Reviews matter. As a medical professional, reviews may not be at the top of your priority list. Your experience, education, and board-certification showcase the value of your work. That is true, but reviews still matter. A lot.
According to a RealSelf study, 68% of patients use reviews to determine the trustworthiness of a doctor. Only 15% decide based on board certification or education. Reviews are a vital part of your practice. Not just any reviews either. The majority of potential patients are interested in fresh reviews, none older than three months.
If your practice is going to thrive, you need to generate a minimum of 10 new reviews every 90 days.
So, how do you go about generating that many new reviews? The easy answer is to simply ask. Your patients are your best marketing tool. You just have to ask. While that seems simple enough, asking for reviews can be an awkward and uncomfortable thing to do. It doesn’t have to be. The right process makes asking for reviews seamless and painless, and a major boost for your business.
Here are three tips to help you get there.
Tip No. 1: Be personal in your delivery
You might be inclined to ask for reviews by sending out a generic email or form letter. Those are OK ways to follow up on your request, but to get the best response, you should make the initial request in a personal way. For many doctors, that means asking the patient personally when they are in the office for a follow-up visit. Other doctors have found success by giving patients a personal, handwritten note.
There isn’t a rule that says you have to do it one specific way. Whatever delivery method you choose, make sure it’s authenticate. Doing so will show how important it is to you and make patients more likely to put considerable thought and effort into following through.
You’re not just adding one to your review total. You’re adding brand advocates.
Tip No. 2: Timing is important
You just completed another successful procedure, and your patient is leaving the office to begin the recovery at home. Now is not a good time to ask for a review.
The patient is likely preoccupied with the recovery process and their results aren’t in yet. The last thing you want is a negative review because someone mistook initial swelling for the final results.
Instead, ask for a review when your patient hits a “wow” level of satisfaction with their results. They are more likely to write you a review, and a positive one, when they are happy. Building a review request into your standard post-op process makes it routine.
If you offer a procedure that doesn’t require a follow-up appointment, consider sending each patient home with a handwritten note. Or if it’s a treatment they will return for, like Botox, you can ask for a review on their next visit. If they are coming back, they are clearly happy with your work.
Tip No. 3: Use tools like RealSelf Patient Engage
Although personal review requests are most effective coming straight from the doctor, there are ways to use your website and support staff to streamline the process. A follow-up email is a great reminder if a review hasn’t been submitted.
RealSelf can help with that process. The RealSelf Patient Engage tool helps initiate the process. The tool includes a widget built for your website that will jumpstart the creation of new reviews. A patient only needs to visit your website and select a star rating on the widget to start a review. You can find the HTML for the widget in the patient engage section of your RealSelf doctor dashboard.
The Patient Engage campaign feature is an email campaign that can be sent to up to 50 patients at one time. All you have to do is upload your patient’s email addresses and schedule the campaign. The system is designed to prevent patients from receiving the email more than once every 30 days to eliminate the possibility of spamming them.
Develop a system that works for you. The most important thing is you put an emphasis on getting reviews, then take the steps to ensure you’re getting fresh reviews every month. Doing so will give you credibility with consumers, grow your brand, create a network of advocates, and help your practice reach its full potential.
All you have to do is ask.
For more on the importance of quality reviews and how you can get more of them, sign up for our“Reviews: Ignite the ‘Pay It Forward’ Phenomenon” webinar.