Patient reviews are an important component of reputation management for doctors, yet it may feel uncomfortable asking for them.
Patient reviews are integral to a doctor’s independent practice online reputation management strategy. In fact, 71 percent of patients use online reviews as the first step to finding a new doctor, according to Software Advice.
Despite the benefits of online reviews, many doctors and their staff don’t ask patients to write them because they feel uncomfortable. However, online reviews are a crucial component of every healthcare reputation management strategy, so you can’t afford not to ask.
It’s time to ditch the negative stigma you’ve attached to the act of requesting online reviews. Here are a few tips to broach the subject when talking with patients in person.
5 tips to request patient reviews in-person without feeling self-conscious
1. Ask when receiving praise
No doubt, patients compliment you on a regular basis. Instead of keeping these kind words between the two of you, take this as your cue to ask for a review.
People enjoy sharing positive recommendations with others, so they’ll likely be happy to oblige. Considering 87 percent of people read reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal, praise from a satisfied patient can hold serious clout.
2. Inquire about their experience with your practice
For 87 percent of physicians, interacting with and helping patients is the most gratifying part of their profession, according to CompHealth. If you fall into this group, requesting patient reviews can provide you with real-time feedback that can strengthen your patient relationships – and help you provide better care.
At the end of the patient’s visit, ask questions, such as “Were you able to easily schedule your appointment today?” or “Have I addressed all of your concerns?” If the feedback is positive, ask them to share their experience with others by writing a review. Take note of any constructive criticism and use it to improve the patient experience at your practice.
3. Be proud of the care you provide
For 55 percent of physicians, personal growth and achievement is the most gratifying part of practicing medicine. If you are like the majority of your fellow doctors, you take pride in providing your patients with the best possible care.
Part of doctor reputation management is believing in yourself. If you’re not confident enough in your abilities as a caregiver to ask for patient reviews, you can’t expect to receive them.
Think about all the people you’ve helped this week alone. Use this to boost your confidence before asking a patient to write an online review.
4. Focus on what you have to gain
Online reputation management for doctors isn’t just about achieving a high star rating. Almost three-quarters of customers (73 percent) say online reviews must be from the last month to influence their choice to use a local business, according to the BrightLocal survey.
If you only have a few, old online reviews, prospective patients will likely be unsure about the legitimacy of your practice. It’s important your practice receive a constant stream of reviews to bring in new patients. Allow this to serve as your motivation to ask as many patients as possible to write reviews.
5. Realize writing reviews is commonplace
You might feel uneasy about asking people to review your practice, but it’s likely second nature to them. When consumers are asked to leave a review, 72 percent have done so, according to BrightLocal.
Chances are, your patients frequently leave reviews for other local businesses, so they’ll be happy to write one for your practice. Try writing a few for businesses you frequent to understand the simplicity of the process.
When you know you’re doing the best you can to serve patients, asking them to review your practice shouldn’t feel wrong. Patients who are asked for feedback are 2.3 times more likely to proactively submit an online review. People put a lot of stock in online reviews, so as long as you’re confident in the care you’re providing, don’t think twice about requesting genuine feedback.
Following your patients’ visits, make sure you follow up your in-person conversation with an automated patient satisfaction survey via text or email. This will serve as a useful reminder for the patients you spoke to about leaving a review. It will also help provide you and your staff ease of mind if you forgot to request feedback or simply didn’t have the time to discuss in person. An automated feedback request will ensure you have a steady stream of online reviews and keep your online reputation in top shape without adding work to your plate.