone will just train them up, well, then what ends up happening is that process falls apart. And that’s when you end up with situations like patients saying, Well, I didn’t get this really important piece of information that would have helped me make a more informed decision at the beginning of my journey. That’s a major problem and so getting those things in place, just means that the soft part of it, the delivery on that service can all be executed by our staff, but is underpinned by getting the basics right. The icing on the cake is fantastic, but you want to make sure you have a cake.

Trish

Yeah, no, that’s so true. And you know what I love about that, as well as the fact that because I have seen clinics, I’ve spoken to clinics that are very reactive, and this just makes your clinic proactive rather than reactive. So you kind of already know what you already know what’s going to happen. So you plan for what’s going to happen before something happens so that bad things don’t generally happen because you’ve already planned for that not to happen if that makes any sense.

Amber  

As much as we can. Trish. You know, things have happened in the last 18 months, particularly around COVID that I think it’s fair to say none of us are happening, but we’ve still tried to learn from it each time and say okay, well we know last time in lockdown this worked or the didn’t work. So when we’re going into the latest version of the lockdown, how are we going to handle it to be more proactive than reactive? And I guess, because of my background, I have that kind of corporate planning sort of calendar in the back of my head at all times. So in December, I sit down, I look at what’s gone really well this year, and what hasn’t, and what’s coming up across the industry across our practice and I come up with a bit of a plan of these are going to be our goals for the next 12 months, and how do we do them. And then we have a final sort of team meeting at the end of the year, where we talk about what those goals are, we talk about how the team is going to integrate them in their own performance plans, and how we’re going to measure them. And then every three months, we sort of check in, we set the goals for six monthly, so that can be everything we’ve just done with a new IT upgrade. And that as you probably know, from anything, it always sort of runs over time and over budget. But that’s really important, it’s really important, because we were just finding that we were having a whole lot of IT problems, and when you got an IT problem, and you can’t log into your software, and confirm people’s appointments and things that impact patients. So planning for that, executing on that, we’re dealing with issues where there have been some things like that. And then other things that we rolled out a patient intake, online intake form, things like that are things that we set as six monthly goals, but also things around our marketing, so doing some big patient photoshoots with real patients and things. So we put all that in our plan, and then we execute on the plan, we measure whether we’ve achieved those goals or not and we set new goals.

Trish

Yep. And you know what, on that patient, those photos, they are amazing, like really apart from the fact that they look great. It’s just so good not to have a stock photo, as someone’s patient, like, we know that when we’re looking at your website, we’re looking at your photos, they are real people that you’ve done real surgery on and done real procedures on and actually feel great about themselves sets it comes through.

Amber   

Oh, well, thank you for that. It’s something you know, when you first start off, I think everyone including myself, you’re setting up your first website, you’re looking through what I stocked images, and you’re trying to pick some nice pictures of some attractive looking women. But you know, I think it is a bit of a feminist myself and a realist about body and body image issues. I think it’s really important that we don’t see mommy makeovers marketed by 9-10 year old models that have been photoshopped so for us, I think we started that transition. I think more and more, when we went to just breast and body surgeries, that was 2017. More and more, we were getting patients, the sort of the patient’s selfie kind of thing and we all think of the patient’s selfie as the stripes that are 22 year old breast augmentation, but it’s not we were getting, selfies of 50 and 60 year old women that just for the first time felt great in a bikini or felt great in an event, dress that they were going to the races in and things like that. And it really got us thinking about who we were and who we represented, and that patients are the best people to represent what we’re capable of. And so we sort of went down that model, we were using more and more of the patient’s own photos and then we had the opportunity to really set up sort of an experience for some patients that were already putting a lot of their own content out there. And we started doing photos, photoshoots in house and then we’ve done lots and lots of those, we’ve also gone and gone to different places to do them and hotels and different sort of spaces. And then earlier this year, we did a huge one. I think we had 22 women from sort of like teens through to early 50s come along and it’s a day to get a bit glammed up and have some beautiful photos taken to really showcase everything that we do. So yeah, so we, in our marketing, you will not see any stock images. Every single person that you see in our marketing has been here. We don’t always tell you what they’ve been here for. Some patients are a little bit more circumspect than that and we respect that. But everyone that you see in our marketing has been a patient.

