Reviews: they are a crucial part of every business – and your healthcare practice is no exception.
Not only do they tell you how you’re performing (so you can know what to improve on, and which selling points to market to new audiences), but they also tell future patients what to expect from your practice.
In fact, in a recent survey, more than half of patients reported that online reviews were the factor that made them choose one doctor, hospital, or clinic over the other. Millennials in particular, tend to turn to Google for reviews of healthcare providers, making it so facilities with strong reputation scores see as much as 1290% more conversions (aka. calls and visits to their practice or website) than those who don’t have any reviews to show (or overwhelmingly bad ones).
That being said, as of 2020 more than half of physicians still didn’t have any reviews to show – and those who did, may not have been so sure how to best utilize them. And that’s what we’re planning to change with this blog post.
What should you do with your reviews?
Good reviews are especially nice to get, but once you get them – now what? You can be tempted to say thank you, but is that too generic? And if so, what should you say instead?
First of all, you should ALWAYS respond to ALL of your reviews. Whether it’s on Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, or on your Healthgrades profile – and whether they’re good or bad – it’s important to respond to your reviews in a way that’s authentic. This means not copying and pasting the same response to every review on the page, but rather giving each one the time and attention it deserves.
(Side note: this also tells the major search engines you are a human responding to and can help your rankings online).
The way you respond to reviews online is an important part of your patient experience. If your responses look like they could’ve been written by a robot, your patients will feel you didn’t care enough about them to treat them as actual human beings. That’s right – the patient experience begins long before the patient steps into your clinic and it doesn’t end when the patient leaves your practice!
So if you take anything from this blog post is that you should take a minute to customize each review response. Check out the examples below:
“We are so happy to hear your experience with us was excellent. It’s our honor to serve you.”
Versus “Thanks for your review!”
See the difference? You don’t need to write a whole paragraph about them and their experience, but simply taking the time to write more than just a “thank you” can go a long way.
But good reviews don’t just end there (or at least they shouldn’t). These reviews from your past patients are the ultimate form of social proof, and you can (and should) repurpose them in your marketing materials.
Whether on your next social media post or email newsletter, you can simply screenshot the review (make sure to blur their name and/or face for privacy reasons) and share it with your audience. Screenshots like this preserve the rawness of a testimonial and can be seen as more trustworthy than a fancy, well-designed graphic you made.
Ok, but what do you do with BAD reviews?
Like it or not, we all get bad reviews. It’s a rite of passage. You simply cannot please everyone. And while yes, some of them can be quite unreasonable, most are written by genuine patients who left your practice feeling unheard or frustrated for one reason or another.
A lot of times doctors ask us whether they should get their bad reviews removed. First of all, in most cases, it’s not as easy as it may seem to simply remove a bad review. Second – these are often the best opportunities to demonstrate your care, compassion, and empathy, as well as your commitment to doing what’s right for the patient – so make them count!
Many people make the mistake of replying to these bad reviews out of an emotional place – we highly advise against this. Instead, take the time you need to cool down and come back to the review with a level head. This way you’ll be able to provide the patient with the best help for their problem, or at the very least approach it in a polite, professional way.
We also recommend challenging your mindset around reviews and taking in each one as a data point and an opportunity to explore and do better next time. Examine what went wrong, how that happened, what you could’ve done differently – and then make a plan to course-correct. See the example below:
“We are sorry to hear about your negative experience during your clinic visit. Providing an exceptional patient experience is really important to us and we would like to follow up with you about this situation to see how we can help. In order to protect your privacy, please send us a private message with your contact information.”
Vs. simply deleting the review (or worse, responding emotionally)
Needless to say, you want to make sure you actually follow up with the patient afterward, whether it’s through a private message, email, or over the phone. And when you do, be sure to listen carefully, and get all the necessary information to solve the issue at hand.
This is not the time to make excuses or explain how the customer was wrong. You want to focus on helping them resolve their issue. We’ve even seen some patients go back online and update their review after a successful follow-up – so don’t pass up on that!
How to prevent bad reviews (and promote good ones)?
As with everything (especially within the healthcare industry), prevention is your smartest bet. Having a good patient experience in place is the foundation to helping prevent dissatisfied patients.
Building a culture where each person on your team – from the front desk to the lab to the providers – knows exactly what the ideal experience should look like, creates a seamless experience where customers and patients feel cared for and supported in each step of the process.
Two really practical and effective steps we have seen and used to help:
- Ask your patient before they leave how their experience was, if they have any questions or need anything else. This simple step can help you catch any concerns or errors before they go and leave them feeling great about being taken care of.
- Ask your patients to leave you a review and make it easy to do so. In some client clinics, we have had reminders on the screens in waiting areas, exam rooms and on the discharge paperwork. Let them know how important they are and how much their review will help you. Sometimes just being asked is all it takes.
At Boss Lady Consulting, we are passionate about helping healthcare businesses grow by improving their patient experience and culture. Whether you’re dealing with poor patient retention, looking to expand your clinic services or geography, or simply looking to grow your patient satisfaction rate (along with your revenue) you can book your FREE strategy call with us today to discuss your specific clinic needs and explore if we are the right agency to help you grow!
We can’t wait to have a conversation with you.