Plenty of physicians are petrified about online ratings. But Marie Olesen, a San Diego-based marketing guru and founder of realpatientratings.com, is advising plastic surgeons to embrace the new era.
“For virtually everyone in this room, 95% of patients are happy and they want to tell their story. You should help them,” says Olesen, who spoke at The Aesthetic Meeting this year. “It’s not that you shouldn’t learn from negative feedback. But this is a happy story and not one to fear.”
After all, as speakers told a crowd at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, online ratings are good for business.
“Reviews drive practice economics. Think of them as a form of advertising, the most believable form it is,” says Tom Seery, CEO and founder of RealSelf, an online cosmetic-surgery community that includes reviews.
“If a practice has over 10 reviews, they’ll get a significant number of contacts,” he says. And, he says, each two positive reviews should bring a patient inquiry each month. Notably, 86% of patients surveyed say they wouldn’t visit a doctor with no reviews. “They can sometimes perceive that could mean something is negative,” he says.
What about actual negative reviews? Seery says their impact is actually very small. According to survey data, 4 in 5 patients would still contact a doctor if 10% of his or her reviews were negative.
Still, as he acknowledges, “sometimes these negative reviews can take on a life of their own and affect you very personally.”
Here are a few tips for how to deal with negative online reviews.
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