The Internet is an influential global network that provides seemingly limitless information at users’ fingertips. A 2013 PewResearch report found 72% of adult Internet users have looked online for health information. From searching for facts on various conditions and treatments to seeking emotional support for a chronic medical illness, patients no longer rely on information and recommendations from their personal social circle to help make informed medical decisions.
What’s more, online health seekers use the testimonials and reviews of others to help guide their decision in choosing a new doctor. In fact, 88% of Internet users have been influenced by online reviews in making a buying decision, according to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research.
As an integrative practitioner, your services and expertise are unique – reviews and testimonials are integral to your success to help differentiate you from other practitioners in your area and to highlight your elevated patient care. By proactively asking your patients to review your services and your practice online, you take control of your online reputation and increase your visibility with potential patients.
Here’s an easy-to-follow 5-step method to acquire more testimonials and reviews for your medical practice.
1.) Set-up online review profiles
Setting up or claiming your online profiles is one of the best ways to begin building your online reputation. Not only does it make it easier for people to leave reviews, but it also ensures that your practice’s contact information is accurate and accessible. This is especially important when it comes to Google and Facebook, since these are the two most influential platforms for patient reviews.
Designate an office member to continually monitor and respond to both positive and negative online reviews. Though it may be easier to just respond to the positive reviews, it’s important to quickly respond to an unfavorable review, encouraging the reviewer to reach out to your practice directly to better understand the situation.
2.) Identify satisfied patients
Turn verbal praise in an appointment to written praise online. Look for patients who have had measurable or substantial success by following your established treatment plan. Identify cues during your visits with patients that indicate their gratitude for your care. Typically, it is the patients that you have established a strong relationship with that are most willing and eager to share their experience online.
3.) Ask at the right time
Once you identify a patient who has had a positive experience under your care, do not wait to ask for a review. The best time to ask is immediately after a patient expresses contentment or experiences an improved health status. It is important that you, the practitioner, asks your patient for a review in person. Asking for a review or testimonial via email or by an office member with an unestablished relationship with your patient can make the request appear insincere or promotional. It can also decrease the likelihood that the patient will follow through with the request.
4.) Streamline the review process
Make the review writing process quick and free of complications. One way to accomplish this is to establish protocols that your staff can use consistently:
Create instructions for the review submission process, and email them to your patient.
For an online review, include a link to the review website with steps to post a review.
For a short statement (testimonial) for your practice’s website, provide a form or list of questions to help guide patient feedback. In addition, be sure to include any necessary disclosure information required by your state.
5.) Show your gratitude
Writing an online review is one of the best compliments your patients can give. It is important to thank patients for their valuable feedback, which in turn helps to solidify your relationship. Send a personal email or hand-written thank you card to show your appreciation, or add a note to the patient chart to remind you to thank them in person at their next appointment.
A positive online review or strong patient testimonial could mean the difference between a booked first appointment and an Internet user electing another practitioner in your area. Remember, your online reputation matters!