The Diagnosis Is In: Your Medical Practice Needs Reviews

April 26th, 2016 by Search Influence Alumni

Yelp, Healthgrades, Google My Business, RateMDs, Vitals—the list goes on and on. More than three quarters of patients are browsing review sites, using the online reviews to decide on a new healthcare practitioner. It is now more important than ever for your practice to have a strong online presence with positive reviews on your own site as well as external review sites. If you need help generating more online reviews, here are five tips to encourage your patients to share.

1. Use Word-of-Mouth to Ask Patients to Post Reviews

Your source for positive reviews is from your frequent and satisfied patients. Never resort to review stuffing by asking office staff, friends, or family members to write a positive review. Fake reviews, usually long on descriptions and short on facts, are easy to spot. You need your happy patients to share the truth about their experience, and you should be encouraging them to post reviews. At the check-out desk, have a sign or a handout ready with your website or other review site URLs you use. Include words of appreciation and encouragement, and request—don’t pressure—patients to rate their experience.

2. Make It User-Friendly With a QR Code

Do your patients use smartphones? Statistics suggest that they most likely do. Even if you have a “no cellphone” policy in your waiting room, many patients may be checking their emails or Facebook newsfeed while waiting. Why not give your mobile-enabled customers immediate access to your business information with a QR code?

A QR code is a mobile-friendly barcode that brings users to a specific mobile landing page, such as your Google My Business page or Google Places business listing. You can print a QR code on business cards, mailings, and brochures, and your patients can leave a review with the click of a button. Even if patients choose not to scan the QR code, they may be impressed with how tech-savvy your practice is.

3. Reach Out on Social Media

If you already have a Google+, Facebook, or Twitter page, post links to your review sites and encourage patients to post reviews. Not everyone you ask in the office will write reviews, so you need to offer patients constant feedback opportunities. By maximizing review opportunities, you also maximize your feedback and develop a strong online reputation.

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4. Be Open to Negative Feedback

The more open and welcoming your practice appears to be, the more comfortable patients will be coming to you instead of airing complaints on the internet. Encourage patients to contact your practice directly to voice concerns, and consider creating a paper or email survey to ask for feedback. You should try to hear from complainers before they make their grievances public.

If negative feedback does show up on a review site, respond to the criticism in a non-defensive manner. This will signal to potential patients that you listen and care about customer service. Remember to never discuss personal medical information, but focus on broader policies. And remember, always ask the patient to contact you to discuss his or her dissatisfaction. This shows others that your practice takes responsibility for patient satisfaction.

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5. Deliver Your Best Service

The more satisfied your patients are, the more likely they are to write positive online reviews. Patients have high customer service expectations, so train everyone, including receptionists and the billing department, to treat them with kindness and respect. Always look for ways to improve your patient’s experience. Practices with the best service get the best online reviews.

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