In previous articles, you have learned about how to start your practice, and tips to promote it effectively. However, the most important marketing aspect for an aesthetic business to establish is their reputation. To do that, you will need to gather patient reviews of your excellent service. Reviews written by your patients is one of the most effective means of establishing your reputation and earning new customers through this modified form of word-of-mouth advertising. While it may not be quite as good as hearing it from the patient’s own lips, their reviews speak volumes to those who are considering your services.
In fact, most people surveyed would not choose a new doctor unless they read at least one patient review to get a better idea of the practitioner, their office staff, the effectiveness of treatments, and the overall atmosphere to see if it makes a comfortable fit for their needs. In searching for a doctor or dentist, you might have done the same thing in reading over their reviews from patients.
Getting Patients to Write Reviews
Unfortunately, getting patients to write a testimonial for your website can be difficult at best. Most people simply do not leave reviews behind unless they had a really bad experience which is something that as a doctor you will have to address. Getting positive reviews is difficult for several reasons, one of which is trying to walk the fine line that lies between mentioning it to a patient and hoping they are inclined to write one on your behalf. Going a little over one way or another may mean not getting them to write a review at all.
Plus, there are the HIPAA regulations that govern just what doctors can and cannot do in terms of promoting their practice, so many refuse to do any prodding because they feel it might cross that line. However, there are proven methods you can use to help get patients who are satisfied with the results they receive to write a positive review without violating HIPAA regulations.
Gather Information for First Visit
If a patient is visiting you for the first time or you have not asked current patients for this information, ask them how they use the internet. As part of the questioning process, you can ask if they have participated in review websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List. And, you can add social media use, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It’s also helpful to know if they run their own blog as well.
Another question you can ask is whether your website was helpful in the research they used for your practice or the procedure that was performed.
The reason why you want to ask these questions is that when you are ready to ask them if they will share their experience with your practice online, you can refer to the answers that they gave. The more boxes they check off in the list of choices you gave them, the more likely they are to be socially active on the internet and thus more likely to post a review.
Make It a Favor
Instead of asking for a review, asked them for a favor which will make a better impact on the patient. You are appealing to their good will when asking them for a favor about posting a review. You should couple the favor with telling them that you value their feedback about the experience and to share that with others, so they can take heed of their words as well.
Make sure that your website allows them to post without using their name, so they can remain anonymous. That will help you get more reviews on your site and other review sites, such as Yelp if you see that they have checked that off on their questionnaire.
Add a Deadline
When people do not act quickly on the favor that you ask, they tend not to do it at all. It’s only human nature to be forgetful, so the sooner they post the review, the better. You can remind them of this when they accept your favor by telling them, “Great, I’ll be looking for it tonight.” That is a gentle reminder that can work wonders in pressing them to post a review without being harsh or critical.
If you inform patients through email about appointments, you can include a request for a review with the next email that you send. Whether you schedule another appointment or send them follow-up information, including a request or favor to post a review about their last experience with you is one more way to get them to write a review for you and your practice.
Keep in mind that putting the question in your email should not be obvious, but it needs to be visible so that they will see it. This means putting it near the bottom and couched as a favor so that they are more likely to respond.
Business Review Card
An easy way to remind the patient about posting a review is providing them with a simple business review card that is part of the package they leave your office with after the appointment. It can be a small business card or somewhat larger, but it needs to contain the URL or link that takes patients to the review site of your choice, whether it is your own website or an independent one like Yelp or Angie’s List.
The cards themselves are inexpensive and just like business cards you can order them in the hundreds so that you have plenty on hand. It’s one more reminder of their promise to post a review that is done in a friendly way. Plus, you can have contact information and even have their next appointment noted on the card as well.
By doing the little things in reminding patients about posting reviews, you can increase the number you have considerably which may make a big difference to your practice. Plus, it puts you and your staff on notice to improve areas of what you do to make an even better impression on your patients, so it is a win-win for everyone.