Case Study: How RealPatientRatings Delivers a 50 to 1 ROI for La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre

Marie OlesenMarie Olesen
CEO, La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre

From my point of view as the CEO of a practice, this has been my experience with RealPatientRatings.

Every day our practice flourishes because of our willingness to survey every patient that interacts with us. One outcome of the ongoing survey process is 100% verified reviews, that enables our prospective patients to make better buying decisions more quickly. 

Like the blind men and the elephant, there are many components to our success with RealPatientRatings. We’ve used ratings and reviews to revitalize our marketing and sales, hone care processes, and improve communication. Overall, we’re happier, more team-oriented, more confident and much more financially successful. We have never had another marketing initiative have such far-reaching impact on our practice and our team.

Significantly increased the quality, quantity and frequency of reviews

grade-c+According to Yelp in 2011, La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre was a C+ practice. Our average rating, based on 19 reviews, was 3.89.

When our patients tried to help, Yelp hid more reviews than it approved. It didn’t have enough ratings for statistical validity and the lack of verified reviews resulted in lower scores.ljcsc-yelp dist

All the tactics and tools in the world couldn’t get LJCSC the quantity of reviews it needed to tell the true story of its quality or of the quantity of patients served.

Like most practices, we asked our patients to post on other review sites, but they did it too rarely to be truly helpful. We understood it was hard for our happy cosmetic patients to overcome their natural hesitation and go public about their cosmetic surgery experiences.

Today with RPR’s unique strategy of anonymous reviews that are 100% verified and include all patients, the truth is evident to all. LJCSC’s average rating is 4.75 or 95% based on over 1100 verified reviews from our surgical patients. Our non-surgical patients rate us 4.79 or 95.8% based on 590 reviews.

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Leverages OUR website to build our brand

Before RealPatientRatings, our reviews were all on third-party sites where consumers could find other providers and be influenced by advertising. When patients came to the La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre website, they still had to leave our site to verify our quality.

We needed to have trustworthy information on our own site. RealPatientRatings prioritized our website over their own and gave us live feeds of our ratings and reviews for our website. Consumers could easily access the critical information they need for decision-making.

Our data initially revealed that patients were spending more time on the site because of the review content, but then something surprising happened. Traffic and conversions continued to skyrocket, but users actually spent less time on our site and viewed fewer pages because they were able to make decisions faster.


Verified, believable and recent reviews reassure consumers about the efficacy of their buying process and reduce concerns about safety. In conjunction with the development to include reviews across our website, our web team at CAKE Websites developed a new slogo, “The Smart, Safe Place to Get Glam.” And our ratings and reviews validate that message.

Helps our practice market with new content

billboard-ervWe use both the ratings and the review content in our offline marketing and in our sales process. We know from RPR data that patients who read reviews prior to consult schedule at a higher rate. So we don’t leave this to chance.

Here are the ways we are using ratings and review content in our sales process:

  • Review pages on our website:
    • Email inquiries: include link to provider or procedure pages
    • Appointment confirmations: email and text link to provider’s landing page with consult and surgery or procedure reviews
  • Social media: Post reviews across multiple platforms
  • Billboards, print, digital: Feature patient satisfaction numbers in advertising
  • Message on hold: Add patient review comments and call out overall count and ratings

This review strategy revitalized and refocused our marketing. Patients tell us every day about reading reviews as a reason they chose our practice. Featuring this good news makes it easy for them to choose LJCSC.

Dramatically impacts local search results and triggers star ratings to appear in search results

After we added the RealPatientRatings widgets to our website, star ratings (or “rich snippets”) began to appear in Google search results alongside our own results, often for some of the most competitive search terms in our market.

In this example for the keywords “breast augmentation san diego,” our website doesn’t just appear on the map, but stands out in the organic results below it with a 4.8 and 1196 reviews to read.


This treatment by Google has impacted on our web traffic more than any SEO tactic ever has in recent memory, resulting in higher rankings and explosive increases in click-through to our site.

