Surgical Aesthetics

JAN-FEB 2014

For plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery trends, techniques and equipment, plastic and cosmetic surgeons turn to Surgical Aesthetics for the latest on breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty and more.

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Getting to 'Yes' Cosmetic practices spend large sums of money to attract patients, but a successful marketing campaign is only the beginning of new patient acquisition. Converting prospective patients to paying ones is tricky business, which is why it is so important to make patients feel comfortable enough to put their appearance in your capable hands. There are several steps that patients take between seeking and choosing a doctor to perform their surgeries, and there are several strategies that practices can employ to help patients choose their facilities. Identify How the Patient Found You Prospective patients find potential surgeons through a variety of avenues. Understanding how a patient found you often dictates the type of information she will need to move forward. • Did she wander onto your website while surfing the internet? • Did she see you in the news? • Did a friend of hers brag about the results she achieved at your practice? • Did another physician, salon or spa refer her to you? If you are a complete stranger to the prospective patient, you will likely have to work harder to bond 8 Surgical Aesthetics ❘ January/February 2014 By Catherine Maley, MBA with her than if she was referred by a friend. It's called transference of credibility. The referred patient is more likely to trust you as the best choice, because her sources trust you. The next highest form of credibility is being seen on a trusted media outlet, where the would-be patient gets her news. A patient who sees you on her favorite news or talk show views you as a top doctor in the field and is typically anxious to have you perform her procedure, even though you have not met face-to-face. The patient that requires the most trust-building is the one who finds you through the internet. Though something on your website led her to call, she has not "seen" you as she would on a television interview, and you have not yet been recommended by a trusted source. Make it a priority to build a network of credible sources—both patients and colleagues—who will gladly refer their friends, co-workers, patients and clients to you. You can create online referral networks by asking satisfied patients to post reviews to online sites. Practices can provide cards or flyers that explain how to post feedback on sites like Yelp and train staff to gather testimonials from patients before they leave the office. These reviews often make prospective patients feel more confident in choosing your practice. Build Trust With the Initial Call Whether a patient was referred by a friend, saw you on TV or found you through a Google search, she will call your office to set up a consultation. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of conversions. The prospective patient's first phone experience with you must be consistent with what is being said about you elsewhere. For example, if she sees you as a doctor who believes in building relationships and caring for patients from consult through recovery, but then has a lackluster phone conversation with your receptionist, she may be taken aback. Her experience did not meet her expectations. Your receptionist should be well-trained in customer service, positioning the physician and asking for the appointment. During this first call, the receptionist can also ask for the patient's email or mailing address to send more information on the procedure in which she © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM Private Practice

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