A doctor’s reviews are the most influential factor in a potential patient’s decision to contact a practice.
In a recent survey of RealSelf users, 81% identified patient reviews as critical for them to research before selecting a doctor to contact. In fact, 86% of consumers on RealSelf would not choose a doctor without a review.
Clearly, the number and nature of the reviews patients post about your practice can mean the difference between prospective patients choosing you, or the doctor down the road.
But let’s face it. Getting patients to post reviews is a challenge. In a survey of aesthetic doctors, respondents identified ‘getting patients to post reviews’ as the single biggest digital challenge they face.
So how can you reap the benefits of proactively harnessing the power and influence of your patients’ perspectives to help attract new patients?
The Patient Engage tool helps doctors enjoy the benefits of great word of mouth without the hassle of directly soliciting your patients or worrying about running afoul of HIPAA regulations. Patient Engage makes it easy to ask patients to share their experiences with the RealSelf community in two ways - targeted email requests sent to your patients and a widget on your website.
In addition to Patient Engage, below are some tips to drive patients to take action. Some of this is borrowed from Dr. Grant Stevens, who has lectured on what he's done to get high rates of follow through from his patients.
Step 1: Collect important information during a patient’s first visit
During the intake process, ask the patient to share how she uses the Internet. Here are two sample questions to ask when registering a new patient:
(1) The web is becoming a key way patients learn about our practice. Do you participate in any of the following? (check all that apply)
- Angie's List
- Blogging: If yes, where can we see it? http://________________
(2) What website(s) did you find helpful to use in researching our practice or the procedure?
Include their answers in their chart.
Why collect this information? When it comes time to ask them to share their experience online, you can refer back to their channels of choice.In addition, if a patient is a blogger or checks two or more boxes, they are "social" and much more likely to feel comfortable posting a review.
Step 2: Ask for a favor. Not a review.
The way you phrase your request can make a big difference in how it’s received. Asking for a favor can appeal to your patient’s good will and can increase the chances that she posts a review for your practice. When your patient says, "of course," explain that you really value her opinion and feedback on her experience with your practice and the procedure. Request that they please post about it online, anonymously should they wish, and share their unbiased feelings.
Don’t forget to also reference what the patient said in the check-in process. For example, "I see you like Yelp. That's a great place for you to share your experience about our practice."
Step 3: Hand a card to your patient
Don’t let a patient leave her post-op appointment without handing her your custom review card. On the card should be a link/URL that drives patients to your review site(s) of choice or to a page on your own website that includes links to your preferred online review sites, including a link to your RealSelf review form.
The card can serve as a friendly push for patients with good intentions but poor follow through who need a reminder of where and how to post their review, and will help ensure that your last impression with a patient is a lasting one.
Step 4: Establish a deadline
This is the critical step that most practices skip. People respond to taking an action when they’re given a deadline. Deadlines force us to prioritize our responsibilities and limit procrastination. It may feel a bit awkward to propose a timeline, but it's a proven technique!
If the patient says they'll post that evening, then say "I'll be looking for it tonight." This helps trigger a sense of urgency and inspire patient follow through. Your office may also want to use tools like Patient Engage to send a reminder email to patients several days following their appointment, with links to the reviews page on your website or links to your preferred review sites. .
Read more about Patient Engage here or contact your RealSelf Advisor for more info at (206) 624-9357 x4..