Trish

Yeah. And you know what if I was the patient, I’d be like, Oh, my God, I want that because like that’s like getting glammed shots for free. 

Amber  

Oh, absolutely. And we have people ask us and so we, I think the last time we did it, we actually put something up on our social media about how we select, who we invite to these things, and it’s people that are already sharing a lot of content. But it also has to be arranged, we can’t just have 22 year old girls that have had Breast Augmentation, it needs to reflect the range and the age, and the body types that we see across the practice. So we see patients from the late teens really through to, I think we’ve had in this year, we’ve had a few sort of early 70s patients. Obviously, the bulk of our patients are really sorted from 20 to sort of, probably 50-55. But we do need to reflect a range and so that’s why you won’t just see one type of procedure in our patient journeys as we publish them.

Trish

Yeah. And I’ve just having, like people that I speak to online, on social media, all that stuff, Nichas developed, or Dr. Moncrieff has developed a real like, he’s amazing at what he does, there’s no doubt about it, because you can see other people doing the same procedures and there’s a finesse that certain practitioners have and that’s better than say, what other practitioners have, in my view. So I was gonna ask you is, so he specializes in certain procedures so what, because you changed it a few years ago, you decided to specialize in just these procedures? So what are they? Can you run them through for us?

Amber 

Yeah, well, look, I think a lot of plastic surgeons start off and come out of their training and do a little bit of everything and there’s a few reasons that they do that. One is to sort of get them busy early on and GPs quite like that. So early on, when you’re getting referrals from GPs, they kind of want you to say yes to every plastic problem that they have, because then it’s easy for them to refer. What tends to happen over time is that plastic surgeons figure out what they love the most and for some of them, that is sort of reconstructive work, whether it be some breast reconstructive work or facial reconstructive work, a lot of those people that work in emergency situations, they love that. Others say I really loved facial aesthetics and so they might go more into sort of rhinoplasties and facelifts and things like that. And then we got to the end of 2016 and we were looking at our practice. And I just said to Nick, if you had a blank piece of paper next year, what work would you do? And he said, I just do breasts and tummy and that’s because he thinks it’s the biggest bang for the buck in terms of really transformation for patients for the money and the sort of recovery required. That is what we saw as the patients that were most satisfied with outcomes. Were patients that were having breast reductions, breast augmentation, breast lifts, tummy tucks and body lifts. And that’s really all we do and when I obviously I’m biased, I’m married to him but I think he’s always done very good surgeries in those categories. But when I look at his before and afters, when we first started off 12 plus years ago, versus now I mean, to me, it is clear that he has just gotten better and better if you just do a few things, it stands to reason that you get really good at them. And so his tummy tucks when you hear from patients about why they chose us, and they traveled from as you know, because you see them on the forum. But you know, they travel from Queensland, they travel from Victoria, Adelaide, Northern Territory, the odd person from Perth, my home state. And why would you travel that long, it seems crazy in a way because there are so many plastic surgeons out there doing it. But I think what they’re attracted to is really some of those Wow results that can only be achieved with extra time spent in theater. It’s a pretty close correlation, like if I look at his tummy tucks versus some of the others that I see in the industry, and this is no shade on some of those other results. Some of that is reflected in the price for Nic surgery, the price reflects the amount of time he’ll spend in an operation. If he’s doing an hour and a half of liposuction on a tummy tuck before he even takes the scalpel out. Well of course that’s going to have to cost more than someone that is doing a tummy tuck just as a skin excision and muscle tightening and that’s where you get that really well result you’re getting that that waist shaped in the upper abdomen smooth before the skin is sort of lifted, and re draped and that new belly button created and the muscle repair so that’s what I think the benefit of going to someone that specialises in the same way that I think there is benefit in going to someone that just does a lot of rhinoplasties or just does a load of facelifts. When my time comes for any of that, if I decided to go down that path, then I wouldn’t be asking Nic even if it was legal to do a facelift on me because that’s just not what he specialises in, I would want someone that did them day in day out.

Trish

Yeah, I bet you 100% on that, because there’s no doubt about it, but repetition is the mother of skill and they record that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to be really proficient.

