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Systematize Getting More Patient Reviews

This is HealthCare Marketing Rx, where we try to help decision-makers – practice owners, practice managers – make good decisions about marketing. If you want to do it, in-house with some staff or to outsource to a third party tool or a third party agency, our goal is to help you understand what good looks like so that you can choose.

Healthcare Marketing Rx videos are not how to videos. There’s an ocean of good information out there, whether it’s on YouTube, free courses, paid courses, etc. We do not believe that we can add any real value to all of that, to all of that, how to information. However, what we don’t see too much of is what we’re focusing on, which is helping the owner or the decision maker, make good decisions about marketing for their practice.

Here we focus on getting more reviews from your happy patients online with patient reviews management. Let’s get into it and start with something that’s fairly obvious, but it’s always worth going through quickly is that reviews have power. What you see here as a snapshot of something called the Google map pack, sometimes known as the three pack or the snack pack.

medical practice marketing online patient reviews

There are three listings way at the top of the page of a search result in Google. Imagine that you are in the market for a new orthodontist, and if you had to decide based on this search result who you were going to call first to find out more information. Who would you call?

I’ve shown this a number of times to many different audiences, and inevitably Marsha Engleman gets the most votes. It does not mean that all of those people will end up choosing her, but she’s going to get more of the first phone calls…because she has the most reviews.

Engleman has nine more than Kowalczyk, 15 more than Erhart.  So most of those first phone calls for nine more reviews from strangers, right? That’s the power of it. Here’s, what’s really unfortunate about it for Earhart and Kowalyczyk – what if I told you that all three are really qualified in what they do. They each have at least 10 years of experience. On top of that, they’re all board certified.

Their offices are all close to you. They all have hours that fit your schedule. They all take your insurance. They’re all taking new patients.

They’re all really well qualified, but when people go online and want to form a first impression, which is what everybody wants to do, this is what they see.

If you relate more to Marsha Engleman, my advice to you else is keep your lead. If you relate more to Earhart and Kowlczyk however, you’ve got a little work to do, you try to catch up.

Ask for Reviews

First one sounds obvious when you read it, ask for the review.

I can’t tell you how often I come across a practice that’s a new client that has the following profile – they’ve been in practice for 20 years, maybe longer, maybe a little less, but they’re clearly good at what they do because they’ve been in practice for a long time. Their patients love them. Their patients refer them. All those things are true. But when you go online and check them out, you see maybe one or two reviews.

Somebody who’s been in practice for 10, 15, 20 years must have a really good reputation. They must have lots of happy patients, but you just saw it, right? Remember Engleman and Erhart? If you don’t have reviews to back it up, then the power of your reputation is not being fully realized.

And why is that? It’s because nobody’s asking for reviews. People who are unhappy will leave a review on their own. People who are happy, have to be asked. You’ve got to ask them. Ask as many patients as you can and make sure also that you’re asking each patient each patient more than once for review.

What do I mean by that? If I were a patient of yours and you said, Hey, Carl, would you please leave us a review? I’d say, sure. How do I do it? You explain to me how to do it and then I leave.

More often than not, I have good intentions, but life takes over. And I forget about it. If you can send me reminders, one reminder, maybe a second reminder, you’ve got a better chance that I’ll leave a review.

The other part of it is if I’m a returning patient and I come back every year for or twice a year, you could ask me every time. It is perfectly believable that the same patient can can continue to have a good experience with you and can be asked more than once over the life of time that they’re a patient with you to leave a review.

Make it Easy to Leave You a Review

Make it super easy for your patient to leave you a review. Make it the fewest steps possible from when you ask to when it gets done. We have a client who, when we met them, they said to us, “we used to try to teach our patients to Yelp”. Not surprisingly, they got very few reviews out of it. If your reviews process requires learning, even the most well-intentioned person is probably going start trying and then give up because they get a little frustrated and they have a busy life.

If you’re going to do this on your own, and you’re going to build a process in the practice, which is perfectly acceptable, have somebody else test it and watch what they do. Did they get confused? Did they know where to go? Any pause in what they’re doing is too much of a pause. It’s gotta be beyond super-duper easy because any sort of pause or step or confusion will cause some people to give up.

Publish Each Review in At Least Two Locations

If you can, after I’ve left you a review in this example, try to put my review in at least two locations.

The first one is on we call third-party sites – Google, Facebook, Yelp, et cetera. This is good for people who are searching for your services but don’t know you by name.

patient reviews management website example

This is a client of ours, Northshore Associates in Gynecology and Obstetrics, here on the North Shore of Chicago. Kelly Griffin, as you can see, left a review and she put it on Google. The patient reviews management service that our client uses then automatically takes a piece of that review and puts it on their website. That way, if somebody finds them by name or is referred to them by name and goes to the website, they can see the reviews there as well.

patient reviews management website example

If you’re a busy practice, potential patients can find you in a number of different places. You want to have your reviews in as many of those locations as you can.

Make Your Reviews Easy to Scan

So the word scan is very deliberate. Nobody reads anymore. Nobody has any attention span anymore, and they want to be able to scan a review.

