How to Ask Patients For Reviews
In modern times, our businesses thrive or thrash based upon what's being said about us in social media, yelp reviews, blogs posts, news articles and everywhere else you can imagine.
We're no longer simply telling our neighbors we've had a bad experience at the doctor's office; we're telling anyone and everyone online.
Did you know that 92% of consumers now check online reviews before choosing a new service provider. That includes Doctors.
Asking for reviews, however, can seem awkward or even shameful. Shouldn't patients who love you just write good reviews automatically?
For more on responding to bad reviews, you can check out our Responding to Bad Reviews Infographic here.
In this piece, let's focus on a reputation management strategy to help get more good reviews. But the 2 are very intertwined.
You know that the happy patients exist. You see them every day. So getting them to say something is what you really want.
Asking for reviews takes some strategy and precision -- but no excisions required.
You can handle it. Here's how.
Ask before the service has begun
Patients are more likely to give a good review if you are asking for reviews before you have given a service,
Let's dig into the psychology behind this.
This is likely due to 2 main factors.
1) They may actually perceive better care because they know they will be reviewing.
2) Staff may provide a better experience because they just reminded themselves that they are being reviewed.
3) The might actually remember. Most people want to give good reviews and say nice things. It's engrained in us from preschool. They just get busy and forget to do it.
This can start with a kind face at the front desk and a little pre-visit thank you card that asks for a review. Make it as personalized as possible. You could sign it on behalf of the clinic or add an emoji sticker right before you hand it to the patient. Make the patient feel special.
Never ask for "good" reviews or Facebook likes. That should be up to the patient. Leaning on people -- even jokingly -- for good reviews will backfire unless you have an incredibly strong rapport already. This article is about building that kind of rapport both clinically and administratively. So we'll assume you're not at that level yet.
Ask for reviews during the height of satisfaction
This one is tricky. It must be handled delicately. And asking for reviews in this way may not be an option in all service settings like those in a clinic.
A couple bad examples would be:
Pardon me, but while I'm listening to your lungs, I'd just like to mention that it would be awesome if you would review your service today.
Asking for reviews should never come across as lacking appropriate humility or seeking promotion.
I see you're very happy with that new medication we have you on. Do you mind letting all of your FaceBook friends know how happy you are?
I'm sure that has to be a HIPAA violation in some way or another.
But there are times during that height of satisfaction when asking for reviews is perfectly okay.
Asking for reviews at End of visit/very grateful patient
Patient: Thank you so much, Doctor (or staff), for working me in today. I was really worried about this cough.
Doctor (or staff): And thank you for coming to see us today. I hope you feel better soon. And if you have an opportunity, would you consider writing us a review.
Make sure patients feel they are doing you a favor and not obligated
If they feel obligated to review you, that's a negative in and of itself. When asking for reviews, use language that demonstrates that you value their opinion and that regardless of what the review says, it helps the practice better care for patients. This makes it seem like a favor.
Ultimately, good reviews are a favor as very few people take time to write reviews of a great experience unless they think the office deserves their promotion.
Give the customer an idea of how quickly one can write a review
Make is sound quick and simple. Say something like, "it only takes 2 minutes to write a quick review." Give them a handout or send them some links to make it even easier.
Make it a practice to get each patient's primary email address or get approval for occasional text messages
Among other uses, you can send out a very short review reminder 1-2 days after the appointment. Link to popular review sites on which you would really like more reviews.
Keep it quick and simple. Give it a catchy but professional subject line, so they'll open it. Use it wisely to avoid seeming spammy, which will get you blocked.
Never offer services or discounts in the same message when asking for reviews unless it is a within a full newsletter. Otherwise, it can be perceived as unethical and depending on what you say it may completely cross that ethics line.
You can, however, ask them to join you and other patients on Facebook, etc. It's always a good time to expand your social media reach.
Let them know that the Doctor reads every review personally
People want to know that they are being heard and that if they do take a few minutes to write a review, someone at the clinic will notice. The rest can seem like all talk if they think no one actually looks at reviews.
And yes, the doctor and staff should be reading reviews as much as or more than asking for reviews. They are very important to the health of the practice.
Have a social media presence
When you have a social media presence, patients get a chance to get to know the staff and doctor in an outside the office setting without overstepping the bounds between social and professional.
Social Media has several benefits for your practice, one of them being the ability to obtain more good reviews simply because you have a greater positive presence in patients' lives. It's like asking for reviews without having to ask.
Connect with a digital content strategy
Digital content that can be made available on your website is allowing Doctors to educate and connect with patients like never before. Customized and Strategically planned, health-related blogs and infographics not only help practices get more patients and develop a sense of loyalty among those they have, but studies show that patients simply see a Clinic that provides them with regular, helpful custom content in a better light. On top of these benefits to your practices, you're helping your patients live healthier lives.
This translates to more and better reviews again without really asking for reviews.
If you need help connecting with new patients and those you have, contact us. We can help you get more patients, more loyal patients and better reviews through customized content and social content strategy.
What strategies do you use to get more reviews?
How do you feel that social media and digital content are changing the way you connect with patients?