Ultimate Guide to Encourage Patients to Leave Positive Reviews
Attention. Acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.
Do you know the internet is the number 1 source of information where patients look for information about hospitals and doctors? Surpassing recommendations from friends and family since 2017.
So you understand how important it is. Yet, you can’t get rid of the icky feeling of asking a review.
Or, it is simply too much work to add to your already busy schedule.
I understand these little speed bumps.
No worries. You are at the right place. This article will guide you to build a process to encourage your patients to leave positive reviews and boost your visits.
Why online review matters
If you still need a bit more numbers to convenience yourself, I found the following report helpful.
- 72% of respondents use internet to obtain healthcare information
- 53% have spoken to doctors about what they found on internet
Other than numbers, why not build trust and understanding before patients visit you? Good quality and amount of previous or current patient’s reviews will definitely help potential patients know you before the visit.
How to ask a review without feeling bad
You feel just odd or weird to ask for a review. I understand. You are not alone. I feel you.
Ask yourself. When you receive an excellent service at any business, don’t you spread the words out? So does your acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine patients.
When they receive great care from you, they would love to let more people know their experience.
Here are three timings that would make the conversation flow naturally.
Start with asking how their experience about your practice
It is natural for you to ask how your patients feel since last visit. How about extending a question to how they are experiencing your practice?
For one moment, forget you are a practitioner. Imagine you are a patient. What are the touch points before visiting the clinic to complete the treatment?
Here are a few examples.
How’s the reservation process?
Is the front desk friendly and helpful?
Do you feel comfortable in our waiting area/treatment room?
Do you have enough information about your herbal medicine and how it works?
Is there anything we can do differently to help you to recover better?
You get the picture. Just imagine you are receiving a service. What you would like to tell the service provider?
Ask when you receive a praise
Sometimes the opportunity just presents itself to you. When the patients say something great about your practice, that’s the best timing to ask them.
Could you leave a review for our practice? That would help us a lot!
Ask whether your patient leave reviews for great services
Another way to lead the conversation naturally is to ask them whether your patients leave reviews for services they receive while visiting a shop, restaurant, oil change, etc.
If you patients say yes, you can ask them to do so for your practice.
Decide where you want your reviews to be
This is an important decision to make before you take any actions. You need to lead your patients to a place to leave a review. Where do you want to show the reviews?
Here are three different types of websites you can show your reviews. There are pros and cons of each type.
Your own website
As it is your own platform, it is the easiest to control which reviews to show and where these reviews appear on your website.
Since you have better control over the content, here is one major downside.
Potential patients must visit your website to see those reviews. If they are only on Google Maps or Facebook, not your website, They won’t see your stellar reviews.
Such as your business Facebook page, youtube channel, etc. Compared with your own website, your potential patients can view these reviews with one less step.
They don’t need to go to your website. They might just search on Facebook, find you, and read reviews right on there.
If you want reviews on social media, remember to visit your social media often to see what reviews are left. If the reviews reflect certain areas you need to improve, address those heads on. Provide facts and what you did to improve.
Such as Yelp, Google Maps, Angie’s List etc. Different platforms might have different guidelines on leaving a review and replying to a review. You need to be on top of the game and response.
As most of these platforms act like aggregators, you might be head to head comparing with other acupuncturists and traditional chinese medicine practitioners.
Also, in a list of many practitioners, you might not be in the top positions. It might take your potential patients a few more clicks to find you.
3 ways to ask for a review
In general, there are three different ways to ask for a review. In person, by email, or by traditional paper. You will see all three ways in detail.
We cover how to avoid icky feelings above. Here we will cover a few best timings to ask for a review in person.
Reception/Front Desk encounter
If you are the person who makes a reservation at the end of the treatment, it might be a great time to strike a conversation on how your patient feels.
If it is a positive feedback, you can naturally say, “ Would you mind leaving the positive review on our website?”
If it is your front desk staff making reservations, train them to nicely generate a conversation and ask for review.
Ending a treatment
It is a great time to have a natural chat about how your patient feels at the end of the treatment. And you need to remember to ask for a review.
If you communicate with your patients often and well via emails, it could be a very convenient media to seek reviews.
- Email Blast to previous patients
When you first start gathering for review, it might be worth your time to send all your previous patients an email. You can start telling them why you need their feedback and how this will help you.
- In your email signature
You probably forget you have a valuable email property. That’s your email signature. It is a subtle way to prompt your patients to take action.
The response rate for email is about 6%-8%. Thus, your email signature might get similar rates.
- Visit reminder
If you send an email to remind an appointment, it might also be a great opportunity to lead your patients to leave a quick review for you.
If you prefer traditional paper and pen, you can definitely use traditional paper and pen to ask for review.
- Appointment card
If you use an appointment card at your clinic, why not print some of them to seek review. Direct your patients to the media you want them to leave a review. Or simply ask them to write on a note to leave it to your front desk.
- Take home instruction
If you provide take home instructions on home care or how to take medicine etc, here is another good opportunity to utilize.
- Snail mail
Remember our email blast. You can do so in traditional snail mail too. If you want to save time, you can print out postcards.
If you want to be more personal and have a higher open rate, a handwritten note usually will have 90% plus open rate.
Also, a handwritten note shows your sincerity. Sincerity creates goodwill and carries out a great review.
Build a Process to collection reviews
Alright, you learn so much about getting reviews. It is time to put it into a process and make it simple for you to stay on top of it.
There are two folds in who.
First is who you are going to ask for a review. Would you ask everyone in the past? Or just to start doing so today and ask all patients who finish a treatment?
There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on what you want to achieve. If you’ve been practicing for a while and want to jump start your review appeal. Reach out to all your previous patients.
If you want to take it steady, nothing wrong with starting with current patients and building it up.
Second is who in the practice is going to initiate the ask. If you are the solo-practitioner, yes, you will be the person to take the initiative. If you have a front desk, they could be the person who reaches out. Either way, remember to coordinate between your efforts and avoid being too pushy.
You learn a few best timings to ask in person or subtly through take home instruction. You are in control of what one or two ways work the best for your patients and your practice.
To begin with, just start simple. Don’t make it overwhelming for yourself.
Give any method a solid 6 months. You can always change.
There are so many places your reviews can be shown online. To start with, it would also be great to focus on either your website or one social media or one review site.
Choose one platform and guide your patients there. You don’t need to stick with one platform forever. If compared with similar practice in a similar area or size, you have a good amount of review. Guide your patients to a different platform to leave reviews.
Remember, it is your practice. You are in control.
- How to deal with not so positive review
You do everything you can to help out a patient. You believe you will get a stellar review.
The truth is occasionally you will receive a not so stellar review.
If it is on your own website, you can decide your own editing and removing rules.
If it is on social media or a review website, the general rule of thumb is to reply with facts. If you are too emotional to reply with fact, don’t feel compelled to answer immediately.
Type down your reply in draft. Look at it again the next day with the original review and your reply.
If the not so great review reflects some areas you can do better, you can share what you will do differently in the future.
Also, remember, it is natural you have some non five star reviews. It is normal and real. Focus on what you can do. That’s the incoming current patient.
If the review is on your own website, please bear HIPAA compliance in mind. Leave personal details offline.
- Adjust your review process accordingly
The parting though is this is your practice, your review, and your process. In one way, it is to allow more people to know your practice and come in.
More importantly, the review process needs to work for you. It does not hurt to try out a few platforms and ways to collect reviews. And adjust the process to make it your own.
Wish you to grow your practice your way!