TestimonialsBy Wendy Lewis

Testimonials have taken on new meaning in the age of online reviews. There is no denying that having a website overflowing with glowing testimonials from real patients can be a compelling sales tool. This works because they reaffirm that your aesthetic practice stands out and serve to validate an image of excellence with a message that is distinctly authentic.

Testimonials can influence purchasing decisions. Anyone can say they offer a high-quality product or service, but today’s savvy consumers are seeking independent proof in the form of sincere endorsements from real customers.

HOW TO ASK FOR TESTIMONIALS

The best way to get testimonials is to ask directly when the patient is in front of you.

 

4 Tips for Great Testimonials

 


 

 

1. Reach out to patients who are most like your key target audience.

2. Make sure they have a compelling story to tell about their experience in your practice.

3. Choose patients whose stories will highlight the key aspects of your practice, such as surgical procedures, treatments, and aftercare services.

4. Always say thanks when patients agree to give you a testimonial. Make sure they know how much you appreciate their support.

 

Think about any recent e-mails you have received from patients who say thanks. Maybe you received positive feedback from someone who responded to a survey. When a client says great things about you, your work, or your staff, give them the opportunity to turn that praise into a testimonial. Say something like this: “We would really appreciate it if we can include what you just said in our testimonials. Would that be OK with you?” If a patient says something like, “This has been a great experience, and I am so glad I chose you,” respond by asking if she would mind giving you a testimonial for your website or writing a review on Yelp, RateMds, or another relevant online forum.

Make a list of potential contacts to approach for permission to comment on your practice. Depending on your relationship with them, this may be best accomplished by phone, e-mail, or in person when they come in for a visit. If the patient is particularly fond of one of your nurses or staff members, it may be best left to them. The patient should be asked if they would allow their first or last names used, and/or their initials, age, location, and photos. In most cases, patients will want to be anonymous, such as “Jill from Northern California,” or “JT, age 56.” If they have privacy concerns or are not interested, thank them and move on. You should never make patients feel like they have to do something or that you will be angry or disappointed if they say, “No, thanks.”

You may be able to tactfully ask individuals who have clout with your target market or name recognition if they are willing to use their real names and/or photos. This is a very tricky situation, and it must be handled delicately. There is tremendous value from using a local celebrity, TV personality, or beauty queen in your practice materials, but that usually comes at a price.

To get testimonials, you have to make it easy for patients. Most people are not comfortable putting words on paper or expressing themselves on camera. Some of the best testimonials do not have to be too professional. Their value lies in the authenticity. Ask them to answer one key question that gets right to the point, such as, “What do you like most about our practice and why?” or “What impact has the treatment you have had with us had on your life?”

To record an interview by phone or in person, use a small handheld digital recorder. Tell your client beforehand that you will be recording them. Ask your question, and listen carefully to the answer. You may want to give them a list of questions in advance so they can choose the ones they want to answer.

EDITING COUNTS

The key to fabulous testimonials is flawless editing. This is particularly important when it comes to recorded or videotaped interviews. These should be short and to the point. No one will invest the time to listen if testimonials are long and rambling.

Testimonials convey a sense of caring and credibility to prospective patients. Make sure these testimonials are friendly, natural, and relatable, so they resonate with the target audience you want to reach.

 

 

Video or Audio Testimonial Prompts

 

 

1. What was your experience like in our practice?

2. Ask if your client was initially skeptical about having a treatment done—and what were some of her concerns, and then how she was made to feel more comfortable. (“I was afraid of going under anesthesia, but the medical staff made me feel very safe,” etc.)

3. What specific results did they get from the treatment or procedure they had done? The more details they can add, the better (such as “I look better than I did at my wedding,” “I look less tired,” etc).

4. What was the reaction from family, friends, and colleagues? (Examples would be, “My husband loves the way I look,” “My mother wants to have something done now, too,” etc.)

5. How do you feel after having the procedure? Let them talk about their feelings, not only the results.

6. Gather a robust selection of testimonials in different formats: personal thank-you notes, letters, e-mails, comments given by phone or to staff members, and video.

7. Make sure to get testimonials about new procedures you have added to the practice, such as a new fat melting system or a signature facelift technique.

 

Go over the content, and zoom in on the pertinent points. Draft a summary or concise version you want to use, and include direct quotes whenever you can. Share your edited version with the patient before posting it anywhere to be sure he or she is happy with the way it reads or sounds. Once you obtain the patient’s approval, your testimonial can go live.

USING TESTIMONIALS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

You should try to post testimonials where prospective clients are most likely to read them. The most obvious places are on your website, blog, Facebook page, e-blasts, and more. You can use them in printed promotional materials such as practice brochures, as well as press releases. Some practices have a binder or electronic picture frame in the waiting room. You can create a dedicated page on your website devoted to testimonials, or add them on specific pages related to procedures. Another option is to include quotes from satisfied patients rotating on the landing page of your site.

Testimonials can take many forms. For example, you can repurpose a testimonial into a short quote for your website, but also use it as a brief letter for an e-book or article for a consumer publication or newspaper. Review your testimonials from time to time, and refresh them as you gather new ones. Try to post the most recent testimonials in chronological order, with the most recent first. This should be an ongoing process.

Lastly, make sure you thank patients appropriately for their kind comments about your practice. A handwritten note, flowers, a gift certificate, or a personal call can go a long way toward showing your genuine appreciation. n

Wendy Lewis is president of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, founder/editor in chief of beautyinthebag.com, and a contributing editor to Plastic Surgery Practice. She can be reached at [email protected]