Online reviews can certainly help convince patients in their decision making while selecting a provider or practice. In fact, studies suggest that online reviews are the sole deciding factors for more than one-third of patients. In that case, providers and practices cannot just sit back and wait for the reviews to flow in on their own. That’s because:
- Reviews don’t flow in good numbers on their own without encouraging patients to write them
- Most reviews that come on their own are from self-motivated patients who are more likely to be the unhappy ones
This means that you need to increase the flow of reviews on your review page, especially the positive ones. Facilitating your patients in the process of writing reviews is the best review soliciting method. However, it is important to take care of certain things while soliciting reviews, to avoid any privacy violation issues, and other legal and ethical problems.
Here are the things to consider when soliciting feedback from your patients.
Use Market Research for a Larger Picture
Many industry leaders are releasing their own market researches. Software Advice, BrightLocal, and Google release surveys from time to time. You can use this data to understand the industry trends and devise strategies for your review solicitation process.
For example, a recent RepuGen study about why asking for reviews is essential for healthcare practices took on Yelp’s “not asking for reviews” policy, and also clarified how Yelp’s algorithm wasn’t allowing the reviews to be consistent with the actual patient satisfaction level. In this case, you can make your review solicitation strategy for Yelp to avoid any future issues. Also, you can start focusing on identifying other important doctor-specific review sites and concentrate your energy in creating a stellar reputation there.
Facilitate, (but) Do Not Incentivize for Reviews
Incentivizing for reviews isn’t a good idea as they aren’t considered to be an ethical action, especially in healthcare business. And second, they aren’t recommended by most, if not all, of the major reviews sites, be it Yelp, Google, Amazon, and Facebook (although none have no strict guidelines for it on their site).
Here’s what Yelp, Google, and Facebook (the major players in the review market) have to say in the matters of incentivizing for reviews:
Not just incentivizing, Yelp is so much particular about even asking your customers for writing reviews.
And when it comes to buying reviews or incentivizing in any other form for reviews, Yelp turns even obnoxious. It shows a warning to those who get caught:
Google has kept updating its line on incentivizing reviews over the years. It has no problem in encouraging or facilitating your customers (patients) in writing reviews, and it also has not laid down anything strictly for incentivized or rewarded content.
You may get away with a fake review on Google, at least temporarily, but rest assured that you’ll get caught at one point of time. Google has a lot of tools to detect what they call a fake review.
Google’s policy make it out loud clear that the company can easily remove all your reviews, penalize your site, and even keep you from showing up in search results completely if you’re caught in posting fake reviews.
There’s not much to be found on Facebook about review incentivizing issue, but when it comes to developer apps, they have this to say:
Solve Issues and Reduce Complaints
Don’t just ask for reviews, but also analyze them to know about your areas of improvements. Address the issues of your disappointed patients, and do it quickly, to help them find satisfaction with your service. Or, they’ll remain dissatisfied with you and never come back. Addressing and solving issues will help increase the patient retention for you.
According to the National Association of Retail Marketing Services, 91 percent of dissatisfied customers will not bother buying from the seller again. Conversely, 95 percent of disappointed customers will buy again if you resolve their complaint quickly.
Solving issues will also gradually reduce the number of complaints which will help in building a stellar overall reputation.
“Use patient sentiment tool to analyze your patients’ emotions and their satisfaction level. Check out how sentiment analysis tool works.”
Engage Before Asking for Reviews
It’s important to learn how well your communication is with your patients to make sure you understand their perspective in order to build loyal relationships. You’ll need to ask the right thing, and also put them in a proper way that can encourage your patients to go and write a review.
Read the blog “How to actually get your patients to write a review” for more detail.
Take Care of the Timing
The best time to issue a satisfaction survey is immediately after your patients leave the practice. That’s the time they will most likely leave a response.
You should also pay attention to their mood. If a patient seems to be highly upset, you should avoid asking for reviews. It may unnecessarily bring their wrath upon you.
Some Survey Tips
One of the most essential survey tips to remember is to keep the form concise, so that people don’t abandon it, due to other priorities.
Here are other important tips:
- Keep questions relevant
- Use consistent rating scales
- Avoid bothering patients with frequent reminders for taking the survey
- Make surveys mobile-friendly to allow them to take them while on the go
- Invite constructive criticism for your learning
- Personalize the survey experience and say thanks
Building trust and relationships with your patients is the name of the game. So, keep asking for reviews, learn about your shortcomings and analyzing them, and take proper actions to address your patients issues, if any. This alone will help you build a strong trust and reputation among your patients.
Ajay Prasad is a serial entrepreneur, a business strategist, and a healthcare marketing expert with almost three decades of experience. He is the founder and CEO of RepuGen. He has built this innovative reputation management software from scratch, incorporating multifaceted artificial intelligence (AI) which has allowed for rapid growth, maximum outreach and a 95% user satisfaction rate.