When people are trying to find a physician, they want to hear from patients who have been there, done that. On sites like Yelp, HealthGrades, Facebook and Angie’s List, people are sharing their experiences and writing reviews that could cause a potential patient to schedule an appointment – or turn away completely.
In fact, according to BrightLocal, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That’s why patient reviews are crucial to your practice’s online reputation. Do you know what do your online reviews say about your practice?
Or, are you severely lacking reviews to begin with? If so, it’s time to start taking these simple and effective steps to getting more online reviews.
Want to know the best way to increase your number of reviews? Just ask. Your patients will understand how important it is for your practice and if they are happy with their experience, they won’t be annoyed by you asking. Just be sure to ask politely and not be too pushy.
Also, it’s important that you don’t wait too long to ask. It’s best to ask in-person, at the end of their appointment. Or, if a patient compliments you via email or phone, mention that you’d appreciate if they left the same feedback in an online review.
2. Make it Easy for Them
Patients are much more likely to leave your practice an online review if you make it as easy as possible for them. Be sure that the links to your review profiles are easy for patients to find on your website. Or, you can display the links on business cards. This way patients don’t have to spend too much time figuring out which site is the best place to leave their review.
3. Address Negative Feedback
You can’t always please everyone. And when a patient isn’t pleased, you may end up with a negative review. Maybe your staff was in hurry, appointments were running behind, or maybe that patient is just looking for anything to complain about. Whatever the reason, when you see a negative review online, make sure you respond quickly but carefully to ensure your response is in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
You can reach out to the patient, apologize for the unpleasant experience and offer to solve the problem in a general way that doesn’t acknowledge the person as a patient. Or, you can reach out to them directly and privately to try and rectify the issue. This shows them – and others reading your reviews – that their complaints won’t go unnoticed and that you’re a practice who works to fix their problems.
4. Follow Up
Whether by email or by phone, make a habit of reaching out to patients after they leave the office. Not only will this help build patient loyalty, but it’s another opportunity to encourage them to share their experience online.
5. Offer an Incentive
Although it’s unethical to bribe patients into complimenting you online, there is nothing wrong with showing them your appreciation for leaving a review. You can send them something fun and inexpensive, like pens or a refrigerator magnet, or even offer them a discount on their next appointment to thank them for sharing their experience.
6. Make it Your Staff’s Routine
For some people, soliciting reviews can be bothersome or uncomfortable. But, it’s important that your entire team is dedicated to boosting your practice’s online reputation and asking for reviews. In order to see an improvement it’s going to take your staff’s support, which is why you should train them to respectfully ask patients for reviews.
7. Get Started Now
The longer you wait to follow these best practices, the more likely it is that your practice will miss out on those crucial online reviews. You know that reviews are important for your reputation and now you know how to get more of them. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!