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Patient Experience & Online Reviews: Are Yours a Match Made in Heaven or Hell? Pt. 3

Patient Experience & Online Reviews / Rankings: Are Yours a Match Made in Heaven or Hell? PART 3

In our first two posts in this series, we looked first at whether online reviews and rankings reflect the patient experience you provide and second what makes for an excellent patient experience. That begs the question and brings us to our topic of this third and final post in the series:

Is excellent patient experience enough to get great reviews and rankings?

For some, it may be. But most likely, it’s not.

Patients who feel they have had a life-saving or life-changing experience due to your practice and the care of your providers, it’s likely that they’ll share their experience. However, it’s quite possible that they may share their experiences offline, in conversations and through stories with friends, family, and colleagues.

According to a 2011 report by Ed Keller and Brad Fay of the Keller Fay Group, Comparing Online and Offline Word of Mouth: Quantity, Quality, and Impact, “About 9 in 10 WOM (word of mouth) conversations about brands occur offline.” But we also know that people and patients are online searching for reviews, experiences, recommendations, etc. So how do we align our human propensity to share and tell stories (typically offline) with our modern propensity to turn to online searches and social media for our research and information?

Simple. It boils down to three simple steps:

  1. Ask
  2. Make it easy
  3. Provide the right tools

Asking your patients to share their experience with others in online reviews and rankings is a great first step. It shows patients that you care about their feedback and believe it would be valuable to others as well. But asking without a clear and specific request isn’t going to get you very far.

If you ask a patient to write a review online and leave it at that, you’ve just wasted your breath, even if you’ve gotten agreement from the patient. The patient has no direction and no next step to fulfill your request. As a result, it won’t happen. You must provide the patient with a clear and specific request, including whether the review is for the provider, the practice, or all of the above and which review site should be used.

Two basic options you could use to accomplish this and make it easy for your staff are:

  1. Create a review card with a specific request and the links that you want patients to visit to leave a review, and hand it to happy patients before they leave the office.
  2. Embed links to your desired review sites in your website, and instruct patients to visit a specific area of your website (the footer, for example) and click whichever review link they want. The links can be in the form of icons for Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and the like, which lead directly to your practice page / profiles, or in the form of call-to-action buttons such as ‘Review Us on Facebook’.

Sure, these can work, but are they ideal?

Not really. They still require patients to do more than just leave a review. They necessitate decisions and sometimes multiple steps, and with each, the likelihood of getting a requested review decreases.

Again, we need to make this as simple as possible for patients. Using a tool specifically designed to capture patient reviews will do just that. As an added bonus, using a review tool will make the review request simpler for office staff, making it more likely they’ll do their part!

A review request tool provides quick and easy way to request and create reviews for staff and patients respectively. With a visit to a simple URL or the sending of a text message, a patient can write a review and have that posted to any number of online profiles, including practice or provider Facebook, Google+, and Yelp pages. It’s streamlined, quick, and takes all of the decision making out – other than what to rank and say, of course.

Dedicated review tools have many added benefits, such as review monitoring and filtering, and resources to capture more and more reviews. If you haven’t used a specific review tool to help you manage your reviews and requests, I recommend looking into it and jumping on board right away. There’s no time to waste, and in my experience, you’ll be happy you did.

That wraps up our series on patient experience and online reviews and rankings. We hope by now you’ll have found some information to turn your match into one made in heaven if it’s been feeling more like a match made in hell.

Learn how EMPATHIQ can help you promote the positive in your practice by scheduling a free demo.

Question: How does your practice ask for reviews, how do you capture it, and how effective would you rate your system on a scale of 1-10? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author:

Ashley Libby Diaz, a brand and marketing strategist and patient experience expert, helps physicians start and grow thriving medical practices by getting their ideal patients walking through the door time and again.

Ashley has a deep relationship with healthcare, a profound appreciation for providers, a unique perspective on medicine, and a keen eye for outstanding patient experiences. She is the principal and founder of The Anca Group, a boutique medical consulting firm, with more than 18 years of healthcare provider and marketing experience and her own personal medical trials. Ashley practiced physical therapy in her early career and became a breast cancer

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