Every day it seems professional reviewers become more of an afterthought. You could subscribe to Consumer Reports to see the latest reviews before you buy that new vacuum. Or, you could read the plethora of reviews from actual owners on Amazon. You could search Rolling Stone for reviews of the new CD from that indie group you love. Or, you could listen to clips on iTunes and read reviews from people who’ve downloaded it already.
The same is true of everything; we’re in the age of everyone being a reviewer. Your patients are no different. In the old days, people would ask around if they were looking for a new dentist. Maybe colleagues at work. Neighbors. Or, if ladies were looking to have a cosmetic procedure done, they’d put feelers out to their friends.
Now you can go to sources such as RealSelf, Yelp, Facebook, and Google+ and read the reviews written by other patients. Information is power for patients. Reviews are good for your potential patients, and they’re good for search optimization. More reviews help move you up in search.
And people trust them.
So, what are you doing to garner more reviews from your patients? You’re not leaving it to chance, right? Here are some tips for getting your patients to write reviews on your practice and the procedures you perform.
Reviews create trust with potential patients
Once upon a time, patients looked for a diploma or at certifications when judging a doctor or dentist. Now they want reviews. According to data from RealSelf, 68 percent of patients consider a doctor more trustworthy based on his or her reviews compared with just 15 percent who look at their credentials.
Plus, the more the merrier. RealSelf’s research also found that potential patients were more likely to contact a doctor with a greater number of 4.5-star reviews than a doctor with fewer 5-star reviews. It seems those people trust the quantity of reviews, and possibly question if a doctor is highly rated but only by a few people. Maybe they wonder if those reviews are planted.
Point is, you want to generate reviews. Here are some methods.
You’ll have to find a way to ask your patients to submit reviews that matches your style. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable saying to a patient at her last follow-up appointment, “Hey, now that you’re healed, could you write a review on the procedure and my work?”
Instead, maybe you’re more comfortable writing thank you notes that also ask for the review. Maybe your office manager could do a follow-up call with patients making sure all is well, and asking for a review. Find a method that fits your style.
Don’t avoid asking because you’re afraid of a bad review
After having a procedure, patients often feel like experts, and they want to pass on their knowledge/experience to others to help them with their decisions. They’re not usually looking to trash a doctor. The majority of reviews submitted to RealSelf and Yelp are overwhelmingly positive.
In the above-mentioned RealSelf research, findings show that 95 percent of your patients will rate you with either four or five stars. You don’t actually want perfection because people don’t trust those reviews. Reviews of 4.5 stars seem to work better for potential patients.
If you do get a bad review, don’t overreact and don’t respond immediately. Does the reviewer have a point? When you do respond, have someone else in the office read your response first, to ensure you don’t sound defensive or aggressive. Of course, you need to try and overcome/address/satisfy whatever problems the reviewer is writing about. That may not be possible, but when you do overcome a negative review ask the reviewer to please update his or her review.
And remember the occasional bad review makes your overall good ratings seem more valid to potential patients. Plus, you can overcome it with new good reviews.
When is the best time to ask for a review?
The best time to request a review, obviously, is when the patient has that before-and-after moment and is thrilled with what they’ve had done. This is especially true with most aesthetic procedures.
For more routine care, such as yearly visits to a dentist or a dermatologist, the opportunity may not be as clear-cut. Maybe when the patient is making their next appointment could be a good time. Obviously, after a more involved dental procedure such as a crown placement or a dermatologist who has just found and removed a melanoma on a patient, there is a good opportunity to request a review.
Where should they post their reviews?
The king of cosmetic surgery review sites is RealSelf, but Yelp, Google+, and even Facebook are all big. Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, even Angie’s List, all have doctor ratings, and the list is continually growing. For now, though, RealSelf, Yelp, and Google+ are good bets. Patients can leave posts on your practice’s Facebook page.
Do you have questions about garnering reviews from your patients? Ask your Advice Media representative for the methods that could work the best for you.