That’s right, you should not aim for only 5 star reviews! That might sound counter-intuitive. After all, don’t we want to avoid negative or 1 star reviews?
The answer is undoubtedly yes, we want more 5 star reviews. However, new research from the Spiegel Research Center suggests that consumer purchase likelihood peaks between 4.0 and 4.7 stars and actually declines when you enter the 4.8 to 5.0 star rating!
Why is that? How can 4 stars be better than 5 stars?
The simple answer is that consumers see ratings at the far end of the spectrum as “too good to be true.” If you check out the charts below, courtesy of the Spiegel Research Center, you can see that none of the categories show 5 stars as the optimal rating.
How Does This Data Influence Aesthetic Practices?
That’s great that we have purchase probability data for retail products, but what about services, particularly the high-end, cash-based services that aesthetic practices offer?
According to a Real Self study, 68% of patients use reviews to determine the trustworthiness of a doctor. Only 15% decide based on board certification or education. So we want all 5 stars then, right? Not so fast!
A Northwestern University Medicine study conducted in April of 2018, had some interesting findings about cosmetic surgeon reviews. While there was no specific data to suggest that 4 stars are better than 5, there were other interesting takeaways regarding reviews.
The study examined online ratings of doctors who performed cosmetic breast augmentation in six major U.S. cities and it found that there were significantly more 1 star and 5 star reviews than 2, 3 or 4 star reviews. In other words, people only left a review if they were very happy (“best surgeon ever!”) or very pissed off (“worst surgeon ever!”). Not totally surprising.
According to senior study author Dr. John Kim, a professor of plastic surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine plastic surgeon:
“We found the people who write these review are either very happy or unhappy, so it’s difficult for the consumer to get balanced information”
Dr. Kim went on to say:
“The important thing used to be how the surgery turned out. Our study shows what’s almost equally important are things we wouldn’t have thought of like how quickly we answer the phone, how nice the staff is in their interactions, the wait time and bedside manner. Service is becoming paramount and almost as important as tangible results and outcomes.”
Kim also claims that “cost is at the bottom of patient concerns.” Wait time, how quickly the staff answers the phone, staff friendliness, and doctor bedside manner are “almost equally important” to how the surgery turned out! In other words, quality service matters.
Are Negative Reviews Good for My Practice?
They may not necessarily be “good,” and you shouldn’t be seeking them out, but they do legitimize your practice. While we don’t want a bunch of 1 star reviews floating around, a PowerReview study found that 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. Consumers are skeptical of reviews that are only positive so negative reviews actually add credibility!
More importantly, social commerce specialist Revoo has data that highlights that consumers spend four times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, with a 67% increase in conversion rate!
Displaying Reviews May Increase Conversion, but Gallery Photos Are Even Better
If you have positive reviews, display them! For an aesthetic practice, the two most powerful forms of social proof are before & after photos and reviews. Therefore, you should not only have separate pages for these but you should also embed them onto as many procedure pages and blogs as you can.
In evaluating our clients with the largest amount of traffic to their websites, 16.37% of web form submission leads came directly from the client’s photo gallery. For these same clients, the photo gallery was the most viewed page on their website!
The Reviews page had different results. We sampled six random plastic surgeon clients and looked at 2018 as a whole and found that, on average, the Reviews page was the 29th most viewed. Keep in mind that our gallery indexes before & after pages uniquely, for SEO purposes, so for every client sampled there were multiple before & after pages viewed more than the Reviews page.
What does this tell us? Reviews definitely matter, but patients are more likely to look for them outside of your website. You should still be embedding them on your website, as they help add social proof, just make sure you set the threshold to show reviews that aren’t just 5 stars!
Where Do I Get Started with Growing my Reviews?
The first step in growing your reviews is having an action plan in how you want to follow up with happy patients. This action plan should specify the who, what, when and how’s…
- who should be focusing on generating reviews? The font desk staff? Designate a leader here.
- what is my action plan? I want my leader to follow up with patients after….?
- when to follow up? We’ve determined who’s in charge, now we need to determine when we want to follow up. Think post-op or whenever the patient is happiest.
- how can I pull this all off? Don’t just rely on a person, utilize a software that can automate some of this follow-up with happy patients
One last tip: if possible, encourage patients to mention the procedure they’ve had in their review. Then you can categorize all your breast augmentation or CoolSculpting reviews, for example, and embed them on their respective procedure pages. This adds relevancy to the reviews making them more impactful.
- Having nothing but 5 star reviews looks “too good to be true”
- Negative reviews aren’t all bad; they help add credibility to your practice
- Patients are seeking out reviews when vetting doctors, but their challenge is that many reviews for aesthetic practices are either 1 star of 5 stars
- Results matter, but don’t neglect customer service and the patient experience as this is what matters most to patients (more than even cost)
- Display your reviews on your website as well as your before & afters
- Prioritize review generation, develop an action plan, and utilize a software to help you earn reviews
- Encourage reviewers to specify the treatment they’ve had and their experience in more detail
Yes, I’d Like to Grow My Reviews!
Are you struggling with generating reviews or overwhelmed with negative reviews? Or, do you simply need direction on your marketing? TRBO can help! Trust the experts with your digital marketing. Take the next step and reach out today for a free Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) analysis. Give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2 or fill out the form here.
*Data compiled from studies from: Spiegel Research Center, Real Self, Northwestern University, Revoo, and PowerReview