Unless your office is regularly asking for feedback online, your reviews will come in two flavors: terrible or awesome. It is important to implement office protocols that encourage patients who are moderately happy to write reviews. Their feedback will provide balance; without which, a couple of angry patients can alter how your practice is perceived online.
Getting Positive Reviews
Asking patients for reviews can be frustrating. Some patients may try to write you a review and not be able to figure it out. If you keep pressing them, they may become irritated. Most doctors find the process uncomfortable as well. There is no course in medical school—to our knowledge—that trains doctors on how to ask for reviews. But if there were, the cheat sheet would state the best way to ask for reviews is to ask for “feedback online.” It is natural for a doctor’s office to ask patients for feedback. What’s needed is a way to send patients with positive feedback online to write reviews.
If you do not already send out surveys, you can send patient feedback letters. Here is a snippet from a feedback letter that EMPATHIQ doctors send to their patients:
If we did not meet all of your expectations, please call or email PERSON / TITLE at ###-###-#### or EMAIL@EMAIL.COM. We are eager to listen to your feedback and resolve any problems that you may have.
If you are satisfied with our service, we would appreciate if you took a few moments to share your experience with others by writing an online review. Your endorsement is vital to our success and will help other patients make informed decisions.
Do Not Do It On Your Computer
Encourage patients to leave feedback on their mobile devices or home computers. One sure-fire way to have your reviews deleted is to let patients write reviews from a computer in your office. Even though left by different patients in your office, a website will perceive all the reviews as coming from the same person. Online review websites do everything possible to delete reviews left by the same person. There are two factors that the websites use to determine if a review is being sent from the same person:
- The IP address
- The cookie on the browser
Each computer in your office is likely to have the same public IP address. No matter which computer the patient uses, it will appear as if they are the same person. Even if you can rotate the IP address, websites will look at other factors like the cookies on the browser to determine if the reviews are coming from the same device. Unless you regularly clear your cookies, the website will suspect all your reviews are from the same person and will remove them.
Fortunately, there are more efficient ways to get reviews. You can still get reviews in your office. Just ask patients to use their smart phones.
Even more patients have email at home where it is easy to click a link to write a review. EMPATHIQ clients can easily promote reviews through email by integrating their Review Link (www.drstars.com) into their patient reminder or electronic medical records system. After each appointment, patients are emailed the doctor’s Review Link. The Review Link pre-screens patients before sending them online to write reviews. A variety of questions are asked to measure quality of care. Dissatisfied patients are directed to your patient advocate or practice administrator to resolve their concerns. Patients who are satisfied are sent online to write you a review.
Get Many Positive Reviews
In our opinion, Review Link is the simplest way to integrate online reviews into your existing feedback process. If you do not already have a feedback process, you can build one around Review Link by printing a stack of feedback forms and giving them to patients as they leave. This technique is covered in Dr. Reviews 100, a course that has helped many EMPATHIQ clients increase their positive reviews.
Some services exist which allow patients to write down their reviews. The service transcribes the review and posts it online. While this may be legal, it is frowned upon by review websites who may take reviews down after discovering they were not left directly by patients. Even if the reviews are not taken down, there are extra costs associated with the work involved of getting these reviews posted. The path of least resistance (and cost) is to use Review Link to send patients online with their own devices.
Review Link follows the path of least resistance and therefore helps you increase your online reviews with minimal cost, starting at $1.66 per day for a practice. Here is how the technology works:
- Dr. David Engel sends patients his Review Link (www.drstars.com/Engel).
- Patients complete a quick pre-screening survey. If a patient is happy, she is asked to write a public review about Dr. Engel.
- The patient is routed directly into the “write a review” section of a website where Dr. Engel needs a review.
One way to indirectly encourage positive reviews is to respond to all of your reviews. Patients occasionally mail ‘thank you’ letters to doctors. If those patients see that you respond to your online reviews, they may opt to write you a review instead of a letter. Even patients who don’t normally send physical mail may write you a review in hopes that you respond with appreciation.
Benefit From Filtered Yelp Reviews
The final advanced treatment is a tactic that Dr. S. took after trying in vain to get positive reviews to stick on Yelp. (The doctor sent happy patients to Yelp to write reviews, but all were filtered.) Dr. S. had his webmaster create a page on his website where he posted all his positive reviews. He updated his Yelp listing to link to the positive reviews on his site. Patients who visit Dr. S’s website from Yelp now see his positive reviews in one place. Dr. S. knew that his negative reviews were not a secret; patients will find them. What he wanted was a way for patients to see the good reviews so they would not give up after reading his Yelp profile.
At EMPATHIQ, we’re experts in conventional and advanced treatments for online reviews. We work exclusively with health providers. We have clients in nearly every specialty and every size of practice. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about your online reviews if you call us at (866) 407-6020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.