Category Archives: Practice Management

Increase number of touches to increase conversions

“We want more, we want more!”

Just like the cute AT&T commercial says, “It’s not complicated. More is better.”

In your practice, you want more as well. What is the more you want?

More web leads? More consult conversions? More data that can help you grow your practice? More raving fans who remain for future procedures? More recommendations from highly satisfied patients?

Research about the decision-making process of consumers and how many touches are required before they purchase a service shows that most consumers require 8-10 interactions before they make a decision.


But the average salesperson gives up after just 1-2 touches. Think about how to add “touches” to your process that will increase conversions at consult and recommendations post-operatively.

We want to help you get the more you want.

The key is providing 5-star service and generating patient reviews that increase patient trust and conversions to surgical dollars.

When more of your patients complete surveys, you’ll have more insight into growth opportunities and more content that increases leads from your website.

relationship marketing

Moneyball for Plastic Surgeons: The Art of Doing More With Less

bradpittmoneyballRemember Moneyball? It’s a story about the Oakland A’s and how manager Billy Beane won more games at lower cost by using data differently.

Is there a lesson here for plastic surgeons? You bet. You need unique data to make marketing decisions that are more effective and cost less.

Where do plastic surgeons find such competitive insights? By asking their patients.

RealPatientRatings™ has feedback from over 20,000 post consult and post op surveys. As plastic surgery patients answered over 1 million questions, we’ve discovered a lot of surprising insights (and generated over 12,000 online reviews along the way….)

In Moneyball, the owner of the Boston Red Sox says to Billy Beane, “the first guy through the wall always gets a little bloody.” Well, RealPatientRatings is already on the other side of the wall and we have a LOT to share with you.

In this webinar, Marie Olesen, our resident “Billy Beane,” shares the following:

  • Growing your practice using patient feedback
  • Increasing conversions by using top drivers of likelihood to schedule
  • Stimulating referrals by focusing on what’s important to surgical patients
  • Leveraging user-generated content on your website to increase leads
  • and many more pearls you can’t get anywhere else

It’s all about MORE….. More leads. More consults. More cases. More referrals. More return on your investments.

Watch now to find out how you can find more value in your practice through statistical analysis.

Watch the full webinar with audio here:


See the slides here

6 surprising things we learned about your patients in 2012

Fifteen months ago RealPatientRatings™ embarked on a two-fold mission:

  • Helping plastic surgeons take better care of their patients by providing real-time patient feedback in a 21st century web-based system
  • Helping cosmetic consumers find good doctors by publishing ratings and reviews guaranteed to be from real patients

Plastic surgery patients of 182 surgeons have completed over 13,000 surveys (5851 consult and 7458 surgery). Smartphones accounted for 21% of surveys. now has 8519 plastic surgery patient reviews, more than any other site in the world!

In fact, RealPatientRatings is conducting the largest real-time study of the plastic surgery patient experience. The resulting data is powerful and has challenged some long-standing industry beliefs.

1. Schedule more surgery by providing high-quality procedure education at consult

Despite extensive online availability of information, your patients’ primary driver of Likelihood to Schedule is the procedure information provided directly from the plastic surgeon. Practices who meet patient needs at consult satisfy at higher rates. Likelihood to schedule doubles among highly satisfied patients.

2. In-house cheerleaders make a differencemegaphone

Your team can help you schedule more surgery. Having a staff that consistently praises you to your patients fulfills a critical need for patients to trust you and feel safe. Data from thousands of consult surveys tells us that this staff endorsement is the 2nd most important factor in likelihood to schedule.

3. Discussing fees prior to consult increases scheduling rates

Many practices believe that fees should only be discussed at consult. But RPR data reveals higher intention to schedule among patients who were told fees in advance, i.e., 67%. Scheduling intent decreases to 45% when patients receive a quote that is “higher than expected”. This means losing 1 patient out of 3. Share your prices ranges on your website and on every inbound call, whether the patient asks directly about price or not.


4. Reviews directly influence likelihood to schedule

Not only do today’s patients seek out reviews directly, the presence or absence of reviews directly affects their likelihood to move forward with surgery. Post your reviews on your website, print them out in the office, include them in your consultation packets…and please stop calling them testimonials. Nobody searches Google for testimonials!

5. “The answer to bad speech is more speech”


The preponderance of negative online reviews for plastic surgeons (many of which are fake) suggests far more consumer unhappiness than is accurate. Since all patients are included in our feedback loop, RPR data is much more reliable and our reviews can’t be fabricated. Physician ratings on RPR are 11% to 34%* higher than traditional review sites because we eliminate angry ex-employees and competitors.

6. Patients want to be seen at times that work for them

You can nearly double Likelihood to Schedule when patients are highly satisfied with the availability of consult appointments. If your surgical schedule isn’t as full as you want, then increase consult appointment options for your patients. The longer you make them wait, the less likely they are to be highly satisfied.

While even the general information we’re providing can help you, you need to know how your practice is doing with your own patients. If you don’t survey them, how do you take advantage of their insights and better meet their needs (and yours!)?

*based on an internal study

It’s easier to fix a scar than fix your reputation

It’s always painful to learn we’ve disappointed someone, be they our patient, co-worker or spouse. We can learn a lot from our unhappy patients if we’ll only listen.

  1. There’s no need to be defensive about complaints. While it may be uncomfortable to deal with difficult situations, there is often a kernel of truth in the patient’s comment.
  2. You can make your practice better by listening. You can’t be present for each patient encounter. Use patient feedback to tweak your practice – where it matters most.
  3. You can grow your practice by responding to patient concerns. Customers who experience successful resolution of their problems are more likely to buy again and to refer.

Unhappy patients are a very small part of our patient experience. Only 3% of our patients ultimately review their experience as less than satisfied, i.e., neither agree nor disagree, dissatisfied, or highly dissatisfied.

In our surveys, 9% of our patients report that they “experienced a problem” but the vast majority of these were resolved internally by the practice prior to the survey. In our first year, only 54 patients requested follow-up for an unresolved problem. That’s out of 8,641 surveys!

RPR’s private alert system enables unhappy patients to communicate internally and privately. They’re not rating you badly or going to Yelp!

Patients who request contact want to work things out. They want you to help them solve a problem and they consider it to be a joint problem. They certainly can’t resolve it on their own.

I read every RPR alert. Often the patient reports a previous response from the practice such as, “That’s a known complication…” which covers things from hematomas to contractures. These brush-offs don’t resolve the matter for the patient. And in these days of ratings and reviews, it doesn’t resolve it for the practice either. I call these kinds of responses, “Doing a Pontius Pilate” and you know where that got us!

I believe that as an industry, we must change how we review revisions and how we stand behind our work. So what can we do?

  • Raise Revenue Per Hour for procedures with known complications allowing for pre-paid physician time to deal with complications.
  • Increase O.R. fees to offset free surgical time that must be provided in the case of revisions
  • Make sure patients buy revision insurance
  • Charge the marketing budget for costs of revisionary surgery
  • And other out-of-the-box ideas?

My husband Merrel had a great perspective on revisions. He’d ask himself, “Will it take me less time to fix it than to talk about it?” Mostly, he answered, “Yes”. Then he either proposed or agreed to do the revision. This thrilled his patients and added to his reputation. By the end of his career, he was operating on the grandchildren of his patients, which says something about patient satisfaction with his approach.

I urge you to take a hard look at your revision policies. When you are quoting a revision policy to a patient, ask yourself, “Is my response going to improve my reputation or put it at risk?” I hope your answer will be mutually satisfying to your patient and to your reputation.

Marie Olesen