Consumers look at online reviews when searching for physicians just like they do when selecting restaurants or auto shops. According to research, 84 percent of consumers check patient reviews before choosing a physician, and 72 percent trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family. In fact, physicians with more online reviews tend to get more appointments.1 Physicians can encourage patients to leave reviews on sites like Healthgrades.com and improve their online reputations, establish trust and grow their practices.
Here are nine tips for physicians to encourage patients to leave reviews online:
1. Educate staff about the importance of online reviews and make them part of your processes.
Don’t assume everyone you work with knows the value consumers place in online reviews. Make sure everyone on staff understands the influence of patient feedback and feels comfortable encouraging patients to share their thoughts. It would also help to make monitoring existing reviews part of your processes.
2. Ask patients on their way out of the office.
Physicians can let patients know their feedback is valuable when appointments are wrapping up, and staff at the front desk can do the same during check-out. Be sure to explain how simple it is to leave a review online and offer to send patients a link to your Healthgrades.com profile.
3. Send an email.
After asking for an online review in person, sending an email reminder can be helpful too. Make your message short and sweet and provide a link where patients can leave their reviews. If your practice generates automatic response emails, you can include notes in them reminding patients to share their feedback.
4. Ask over the phone.
Practices talk to patients on the phone for many reasons, presenting great opportunities to encourage patients to leave reviews online.
5. Add a link on your practice website.
If your practice has its own website, add a link to your Healthgrades.com profile and ask for patients to leave reviews following their appointments.
6. Ask for reviews on social media.
If your practice has social media accounts, like on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, add links to your Healthgrades.com profile and encourage patients to review their experiences at your office.
7. Provide paper instructions.
If you are printing out information for a patient following their appointment, include instructions for submitting feedback online.
8. Put QR codes on postcards.
If you like sending patients postcards, such as for the holidays, you can put a QR code on them that contains a link to your Healthgrades.com profile. Just be sure to explain your call to action.
9. Thank reviewers.
Saying “thank you” on your Healthgrades profile when a patient has left a review shows you’re listening and taking their feedback seriously. If an online review is negative, use it as an opportunity to re-engage the patient and provide good customer service. Show appreciation that the patient took the time to leave a review, keep HIPPA in mind and encourage an offline conversation about any issues.
Seven out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if encouraged.2 A fresh crop of online reviews can breathe life into a physician profile, attract new patients and possibly reveal opportunities to make improvements.