So what do people want to see when they scan?

patient review scannable

  • It’s got a name. It’s not anonymous. People don’t like anonymous reviews.
  • It’s got to have a date and better yet a recent review. People like new reviews, better than old
  • It’s visual. The review has some sort of visual marker that says this is a positive or negative review. We personally like the five-star scale just because it’s used everywhere. Everybody knows what it means. There’s no guesswork. One is always bad. Five is always good. Nobody ever deviates from that. So it’s just making it to scan. And then if they want to read the review itself, they can, uh, if they don’t want to, they don’t have to that quick stars.

By comparison, some reviews, aren’t easy to scan. I plucked this off of a random website. It’s anonymized.

patient review not scannable

This review describes a life changing story of this person who came into this particular practice. It is really, really inspiring. It is also very long and hard to read. And I hate to be the one to say it, but very few people are going to take the time to read this. I wonder if you took the time to read this, or at least what your first reaction was when you saw it, you saw two paragraphs, lots of lines of texts, small font.

Patient Insights – Read Your Reviews

One of the benefits of reviews is that patient comments are also insights into how your practice is doing from their point of view.  That’s a good thing. For example, there’s useful information in this one-star review.

patient reviews management patient insights

These are not clients by the way. And their overall star review rating is very strong at 4.2 There’s really good information in here about somebody who has some concerns that could be addressed by the practice. You should take all this information seriously. Accentuate the good and try to fix the things that patients are talking about. Even if it’s one patient, this is worth the practice manager or the owner saying, Hey, what’s going on with this? Maybe someone had a bad day. Maybe it was a new person. Maybe there’s a perfectly logical explanation, or maybe there’s something going on underneath the surface that you need to know about.

Do Reviews Systematically

So if you’re gonna do reviews at all, our thing is make it a patient reviews management system. At MarketVisory Group, we approach marketing systematically. And what does that mean? That just means lay out the steps, make sure everybody understands what their part of it is.

Make sure that the process is smooth and then run it religiously because that’s what it takes. It doesn’t have to be very difficult, but that’s what it takes to get it good and get it sustainable so that you get what you want, which in this case is more reviews.

A system for getting more reviews, answers “yes” to these questions

Have we figured out how to make asking a regular part of the practice?

Here’s an example. We had a podiatry practice as a client. Their front desk was very busy, and they wanted the front desk to be asking for reviews. After working with them, it became clear that the best way to do it was every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon around four o’clock, the front desk would take a look at the list of patients that they had seen over the past couple of days, talk with the doctors, and ask which patients should be asked for a review. Then the front desk would enter them into the review system that they were using from us. And then the system would take over and do the asking.

Can we Publish Reviews on 3rd Party Sites and our Website?

Are we able to publish reviews on third-party sites like Google and Facebook, and also on our website, there’s different ways to get that done, but we highly recommend that you figure that one out.

Are we Reading our Reviews?

Are we reading the reviews to see what patients like? And don’t like about us?

Have we Assigned a Single Person in the Practice to Lead this System for the Practice?

What do I mean by that? So if it’s somebody let’s say at your front desk, who was the point person to make sure that the system, your reviews management system, is getting done, then you need one person. It could be the practice manager. It could be a front desk person. It could be one of the doctors or nurses. It doesn’t really matter, but this is the person who everybody can look to if they have any questions.

At the same time, that person can say, Hey, you know, John, you over there, you’re supposed to be asking patients for reviews. How’s it going? Are you doing that? And then following on from that is, do we support that person to get the job done?

For this to work it has to be a single person. I have been with clients where they make it everybody’s job. Everybody’s job is to ask for reviews. And what happens in that case is that when something is everybody’s job, it’s nobody’s job. Everybody starts looking at everybody else saying, Oh, they’ll get it done. They’ll get it done. I don’t have to do it. It falls through the cracks and it never gets off the ground. I promise you have a single person.

This is not the person who does all the work necessarily, but this is the point person so that they can manage the system to make sure that it works well systematically.

Do You Review Your Reviews System?

Do we review how well our system works and fix what doesn’t? This is something we do with our clients with all the marketing that we do. We’re always tweaking and tinkering and tailoring to try to make it better. Just because a system is built doesn’t mean that you etch it in stone and it’s never to be changed again. Things can get better over time. And that’s what you should be doing with this system too.

Is your Patient Reviews System HIPAA compliant?

What does this mean? If you’re going to use any kind of electronic system, you’re probably going to be sending out emails to ask for reviews, or maybe text messages to ask for reviews. An email address and a cell phone number, especially when paired with a patient name counts as protected health information under HIPAA.

And now all of a sudden you’re sharing PHI. Whether you use a third party tool or an outside marketing agency, or even if it’s all done in house, you need to make sure that the people who are seeing that information are covered under your HIPAA policies and procedures so that they can see that information along with any software tool. Even if you store it in Excel. Microsoft does have a business associate agreement that you can sign and that’ll help you kind of help bring you in into the HIPAA compliant world.

But if you have any questions about that, we do have a companion Healthcare Marketing Rx video, specifically around making sure that your reviews management system is HIPAA compliant because it’s not always so obvious.

Thank you for watching this. Our library of Healthcare Marketing Rx videos is growing. Come back to our website to find out more.