Amber 

And you know, that sort of concept was canvassed in a book called Outliers, which was about people that become exceptional at anything. So whether it be sports people, or like the sort of the Bill Gates, the Steve Jobs of the world, this 10,000 hour rule, but you’ve got to remember, it’s 10,000 hours, but of practice, it’s something where there is feedback on outcome, and a willingness to improve. So you can do something for 10,000 hours, but if you’re just hammering away at it, and don’t really care about the outcomes, then you’re not really going to get a lot better. Whereas I know Nic, because I live with him, if he feels that an outcome is not great, he really carries that with him. And he thinks about ways to do it better and our whole practice is about continuous improvement. So a standing item at our monthly meeting is continuous improvement and generally, when it’s the team sort of saying that it stuff around process and how we take better care of patients throughout the journey. We just had our team meeting yesterday, we had a whole list of action items when we hear feedback, we actually if we can, if we can get better we do. But Nic does, too and I think he’s constantly looking at better ways to get better outcomes.

Trish

You know that explains to me totally why my golf that I play has not made me better, because I haven’t really cared about the outcome. I just want to have fun with them.

Amber 

Absolutely, absolutely. And it just depends on what your goal is. Because if your goal is to just have fun and get a bit of fitness, then you’re not focused on doing this with the stroke and stroke. I mean, I got a few golf lessons when we first moved up here, and it had no effect on me. Those lessons are the truth. Yeah.

Trish

So talking about golf, in fact, what do you guys do for fun, because I know that like you’re, you are always walking, but working, but you do have a really good family life balance as well.

Amber 

What you know, it’s interesting, when we talked at the beginning about our arranged marriage and how we sort of kind of got engaged and moved up really quickly. And one of the major drivers of that is we did want kids, you know, Nic is one of three boys, I’m one of two, I probably would have preferred to end up with two, Nic always wanted three, and he got them partly because we had twins in our second pregnancy. But part of the driver was a work life balance. And in Sydney, it definitely is, you’re down there at the moment, life is harder there and commute times and all the rest of it. So part of the reason that we moved here is because I believe that the best use of your time is with your family at work or doing something you love and for us, driving around in cars, it’s not one of those things. So yeah, we’re pretty involved in family life and obviously, just through availability, probably a bit more me but makes a very hands on hands on dad, and having three boys as he was one of three, I think, the boys are very close to Nic and so we’re very active with their sport and things. But in terms of stuff that’s really just for us, we love going out, we love eating out, unfortunately locked down, we’ve done a lot of at home eating so the white battle for the Moncrieff, believe me is real, we definitely try to sort of balance that with exercise, but we both sort of struggle with really enjoying food. And then travel and so it’s been hard over the last 18 months. We’ve done some travel, where we can inside Australia, but we’re really looking forward to hopefully touchwood next year, being able to do some stuff overseas and just have different experiences. To me, life is about experiences, don’t get me wrong, I like nice things. I like having a nice house, I like having a reasonably nice car. But for me, the bang for the buck is in experience and whether that be some travel or spending time with friends. That’s what I think is the best use of our money and so yeah, so that’s what we’re hoping to do a bit more of next year.

Trish 

Yeah. Tell me about it. And you know what, the other thing I just wanted to touch on as well as the fact that you guys are real passionate supporters of charities, you know, like, not everybody is, you know, so like, your charities. You know, you have tell us about charities that you’re involved in that you support.

Amber 

Yeah, well, I think different people have different philosophies on this because a lot of high income people will say, Well, I pay a lot in tax, and we definitely do. I actually started my career as a tax officer so I don’t want to pay more tax than I need to. But we certainly pay a lot but that all just kind of goes into consolidated revenue, right? So you’re just like, oh, well, that’s great, it’s roads and schools and hospitals. But I think when you look around the community, there’s so many things that can be done and when you feel that you can make a contribution. For us, we really enjoy doing that so a lot of the things that we support in Newcastle are associated with what we do as a practice. So we support women, so I’ve been quite involved in sort of local domestic violence, charities, and helping out at a Women’s Refuge, both in terms of hands on stuff, and in terms of funding. And then, we were really passionate supporters of an organisation called Bravehearts, which helps to sort of educate and support child sexual abuse victims. And that’s just something that we feel that we can make a real contribution to support really women and children. But then, some of the other things that we do, I’ve just taken on the role at the local football club so I’m now the coordinator of the junior development league. So that’s about 130 kids, that sort of, that next level up in their football or soccer, and so that are taking up a lot of my time. So, yeah, so we try to where we can to make a positive impact on people in our local community, as well, as sort of across Australia, and we’ve supported things like interclass, which helps to send plastic surgeons overseas, obviously, not as easy in the last sort of year and a half but before that, there was a lot of that sort of stuff happening and because Nic’s not really an expert now in the work that they need done over there in terms of burns and reconstructive work,our contributions really been financial.

