Forget treatment cost or even your certifications. According to a recent RealSelf survey, nearly four in five aesthetic consumers said review content is the most important factor when choosing a provider. Why? Trust. 68% said reviews helped them determine a doctor’s trustworthiness, versus just 15% for a doctor’s training and education credentials.1
Speaking of trust, maybe you’re nervous about leaving your practice’s online reputation to consumers. Happily, you don’t need to worry: 94% of reviews on RealSelf are positive.2
But it’s not enough to just hope you’ll get great reviews. You have the power to get more reviews through staff training and the right amount patient coaxing. Here’s how.
1. Find the right moment
Consider these customer interaction moments:
- Calling to schedule a consultation. Encourage your visitors to create a profile on RealSelf and follow your practice. This early in the journey, consumers are motivated to form a connection that offers them more information. Plus, getting more signups now means one less step they have to take when you ask for a review later.
- Consulting with a doctor. Suggest your patients read previous review as an extension of their consult. And by encouraging patients to look at reviews, you remind them of their importance to your practice — and to other consumers.
- Scheduling their visit. As patients get closer to their actual procedure, create a more direct call-to-action. Train your scheduler to ask the patient what’s the best follow-up method for getting feedback after their appointment. That way, you’ll get specific information to help you reach out about a review post-treatment, and you’ll start patients thinking about what they’ll want to note in their review.
- Post-treatment follow-up. Here’s where all of the previous touchpoints pay off. Imagine: your patient is thrilled with the results of her treatment. What better time to remind her how helpful reviews were for her throughout the treatment process? Ask her to “pay it forward” by leaving her own review to help others who are just undertaking their journey.
2. Determine your style
Asking patients to review your practice is a good first step. Refine this step by asking at the most opportune times, when patients have enough experience to provide a credible review and, crucially, the time to write it.
When testing different approaches for requesting a review, you want to balance your practice’s personality, your level of effort, and what gets the best results. Some providers prefer more customized and interactive approaches, while others focus on methods that are more automated or less interactive to save time for staff or for patients. Any combination of these styles can produce effective materials for prompting new customer reviews.
4 styles for getting more reviews
- Customized/More Interactive: A personal email containing the before-and-after photos from their post-procedure appointment. This both prompts a review, and makes it easy for patients to include their photos too.
- Customized/Less Interactive: A personal email or handwritten “thank you” note that connects to something personal in their journey. This takes more time, but can build a warm and loyal relationship that drives repeat clients.
- Generalized/More Interactive: An emailed review request, such as using the free RealSelf tool called Patient Engage. It makes it easy (and HIPAA-compliant) to ask for a review from multiple patients at the same time.
- Generalized/Less Interactive: Handouts that are a physical reminder to leave a review. Consider creating a shorter link that redirects to your RealSelf profile so it fits on a physical review request card.
3. Maintain your credibility
Don’t give your consumers a reason to second-guess you. Make sure your reviews are impartial, authentic, and detailed so potential patients feel they can trust this information.
No insider reviews
That means no reviews from family members or staff. In addition to being against the RealSelf Terms of Service, these reviews don’t serve potential patients well, because they come from a person with a highly atypical relationship with your practice.
4. Stay consistent and current
Once you get a sound review process going, keep it going because prospective patients value recency and volume in reviews.
Accumulate reviews over time
The more reviews you have, the more interested consumers are. In fact, consider this:
Review quantity vs contact rate 4
- 10-24 reviews: 8x email & phone inquiries
- 24-49 reviews: 20x email & phone inquiries
- 50+ reviews: 70x email & phone inquiries
Don’t worry if you don’t have this type of volume right now. Stay consistent over time and you’ll reap opportunities for reviews from as many patient relationships as possible.
Remember, all of your reviews don’t have to be five stars. In fact, they’ll appear more credible if there is some variation in the rankings and written feedback because people don’t trust a high volume of 100 percent perfect ratings.
Keep reviews fresh
According to a consumer review survey by Brightlocal, 73% of respondents said reviews older than three months were irrelevant.5 While a high volume of reviews demonstrates consistency, recency signals that these newer reviews will more closely mirror their own experience.
Highlight a stellar review
If you have a patient that really went all out with their review, highlight it so that people who visit your page see it first. The recency guidance still applies to this review, so change it at least once per quarter.
Take control of your customer reviews
Relying on reviews doesn’t mean your other hard work and experience takes a back seat. Reviews that are honest and thorough will reflect your practice’s experience, expertise, and professionalism. Through smart management and thoughtful customer engagement, you can turn reviews into a top driver for marketing your reputation and growing your patient base.
Haven’t claimed your presence on the world’s largest aesthetic website?? Claim your free RealSelf Profile.
Ready to make the most of your reviews? Sign into your RealSelf dashboard to use Patient Engage, the free tool that lets you send personalized review request emails to multiple patients at once.
1 RealSelf consumer survey, June 2016.
2 RealSelf site data, 2017.
3 RealSelf data, 2017.
4 RealSelf data, May 2016.
5 Brightcove Consumer Review Survey, 2016.