December 23, 2019
A doctor’s office is like any small business. It needs the approval and patronage of its community to thrive. One quantifiable way to measure the approval of the community is to look at a doctor’s office’s online reviews. According to BrightLocal’s 2018 local consumer review survey:
But reviews don’t have to trickle in haphazardly. There are a few tried and proven techniques for increasing the amount of high-quality, five-star reviews your doctor’s office receives.
Long wait times. Unprofessional front desk staff. Unappealing waiting rooms. What other pain points in doctor’s offices can you think of? Make sure that your doctor’s office isn’t ticking off any of those negative boxes by considering your patients first.
The most important thing that your doctor’s office can do is care for your patients. It is the most valuable use of your time as a physician. This means face-to-face time spent interacting with patients, diagnosing their conditions, dealing with their needs and assisting them with their insurance as necessary. This is the most valuable use of your staff’s time as well. You should aim to provide the best experience possible by making sure your staff understands that patients are the one and only priority.
Solving patients’ problems comes before making money and reducing costs. Without that attention to the patient, you won’t even have the chance to engage in marketing, sales or just about everything else, because you’ll already be out of business. The patients are the reason you’re in business, and you would do well to remember that, especially when seeking five-star reviews from them.
You can’t get reviews on the scale you need without asking for them. That said, you don’t need to spam every patient with requests for reviews; there's a method to the madness.
Try to go out of your way to direct satisfied customers toward online review sites. When you follow up with patients after a visit, consider following up with those who had positive experiences by asking for reviews on Yelp or Facebook. You can also include links to your Yelp, Facebook, and Google business pages directly on your website.
There are multiple communication channels on which your patient may exist, so there are multiple ways you can ask for these reviews. You can ask via text, via Twitter, or via email. You can ask via comment cards in person or by having the office manager perform exit surveys. You can automate asking for reviews via email campaigns or text messages triggered at the end of a visit, or you can ask in person or send a personalized note via text or postcard.
When you ask for these reviews, be appreciative towards the patient. You are asking them to do you and your business a significant favor that takes time out of their day. Share with them how reviews help your business: will they help you rank higher in search engines? Will they help more patients find you? Will they help you discover issues and concerns you didn’t even realize your patients had? Many patients will want to help you once they realize why you are asking.
Keep it simple, and always, always include the link to leave that review. You must provide a clear and simple call to action that makes it as easy as possible for your patient to leave a review, so don’t forget to send them that link or even the most positive patient won’t bother.
When you receive negative reviews -- and you will receive them, as it’s just the nature of the beast -- respond right away without becoming defensive and angry. Try to offer a solution or at minimum, explain your side of the story in a clear, objective and professional way.
At least by replying, that lets the patient know their concern has been addressed, whether or not you are able to fix the problem right away. Once the problem is fixed, follow up with the customer again to ensure they know that their concern has been resolved.
Most importantly, never forget to be humble and apologize. Even if you were in the right, or even if you don’t feel your office did anything wrong, you can apologize for the bad experience they had and wish them a better one next time. A simple apology can go a long way, and this applies whether the patient reaches out directly or posts an online review. Do not resist the power of a humble and sincere apology in changing a patient’s heart.
These three methods for obtaining five-star reviews should help your office achieve a high rating on any site of your choice, from Google to Yelp to anything in between. Always remember that you are in business for your patients, offer outstanding services, remember to ask for reviews, and remember to be professional whenever you respond to reviews, and you’ll find that those five-star reviews rush in a lot faster than you might think.