Trish 

Yeah. And I think as well, what happens is, over time, things change. And it’s time for someone else to do that where you’re doing something else now. So yes, swings around about hey,

Amber 

Yeah, absolutely. I just think, if you can be making some sort of contribution, and in the way that is aligned best with your skills, then that’s a really good thing. Yeah,

Trish 

Yep. No, that’s so true. And look, I could talk to you all day but before I finish, like, I wanted to ask you, so you guys just seem to be winning award after award after award like doing and I want to reiterate that the awards are not easy to come by. And when was your first award that you won? 

Amber   

So our first one, I think we nominated for an award in 2014. And we’re finalists, but didn’t win it. We then sort of redoubled my efforts in doing a submission. So these were Hunter Business Chamber Awards, and we won the one for customer service in 2015. And so since then, we’ve won a total of 23 or 24 awards, I just can’t read because we’ve just won another one, an international one for Stevie’s Women in Business so that was for our small business management team. So myself, Jass and Alicia, so unfortunately, we couldn’t travel to Las Vegas to get that one but I’ve said to the team that, or to the girls that we might look at an overseas conference next year is a bit of a reward for that one. But yeah, look, so we’ve won local sort of business ones, we’ve won national ones in the plastic surgery sphere, as well as some global awards as well, for service and for our results and for our team. So yeah, look, it’s you don’t have to venture awards to still be a fantastic practice but there is something great about having independent people kind of look under the hood, and see how you run and say, yep, this is something special so I think it’s a little bit of external validation, that we’re on the right track.

Trish 

Yeah, no, that’s so true and well done, like one of the things I love about following you on social media and getting to know your business from a consumer and I just love the fact that we can follow business and find out about the people that run the business, if that makes any sense. Like, I know all these things about you, because I follow you on social media, like I follow 100% surgery, and I find out all the things that I need to know about that. So it’s just, it’s so nice to have that personal thing coming through. Like I love that and I reckon that’s gonna be part of the success as well like it all combined. So it’s not one thing, it’s a combination of things that work.

Amber  

Look, I think that would summarise our success as a practice, it is not one person, it is not one thing. It is all those things. I would just say for those people that are listening that are actually sort of practice owners. I think one important element is having not necessarily an Amber, you don’t have to have me in your practice. But you have to have someone that does my job in your practice. So my job day to day is not patient facing, it is looking at the overall practice, it is looking at how we can do things better? It is looking at our marketing and saying well is this really reflective of what we do is asking sometimes the tough questions of ourselves about, an outcome or a process. And so, it is very difficult if you’ve just got a practice manager, and a surgeon. A surgeon should be busy doing, talking to patients about what they want, and whether they can achieve them and executing on that, delivering what patients want, and then helping with some of the aftercare. Your practice manager should be really involved in that, managing the patient journey, your nurses pre and post op sort of advice. But who looks after that getting better? Who looks after, I think we’ve got a problem here? Let’s address this sort of issue. Who looks at where we are going as a practice? And what are the steps that take us to get there. So lots of people have what they call a business development manager. I don’t really care what the title is, you just need to have someone that’s charged with that responsibility. And it is very difficult for someone that is, like just an ordinary practice management role to do that day to day.

Trish 

Yep, you’re so right. So you got people that work in your business, and you need someone that works on your business, there’s no doubt about it. That’s so true.

Amber   

Yeah, I look at if you’ve done anything with some sort of business coaching or something, they’ll tell you exactly the same thing and it’s absolutely true. You’ve just got to have that fresh set of eyes, you’ve got to have someone that walks in every now and then and says, Wow, that’s looking a bit crummy. A few years ago, just when we got to LA and went over there, it was at a mentor advisory thing and just went over to actually look at how some practices in LA read and I remember her coming back and she was blown away by some of it and underwhelmed by other elements. And she said to me one of the practices she said all you know, surgeon was lovely in the paper, all lovely but she said Amber, it looked like what I imagined our practice would look like if you weren’t in it. So there were boxes in the hallway, because no one had said, Hey, guys, why is this here not being packed away, but everyone’s busy. So it’s stuff like that, the decor was a bit dated. So it really is having that person to just try and make you better.

