I don’t usually do this, but let’s get theoretical for a second. Every satisfied patient should bring you more patients, right? Ideally word-of-mouth would do all the work – your happy patients would refer their friends and family, who in turn would become patients.
But what if you’re not quite at that stage? What if you have no internal referral system set up, and no follow-up with existing patients that gets them to pay, stay, and refer? That’s when the next best thing needs to happen – every happy patient can influence potential patients.
Short of having your patients deliver more patients to your door, the best thing is for your current patients to sway potential ones by writing great reviews about your practice. Without online reviews, it’s hard for people to pick you over your competitors. Plus, without reviews you’re far less likely to outrank your competitors on Google.
The bottom line is you need to ask each and every happy patient for an online review. But how do you do it without being a pest?
This is often where even the smartest practice owners, the ones who know how important online reviews are, get stuck. They’re not sure how to ask patients or how to show them what to do, so the 5-Star reviews never get posted. Fortunately, you’ve got options – 13 of them.
I know of 13 ways you can get reviews that patients either write directly on your Google Places page (aka Google reviews), or write through third-party sites such as Yelp and CitySearch. It doesn’t matter how much time you have, or how many patients you have, or how computer-savvy your patients are, at least some of these methods will work for your practice.
13 ways to get online reviews
- Organic method – Make sure your practice is listed on as many third-party sites as possible so that patients can find you if they feel like writing a review.
- Links or clickable images on your site – This is something patients can click on at your website in order to write reviews.
- Single-page handouts – A sheet of instructions you can hand to patients that walks them through how to post a review.
- Personal email – A simple email with a polite request and a link. But for Pete’s sake, personalize it. None of that “Dear Valued Patient” garbage. You can also do this with your email signature. Instead of a bunch of fluff at the bottom of your emails, include a little link where patients can dash off a quick review.
- Autoresponder email – If you have patients on an email list through a service such as DemandForce or Smile Reminders, you can have an email request go out automatically.
- Snail-mail request/instructions – People generally pay more attention to snail-mail, especially if it’s personalized and from a practice they know and like. This method is a bit of work, but you’ll probably do well if you choose to use it.
- Video – A short walk-through for patients who you think would rather watch a quick video than follow other types of instructions.
- Social media – In particular, Facebook. What’s nice is that patients can write CitySearch reviews using their Facebook username.
- QR code on a postcard – Give patients a little postcard that asks them to review you by scanning a QR code with their smartphones. The QR code contains a link to your Google Places page, your InsiderPages listing, or elsewhere.
- QR code as a sticker or decal – The sticker or decal can go anywhere in your office or store, and patients can scan it with their smartphones to review you on the spot.
- Phone call – This is a bit old-fashioned but effective with the right kind of patient.
- A little gift for patients – A fridge magnet, or a free pad of paper with your logo and phone number on it with a request to leave you a quick review can work wonders. The gift has to be something people will actually use, keep on their desk, and see every day. It’s a subtle but persistent reminder.
- Ask reviewers to write through a variety of sites – If you know for a fact a patient wrote you a Yelp review, ask the person to also write you an InsiderPages review. There are no rules against it. In fact, the review sites themselves share reviews. I suggest you do this only with really close, loyal patients who don’t mind spreading the good word.
These methods are not mutually exclusive, nor do you have to pick one or just a few. You can use as many of these ideas as you’d like. In fact, it’s best if you use a variety of these ideas so that you get reviews on a variety of sites, and so you can determine what works best for you and your patients.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get 5-Star Google reviews and protect your practice and your hard-earned revenue go to http://localsearchfordentists.co/