When potential new patients are looking for care, they might hear of you through a friend’s referral, a social media recommendation question, your marketing efforts, or a good ole’ google search. From that moment, your online reputation matters. Regardless of how they hear about you, they are very likely to do a little extra digging to decide if they are going to move forward with setting up an appointment. After all, finding out about other people’s experiences with your practice is so easy. In fact, a recent study found that 84% of patients used online reviews when evaluating providers and 94% said they would be at least “moderately likely” to choose one doctor over another based on positive reviews. The bottom line is—online reviews matter.
You may think online reviews are an area you have little control over, aside from providing patients the best possible experience when they visit your practice. However, your influence over online reviews doesn’t have to end the moment a patient leaves your office. With the right communications plan, you can own your online reputation, preempting negative reviews and amplifying the voice of positive online reviews.
1. Ask for a rating.
It is overwhelmingly true that people are far more likely to take initiative in leaving a review when they have something to complain about, rather than when their experience is amazing. If they have a great time, they are likely to continue coming to your practice and possibly even recommend you to friends or family. But will they, on their own, think that they should go sing your praises online? It isn’t likely unless you make it easy. It’s a great idea to ask patients to rate you after they leave. We recommend an automatic text campaign asking patients to rate their experience. Keep it brief, as patients are more likely to respond if it’s not going to take up their valuable time. Their response not only helps you to understand how your practice is doing for internal purposes, but you can then use the information to take charge of your online reputation.
2. Preempt the negative reviews.
You often can’t predict when a patient does not enjoy their experience and is going to take their campaign online. But if they are disgruntled for any reason and let you know here, you can follow up to figure out what went wrong. The saying goes that “haters gonna hate,” but in some cases, maybe the complaint is something valid that you can make right. A practice of following up with one-star reviews shows the patients you care, and in some cases helps you to preempt a public negative review. Also, we know that your practice is amazing—but if you hear enough of the same complaint, it’s a great indication that you’ve got an area in need of improvement.
3. Amplify the positive reviews.
When a patient tells you in this simple survey that your practice gave a 5-star performance, it’s a great opportunity to make an ask. Do they want to help patients like them get out of pain, or into better health? You can then request, if they have a minute, for them to leave a review on sites where people can find information about your practice. If a patient truly had a great experience, they may be motivated to offer a kindness in return—in the form of a great rating online. You can even make it extra easy for them to do so by providing the direct link to the sites you see as most valuable in your field.
When it comes to online reviews, you don’t have to turn your head and let them run their course. Instead, you can take charge and keep those satisfied patients telling the world about their experiences with your practice. And you don’t have to figure out how to do all this on your own. The easiest way to make this happen is to try Zingit. Our automated communications platform is preprogrammed to put these processes into practice, using best practice messaging and timing we’ve found from years of experience. It’s time to leverage online reviews now to let potential new patients know about the great experience your patients are having with your practice.