Trish 

Yep, that’s so true. And like on that, I’ve got to say, like, I have learned so much from you. I’ve even seen the strain, because I love the fact that you not only do you, not only are you great at what you do, but you’re also happy to share it as well and we’ll just touch on this before we go. But you’ve got like you actually found a little group of over 85 managers and you facilitate sharing, and helping those people who are in the same, like who run aesthetically focused plastic surgery clinics all around Australia. So you want everyone to do good. You don’t just want yourself to do good.

Amber 

No, I mean, look, I’m a huge believer in plastic surgery and being done by plastic surgeons. We do have a specialist, general surgeon in our practice as well who focuses on sort of breast reductions and lifts and revision work. But I believe that plastic surgery is best done by plastic surgeons and the way that we as an industry help to communicate that is by all raising the bar above cosmetic surgeons. So as you probably know, cosmetic surgeons, some of them are very well trained. And some of them basically fresh out of medical school with no specialist training whatsoever so I set up a group. Now a few years ago, I’ve got sort of 85 advantages of plastic surgery practices and some plastic surgeons themselves in that group. And we use that to share information and ideas during COVID, I’ve shared lots of stuff about, here’s a sample COVID safety plan, if you want to look at it and add your own ideas to it, just to try and make it a bit easy for the people out there to do the right thing, but also ideas about what’s happening in the industry changes to item numbers. That recent petition on the abdominoplasty item number and making sure that plastic surgeons were sharing that and getting people to advocate for women that do need muscle repair after pregnancy and things like that. So yeah, so I like everyone pushing in the same direction.

Trish 

That’s so true. And I love that I’m 100% set back because it just makes so much sense if it’s like elevating the whole profession together. To me, that’s all be good. Yeah. It’s all be great. Yeah.

Amber 

Yeah. And I think the role that you’ve played in really advocating for patients and giving patients a voice particularly through that forum has been really important. And so thank you for the work that you do and making sure that people do have a place, a safe place where they can ask questions and get information that is non biased from other patients. And at times, Trish, I’ll be frank, and it has helped us improve our processes. A patient will say, Well, I saw this on your forum and it’s not always positive feedback, and it helps us get better. You don’t get better from always listening to the people that are your raving fans, you get better from people that have had an experience that hasn’t been a wow, experience hasn’t been five star and to the extent that we can, we’ll fix it.

Trish 

Exactly. I thank you so much for that, that sounds that’s I might warm the cockles of my heart.

Amber   

Well, you speak with an authentic voice, because you have been a patient yourself, what it’s all about, you see the good, the bad and the ugly of the esthetics industry, and you facilitate people getting information that’s that sort of real and unbiased. And I know at times you have had to act to ensure the integrity of that group and I think that’s the strength of that particular group that you run.

Trish  

Yeah. Thanks, Amber. I really appreciate you saying that and it means a lot coming from you. And I want to thank you so much for taking the time in your busy schedule to talk to us today, because I’ve been really looking forward to this podcast.

Amber 

Oh, well, my pleasure and thank you for the opportunity.

Trish  

Yeah, thanks so much. And listeners, look, if you want to find out more about Hunter Plastic Surgery, just follow them on Instagram, follow them on Facebook, check them out online, jump to the forum, whatever you want to do. You’ll find lots of patients there that have been through them and had some great successes and they’re happy to share their stories on the forums as well. And if you’re a clinic, and you need some help with your management, plastic surgery clinic definitely get in touch with Amber. Amber, thank you so much for joining us today.

Amber  

Thanks so much Trish. I appreciate it. 

Trish

Have a great day. 

Amber

You to mate.

Trish  

Bye bye!

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Well, like all good quickies it's time to dust off and get back to our day jobs! If you liked the podcast please rate us because we need the validation for our fragile hearts. If you have a story to share or have a burning question you would like us to cover please slide into our DM’s on Instagram at @transformingbodiespodcast. Stay positive, keep your boobs and chins high until we chat again xoxo Trish