5 surprising things we learned about your patients in 2013

1. Time-related concerns are the #1 complaint in plastic surgery patient reviews

clockMost bad reviews are not complaints about the quality of results, but about the patient experience. Patients most often express sentiment within themes of time, communication, and money. They are frustrated by service and communication failures and their negative reviews focus on these issues.

But in 5-star (highly-satisfied) reviews, patients focus on their positive emotions, i.e., comfort, outcomes and next steps. They are happy and satisfied. They plan to stay in the practice and help it grow.

What to do: If you want to change the tone and content of future reviews, then you need to attack service problems at the source.

2. After restaurants, consumers read reviews of doctors and dentists more than any other category.

Most people read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion of you, and they read less reviews before forming an opinion than they did a year ago. Nielsen recently reported that 68% of consumers trust online review content, and an astonishing 70% take action after reading consumer opinions posted online.

The only type of advertising to inspire more action than online reviews is a recommendation from a friend. Reviews are more powerful all other media including TV, websites, newspaper ads, email marketing, print ads, and billboards.

What to do: You need trustworthy, relevant, recent reviews. A lot of them.

3. Consumers require negative reviews to believe positive reviews

Thumbs-Up-Thumbs-DownPatients who rate their experience as neutral, dissatisfied, or highly dissatisfied represent only 4% of the survey totals for overall satisfaction.

A number of studies have determined that consumers require a small amount of negative feedback in order to confidently believe positive feedback.

What to do: Stop freaking out about negative reviews! (Easier said than done, we know…)

4. Proactive price education = stronger SEO, more leads, better consults, and more cases

Patients who are prepared for the cost are 21% more likely to schedule on the spot, at the end of their consult. Rather than worried about a financial surprise at the end of the consult, they are focused on absorbing your expertise about the procedure.

“Cost” and “Price” are two of the strongest keywords there are! Neglecting to include them on your website is costing you a pretty decent amount of web traffic. Just like in the consultation, a prospective patient visiting your website looks for cost information in order to move forward in their research process. If you answer their question, they can move on to learn about the procedure, look at your beautiful photos, and contact you for a consultation.

What to do: Put general price ranges on your website and share cost information over the phone before the caller asks.

5. Prospective patients who read reviews are ready to buy

A year’s worth of data gathered from 14 plastic surgery practice websites shows these visitors who read reviews at part of a visit convert at least twice as often as those who don’t. (In this case, “convert” simply means they completed a form on a website.)

What to do: If you want more leads, consults, and cases, add reviews to your own website.