One thing to be aware of… to compete with our real ratings, some web companies include fake ratings to take a shortcut around collecting actual patient ratings, which could be construed as fraud or an FTC violation.

Delivers data for practice management

People in our practice depend on me to find new insights to strengthen our practice and increase our competitive edge. Both Inform&Enhance® software and RealPatientRatings™ were created as solutions to needs in our practice. As it turned out, many other practices had similar issues.

Inform&Enhance® focused on measuring improvements in the patient experience through improved conversion rates. RealPatientRatings™ does much the same thing, but its metrics measure improvements in patient satisfaction which then increases conversion rates.

While Inform&Enhance® focused on improving business tactics at the various stages of the patient journey, RealPatientRatings focuses on care and communication touchpoints throughout the patient experience.

Using the RealPatientRatings dashboard, we compare our providers and our practice to our colleagues regionally and nationally. Patients who are highly satisfied with their consultation book at higher rates than those who are only satisfied. Highly satisfied post op patients are much more likely to remain and to refer. Patient satisfaction supports organic practice growth.

At LJCSC, we rely on the annual Key Driver reports from RealPatientRatings to find out which service points were most important to patients. We used that insight to change what we did or how we said it. While many practices are experiencing declining conversions, ours are increasing despite raising prices and restricting discounts.

Slide1Using very specific patient feedback, we feel confident that the patients say what they mean and that if we change accordingly, we will benefit.

While we can’t solve all of their issues, we can learn and avoid repeating issues identified by our patients. For instance, our parking situation is terrible and we deal with regular complaints about something out of our control. We educate the patients about the situation and how best to park.

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Motivates and validates our team

LJCSC is a large practice with 5 plastic surgeons and 3 non-surgical providers. We are in two offices in the same building. Our surgery suite is attached to the cosmetic surgery office. Most people want to be proud of where they work and how their work affects others.

While it’s true that all good practices receive compliments, gifts and thank you cards, there is something different and more motivating about ratings and reviews. The reviews remind us what’s important to patients and validates our daily efforts. The frequency and quality of the reviews have improved everyone’s dedication to a quality patient experience and our realization that it takes a team to create a great review.

When the reviews arrive, I share them by email with everyone in the practice, including our anesthesiologists. There’s something incredibly compelling and motivating about receiving reviews that call out specific staff and providers. The admin staff have been particularly proud of their great feedback.

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 Strengthens and grows our practice

At the time we added RealPatientRatings to our marketing strategy, our practice was going through a tough time. Our Founder had retired. We had closed a costly and unprofitable Dermatology division. Despite 23 years of quality care and communication, we had lost some of our “mojo.”

It took a lot of commitment to put ourselves out there and to proactively solicit what could be very risky patient feedback. In the end, we’ve been rewarded handsomely for our transparency to consumers. Ratings and reviews helped us refocus on what was important about our practice and our patients.

Our experience by the numbers

Here’s a timeline of what’s happened in our practice:

2011: Founded PPR and began surveying in September
2013: Added MedSpa and 3 providers
2014: Added 5th surgeon to group
2015: Practice income projected to be 74% higher than 2010

And the results:

  • Plastic surgery up 59% over the last 4 years
  • Non-surgical growing 60% in first year after adding reviews
  • Website visitors have grown by 53% with 33% more conversions to contact forms
  • Staff and Physician satisfaction is higher  Monthly visitors grew organically from average of 8,000 before RPR to a record-breaking 22,000 sessions at the season peak in May 2015

ROI: Initially, we had only 1 page on our website with reviews and we could track the number of contact forms completed while visiting that single page. It produced over $400k in surgery and provided a 35:1 ROI in its first year.

Web conversions: Now with reviews all over our site, including procedure pages, our Google analytics for 2015 shows +53% more web traffic and an +33% increase in contact forms.

Interested in learning more about how RealPatientRatings can help your practice grow? We’d love to hear from you! Use the form on the right to contact us, or give us a call at 800-267-1228.