A common question that I hear from medical and cosmetic practices is: “how do I get more positive online reviews?” With the negativity surrounding some review sites (Yelp), there seems to be a fear of negative reviews that keeps many practices from asking for them.
The first thing you should realize as a medical or cosmetic practice, and as a business in general, is that you cannot please everyone. There will ALWAYS be someone who is unhappy with you no matter what. The key is to teach your staff to set the appropriate expectations and not do business with someone you think will be a pain (although that in itself may result in a negative review)!
My advice is to try to facilitate as many reviews as you can. Focus on Google+ and Yelp, as these tend to rank highest on search engines, but consider RateMDs, HealthGrades and other medical-specific review sites. You can see a comprehensive list of the best medical review sites to be listed on here.
Generating more positive reviews is a challenge, but overcoming this challenge will drastically improve your visibility and your perception online. I’ve broken down the three most effective ways to generate more reviews below:
1) Set up a stand and a stack of postcards at the front desk. In the stand place a one-sheet with both instructions on how to leave a review (a simple url) AND a QR code. The key here is to have the staff member working the front desk not only ask (politely) for patients to leave a review, but also show patients how to use the QR code, if they don’t already know. The postcards will serve as your “leave behind” so that patients can look at it when they get home and write you a review then. Obviously, many patients will throw the postcard away, so the key is to get them to leave a review while they’re in your office using the QR code and their smartphone.
3) Ask the patient directly. This is my personal favorite because it’s so obvious, yet so effective (and often overlooked). Ideally, the doctor, NP, esthetician, or whomever treated the patient should be the one asking for the review, since a relationship has been established.
4) Utilize a tablet-based app. Turbo is currently beta testing an app that’ll allow patients to leave a review of 1 to 5 stars. If the review is 1-3 stars the patient will see a prefabricated message explaining how the practice is sorry they didn’t have the best experience and then asking them for specifics on what they can do to improve. The best part is that these reviews don’t go public! Only those who leave 4 or 5 star review will be able to publicize their reviews. If they select 4 or 5 stars a different screen will pop up, allowing the patient to leave that review on Google+, Yelp or other review sites. Best of all, this app can be utilized from a single tablet, as each patient who uses it is assigned a unique IP address (so no reviews get flagged as spam). If you’d like to learn more about this unique app leave Turbo a message here.
Many practices have expressed concern about these tactics because they fear this could bring out more negative reviews. Well, there’s a chance that could happen. However, people who leave negative reviews often do so right after they’ve had a bad experience. They’re still upset and “in the moment” so they take to social media, so a reminder likely won’t re-stir up anger. Secondly, and more importantly, if you have a well-run practice you should not be fearful of negative reviews. As I said, you’ll still get them, but the positive reviews will far outweigh the negatives.
If you have any additional tactics that your practice (med spa, plastic surgery center, bariatric surgeon, cosmetic dentist, ophthalmology practice, wellness center, etc) has used to encourage more reviews we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a note in the comments section.
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