How much do online reviews matter? Actually, a lot. Patients formulate their first in-person impressions of a medical aesthetics provider in as little as one-tenth of a second—which is about enough time to make eye contact. Luckily, there’s a way you can influence a prospective patient’s impression before they even step foot inside your medical aesthetics clinic—online reviews.
Here’s why you need to boost your focus on online reviews now, to set your clinic up for a better in-office conversion rate.
You may be wondering, “How many prospective clients really sift through online reviews anyway? Aren’t recommendations from trusted friends more valuable?”
If your clinic isn’t prioritizing the observation and promotion of online reviews, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. Sure, recommendations from a friend are certainly an influential factor in choosing a medical aesthetics professional (it’s the second top factor influencing patient choices for non-invasive aesthetics treatments), but word of mouth can be a slow strategy. On the other hand, according to a survey on consumers’ purchasing habits, 82% of all adults say they at least sometimes read reviews before spending their dollars, while 53% of milliennials—a growing consumer demographic in the medical aesthetics space—claim they always read reviews first.
As for the power of negative reviews, only 43% of consumers who rely on reviews before making a purchase report that they focus on the positive, while 54% say they put more stock in negative reviews, even when they are extreme. Having said that, approximately 36% of consumers who always read reviews report that they question the trustworthiness of those reviews; that means that one or two negative reviews in a flood of positive ones may not be enough to waver a positive first impression. Nevertheless, the data shows that negative reviews shouldn’t be ignored.
All this suggests that encouraging existing patients to offer recommendations to friends while also leaving online reviews is the key to leveraging current patients to attract more prospective patients.
Prospective patients often seek out reviews on well-known consumer sites, such as Yelp, RealSelf, or RealPatientRatings.com. These sites are widely read, especially by millennial patients. Multiple negative reviews on these consumer resource sites could be the kiss of death for your practice. To keep prospective patients from forming their impressions from negative reviews, it’s essential to monitor popular sites regularly, respond constructively to comments, and establish a campaign to generate good reviews.
If you're confronted with a negative review, it helps to craft a professional response that reflects the concerns brought up by that particular client. Focus on empathizing with the patient and righting what’s wrong, rather than trying to correct the patient, and encourage the reviewer to reach out by e-mail or phone so that your staff can adequately respond to their individual concerns.
To encourage more positive reviews, include a link to your Yelp, RealSelf.com, Google Reviews, or even Facebook pages in e-mail correspondence to patients and encourage them to leave a short review. If it fits into your medical aesthetic clinic’s branding strategy, you may also want to offer promotions for current patients designed to incentivize posting reviews. Figure out what’s appropriate for your clinic’s strategy.
Finally, learn from the reviews. Make note of any constructive criticism that appears to be popping up in more than one review and create business strategies within your clinic to improve upon these points. Using the power of online reviews to your business advantage this year could make all the difference to your level of business success moving forward.
For more business-building tips, download our exclusive free report, “The Essential Guide to Promoting Your Aesthetic Services.”