The rise of the internet, apps and social media sites has transformed the way people research the options available to them. Prospective patients are now equipped with the most powerful and valuable tool prior to making a decision: testimonials.
Now exposed to the experiences of others, patients are able to head to sites like Lasik Eyes to make a fully informed decision without having to rely solely on the sales efforts of the clinics themselves. So what do reviews mean for practitioners and why are they transforming standards within the laser eye industry?
The Rise of the Savvy Consumer-Patient
Today’s consumer has a lot more information at their disposal prior to making any purchase. They are increasingly turning to online resources that offer a comparison service coupled with testimonials from people who have already bought and used the product.
Websites like TripAdvisor and AirBnB are becoming the most reliable source for gauging which products and services have disappointed, matched or exceeded consumer expectations.
This concept has extended into the elective healthcare sector.
With hundreds of clinics and surgeons available, prospective patients can be far more selective about the option they decide to proceed with. This has resulted in a significant shift in the relationship dynamic between surgeons and patients, where the latter are increasingly being viewed as consumers.
Similar to people researching the best Italian restaurants in London or the most cost efficient hotels in Bruges, laser eye patients too want to learn about how others have perceived the service they received from clinics around the world.
Why is this important for laser eye professionals?
Word of mouth advocacy is the most valuable tools for customer prospects and this is even more important when it comes to a health related matter. Whilst Laser Eye surgery is a relatively minor procedure with few complications, the thought of any surgical procedure is still unnerving. Positive referrals help alleviate a lot of the uncertainty for prospective patients and gives reassurance about the procedure, but most importantly the surgeon carrying it out.
The abundance of patient horror stories reporting inexperienced surgeons performing poor quality laser eye surgery with life-changing results has led to the industry suffering a long history of bad press.
With no official regulatory body in place safeguarding the public, testimonials are one of the few reliable resources future patients can use to make a confident decision. Reviews validate the reputations of clinics and surgeons, which helps filter out the highly skilled from the incompetent. Positive endorsements add a human element to the research and selection process, which helps filter through the noise of the hundreds of clinics trying to sell their services.
Whilst every clinic promises outstanding results, the proof ultimately lies in the experiences of previous patients. As such, testimonials are raising the standards of the laser eye industry as future patients are being increasingly guided towards companies and surgeons that have a proven success rate with ex patients. Research by Software Advice reveals that patients use reviews as the first step in finding a new doctor and evaluating their online reputation.
As such, positive recommendations improve clinic and surgeon search rankings, which means future laser eye surgery prospects will always first find practitioners that have a developed a highly credible online reputation.
Alexander Ionides, a leading eye surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital discusses the importance of recommendations in helping patients find him: ‘Testimonials are an excellent resource for potential patients in that they help them make a truly informed decision based on the experiences of others.
‘Whether ex-patients have had a really positive or negative experience, their stories help future patients save time and energy when researching for their own procedure as they are able to quickly identify the leading surgeons that have built a strong reputation for providing an excellent service.’