Patient reviews are a big deal for your specialty medical practice, whether you care to admit it or not. We know, it doesn’t always feel fair that a seemingly innocuous set of “star ratings” can have such an impact.
However, your prospective patients are going online to vet you long before they call to make their first appointment. And what they read in that list of reviews will shape what they think about you before they even set foot in your practice.
Having a bank of (hopefully positive) online reviews is not only good for potential patients when they’re deciding on a physician, it also helps them find you in the first place. When people in your community write about you online, it affects your SEO (search engine optimization) and increases your visibility.
Think of patient reviews as a ‘navigational beacon’ that can help point a potential patient in your direction!
Creating a Patient Review Process That Works
Getting patients to write reviews really is a virtuous cycle that can benefit your practice in many ways. But it’s not as easy as simply telling your staff to ask patients to submit reviews (if only that was the key to success!). No amount of “review us” stickers in your lobby will singlehandedly have an impact on the number of reviews you generate.
Boosting the number and level of reviews comes from a well-defined process and some key habit-forming behaviors.
PLUS…as an added bonus, we’ve included some free, easy-to-use scripts and templates you can use to get those reviews, boost your online reputation, and ultimately grow your practice!
Let’s start with two of the best (albeit a little obvious) ways you can make sure your reviews are positive.
1. Provide great care.
Great patient care is the catalyst for an exceptional patient experience.
As a physician, you know you’re good at what you do. You have to be. We’re in perhaps the most high-stakes service industry, and the service you provide should be nothing short of extraordinary. If that’s not your reality, then bad patient reviews are inevitable—and most likely warranted.
If you think about this logically, getting patients to write a review is much easier when they have a positive experience. But keep in mind that it’s not just about the time spent with you, the physician.
EVERY INTERACTION COUNTS.
From the ease of using your website, to the way they’re greeted when they call, to their waiting room experience, post-appointment follow-ups, and so on.
Patients have even been known to review the cleanliness of the bathroom, the fragrance of the office, and the amount of paperwork they have to fill out in advance. Some of that is out of your control, but spend time making sure patients understand the “why” behind what you’re asking them to do, and ensure that every touch point that IS in your control is as personal as possible.
Be kind and welcoming. Make your office easy to find. Greet patients by name. Write down the pronunciation of their last name so you get it right every time they come in.
Ensure ease and convenience throughout the entire process, and your patient reviews will be a sight to behold—in both volume and rating!
2. Make it a team sport.
This one kind of dovetails off our first point -- getting a great patient review isn’t always so much about the doctor as it is about the staff! One of the best ways to encourage and incentivize patient reviews is getting your entire team on board.
By simply telling the staff “Hey, we got 4 reviews last week, let’s see how many we can get next week.” Then, when you’re up 6 more reviews the following week, everyone high fives and feels great.
This is where a goal board or some visual back area of your office can serve as a reminder of the goal, and rally everyone’s efforts around boosting review numbers.
Bottom line: the more motivated your entire team is to grow the practice through a great patient experience, the easier it will be to get patient reviews.
How to Encourage Satisfied Patients to Write Reviews
Most satisfied patients will write reviews…..if you ask them to. It’s the making the ask that can sometimes be awkward/uncomfortable/challenging.
Let’s take the awkwardness out of it with some tactical tips and actionable templates to help you get started! We’ve organized these by “review moments” in the patient journey.
Review Moment #1: Ask them in person before they leave the office.
When your patients check out, make sure the front desk staff at your medical practice stress how valuable patient feedback is and provide instruction on where to go online to leave a quick review.
Review Moment #2: Ask them with a follow-up email.
When considering how to get patients to write reviews, perhaps the easiest, most convenient and non-invasive way is to send them an email. It can be short and sweet, ask about their recent experience, and ask them to visit the review page with one simple click.
Review Moment #3: Ask them on social media.
The ultimate vehicle for viral, shareable content, is asking your patients to leave a quick review of their experience at your office on social media. Whether you’re looking for an actual review on Facebook, or a shoutout on Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, anytime a patient boasts about their experience to their social network, it’s a positive touchpoint for your future patients.
Review Moment #4: Ask them on your follow-up phone call.
Chances are, your practice is vigilant about post-appointment follow-up calls to see how patients are doing. This is a great opportunity to remind them how helpful a good patient review is to your practice.
How to Manage Patient Reviews Online (and not stress about it)
Generating the reviews is a big piece of the puzzle, but don’t forget about managing those reviews. You don’t need to just respond to negative reviews – in fact, we advocate that you should be responding to positive reviews as well – thanking them for their words and for taking the time to leave such a glowing review!
Tools like Birdeye make it much easier to manage your online image, protect your practice, and get those coveted patient reviews. You’ll also be able to expand your practice’s reach and find new patients that you’d never been able to contact otherwise.
The best part? In case your staff forgets to ask patients for reviews through any of the avenues we mentioned earlier, Birdeye can do it for you!
Birdeye automates the review collection process by sending out review requests through SMS text, email, or social media…on whatever review platform you’d like Google, Facebook, Birdeye etc).