Buying a new phone, car, going on holiday or even choosing a restaurant to dine out? Chances are the first place you’re likely to look is an online Review website. Why? Because rather than counting on eloquent adjective-laden promotional descriptions, most people prefer reading real reviews from other people. Patient reviews about medical practices are no different.
Short of publicizing your clinic or hospital yourself, patient reviews are the best way to get your practice noticed. The reason patient reviews resonate with readers is due to its relatability and unbiased authenticity. When it comes to choosing a new healthcare provider, more than three-quarters of patients rely on online reviews to make a decision. With millennials depending heavily on the web for decision-making, it comes as no surprise that a majority of them rely on online patient reviews about providers.
While positive reviews on some popular review sites are beneficial for your Google rankings, having patient reviews on your website will also serve to boost your online reputation and potentially influence website visitors to visit your practice.
Here are a few ways you could get your patients to do this
Encourage patients to provide reviews
Ask and you shall receive. Patients probably send you cards, emails and messages showing their appreciation for your care. In order to make this more meaningful to the growth of your practice, you will need to showcase these reviews. All you need to do is ask patients who are happy with your service. You may be surprised at how many of them will actually be willing.
Do not pressure patients into providing a testimonial
While some providers may be hesitant about asking their patients to review them, others can be quite insistent. Do not do this. It is in your practice’s best interest to gently remind your patients if they haven’t already provided a testimonial, but steer clear of sending multiple reminder emails, making several phone calls or reminding them every time they visit. You are likely to come off desperate and the reviews are going to seem forced.
Take the good with the bad
A review does not necessarily need to be about the positives of your practice. Your patients should be allowed to honestly express how they felt about their doctors and treatment. Should they have any concerns or constructive criticism, be willing to accept and consider these as well.
Respond to criticism without being defensive
It doesn’t bode well to completely sweep the negative comments under the rug, ignore them or even be defensive about them. After all, the success of your practice hinges on the opinions of your patients. Therefore, it is best to carefully consider, assess and then address negative comments. Here a couple of things to keep in mind before responding to negative reviews from patients-
- Why did the patient have a bad experience?
- Were there others who had a similar complaint?
- Is there anything your staff could have done to prevent it?
- How can you prevent it from happening again? Any changes that can be made to improve the situation?
Of course, if the review is fake, you should take steps to take the review down so as to not unfairly tarnish your reputation.
Follow-up with patients after receiving reviews
Patient reviews are valuable to your business, so it’s important to let them know it is appreciated. Health providers also need to follow-up with their patient once they receive reviews. Let them know you value their comments and thank them for their positive testimonials. If you have made changes or improvements to your practice based on their reviews, it is advisable to describe these changes to them in order to let them know that their concerns have been heard.
Improve customer care
In order to get patients to rate your practice, it is important to give them a reason to do so. Ensure your staff is polite, courteous and helpful. Following-up with patients is equally important to ensure continuity of care. Ease of appointment scheduling, follow-up scheduling, regular communication with patients and providing helpful health information that is relevant to them are great ways to set your practice apart from your competition. Go the extra mile and your patients will only be too happy to provide a positive recommendation.
Provide the option to review online
Patients are already doing this. The only difference here would be to direct them to your website or patient portal instead. You could send a text message or email to encourage your patients to rate your practice and their experience. If your practice has a mobile app, patients could even use this to send in their testimonials that you can then post online.
Do not write reviews yourself
Fake reviews are quite easy to spot. They are full of adjectives containing very little facts or details. Do not resort to getting your staff to write reviews for your practice as it would seem like an obvious ploy to market your practice and may consequently work against you. It’s best to get genuine reviews from actual patients.
Patient satisfaction is something all practices strive to achieve. It is also equally important in this age of digital technology to share the high opinions that your patients have of your practice on your online domain. Ultimately, these positive patient reviews are probably what is most likely going to fetch new business and promote your practice organically.
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