(Inter)net Promoters Can Be a Doctor’s Best Friends

social net promoter brand advocate

As a successful aesthetic professional, you’ve no doubt had a new patient tell you they booked a consult or procedure because they heard about you from a friend or family member.

Such word of mouth can be music to your ears — although you’d be advised not to fall too deeply under its spell for one simple reason. Doctors who believe they can forgo marketing because they get enough business through word of mouth may miss out on the fact that the tune is rapidly changing.

Don’t get us wrong. Word of mouth is still important; it’s just that the venue has changed. Instead of talking over fences or coffee, consumers are talking via social media and doctors who want to engage them need to be in on the conversation.

The challenge, of course, is determining who to listen to, which is where the idea of Net Promoters comes in. Developed by loyalty expert Fred Reichheld, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) concept uses one simple question — “How likely is it that you would recommend [a company] to a friend or colleague? — to gauge customer loyalty. Tallying the answers on a scale of 1–10, respondents are categorized as Detractors, Passives or Promoters.

And who are those Promoters? As Richard Owen, president and CEO of Satmetrix, writes,

Promoters aren’t just customers who are merely satisfied – inactive Passives – but customer loyalists and evangelists who will proactively support you when you aren’t looking. A Promoter of your brand will actually go out and tell friends and family to buy your product. And because a recommendation from a friend is six times more effective than advertising, your Promoters are some of the most valuable financial resources you can have.

And increasingly, these “brand advocates” are sharing their recommendations via social media. In fact, according to a benchmark study conducted by Satmetrix last spring, of the 75% of consumers who said they participate in social media, more than half considered themselves Promoters of the companies they rated.

Your customers are talking about you online, says Owen. You need to be a part of that conversation.

It’s still word of mouth — it just carries a whole lot further.

 Doctor Takeaways

1. Determine who your social Net Promoters are

While the NPS concept relies on a single post-sale question, the oft-private nature of aesthetic decisions can make customer segmentation more challenging. Facilitate the analysis by asking potential patients what sites they used while making their decision and by encouraging existing patients to share their experiences via testimonials and online reviews.

2. Don’t just lurk — let them know you’re listening

True Promoters seldom need prompting to promote the brands they like but even the most altruistic advocate appreciates some acknowledgment of their efforts. An encouraging email during recovery, a thank-you note for a positive review or an exclusive offer for a subsequent service — when it comes to word of mouth, contribute to the conversation and you’ll probably like what you hear.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.