Patients care not just about a business’ average rating but about how timely the reviews are. The same PatientPop survey found that 43% of people say recency of the reviews is the most important consideration, while 38% said the average star rating was.
For medical practices, this means that a few knock-out 4-star reviews from last year won’t be enough to keep you relevant. Practices need an ongoing strategy to get more reviews from patients.
Online reviews also play a pivotal role in how the search engine results pages (SERPs) rank your business. While Google remains quiet about the exact algorithm it uses, the company has shared that it considers 3 factors to rank local businesses: relevance, distance (or proximity), and prominence. Google determines this last factor, prominence, based on the number of reviews and the average ranking of your business — meaning that more reviews and positive ratings will improve your practice’s local ranking.
More patient reviews are a must for any medical practice looking to attract new patients and remain relevant in the SERPs.
How to get more online reviews
Make it easy to leave reviews, and provide multiple ways to do so
Many patients are happy to leave reviews but fail to do so because of their own busy schedules. To counter this, simplify the process for patients leaving reviews. Be sure your business is easy to find on the web by claiming your profile across sites like Google Business, Yelp, Healthgrades, and more.
Offer multiple ways to leave reviews, like via automated post-care emails or text messages, through a form on your website, and via a QR code on posters around the check-in window and lobby.
Practices can also include a section on their website dedicated to Google reviews and provide a link to leave a review there, too. Consider highlighting a few exceptional online reviews and include 2 buttons below that say “read all reviews” and “leave review.”
2. Use automated reminders to encourage patients to leave reviews
Reminders can go a long way when it comes to getting reviews from patients. First, have the front office staff let patients know you’d love for them to leave a review. Next, include a link to your Google business profile, Yelp page, or Healthgrades profile, or other review site in an automated follow-up text message or email requesting a review. Practices can also include links on all other correspondences with a friendly note that says how appreciative the practice is of patient feedback.
3. Respond to all reviews
Patients will be more inclined to leave reviews if they feel the practice values their feedback. Acknowledging reviews with a concise response is a simple habit to adopt to encourage patient feedback, all the while supporting practice growth.
While some medical practices choose not to respond to reviews for fear of inadvertently violating HIPAA, more than half of respondents to a 2021 PatientPop survey said they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.