How To Ask For Patient Reviews Without Being PushyPosted: November 18, 2022 - By Health Dev
A 2020 study found that 77% of people use online reviews to find a new physician. Therefore, patient reviews are instrumental for your medical practice.
But how to ask for patient reviews without coming off as too pushy or salesy? After all, these people are already worried about their health, and you don’t want to bother them more.
Below, we discuss some reasonable ways to get patient feedback without seeming pushy.
Why Are Patient Reviews Critical for Your Medical Practice?
When you run a medical practice, a lot goes into ensuring you generate revenue and increase patient engagement. One of the best methods of healthcare marketing is getting reviews from your existing patients.
Here are some reasons patient feedback as to why is essential for your medical practice.
Negative Reviews Identify Improvement Areas
Patient experiences give physicians insight into what areas they may need to focus on to improve patient satisfaction. They also allow you to see how well your staff is handling patients and if any changes in training or procedures need to be made.
For instance, if you get negative feedback, you can identify the root cause and make the necessary changes. Similarly, if you get positive feedback, you can understand what’s working well and replicate that throughout your practice.
Public or Online Reviews Can Generate Exposure in Search Engines
Google and other search engines use reviews as a ranking factor — so the more positive reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank on search engines.
High ranking is crucial because it allows you to be more visible to prospective patients looking for a new healthcare provider.
Positive Reviews Lead To an Increase in Potential Patients
Prospective patients are more likely to choose a medical practice that has positive reviews. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews the same way they would trust a personal recommendation. Meanwhile, 68% of consumers form an opinion after they read one to six online reviews.
Positive reviews also reduce patient leakage. This is a measure of the patients that leave your practice for another provider. Review management can help you keep your existing patients and attract new ones.
Likewise, you can identify gaps in patient care by asking specific questions. For example, you can find out why patients left your practice and what you could’ve done to keep them.
Did they have a problem booking an appointment online? Was the receptionist not helpful enough? Knowing the specifics can help you narrow in on the problem and resolve it promptly.
How You Can Improve Your Patient Review Requests
Many physicians want to know how to get patient feedback without bombarding their patients with requests. When a patient comes into your medical practice, they’re obviously already under some stress.
The last thing you want to do is make them uncomfortable by asking for a review right after their appointment. So what else can you do to get honest feedback from your patients? Here are six tips.
1. Reach Out To Loyal Patients First
If you want transparent patient feedback, your first step should be identifying your most loyal patients. These are the ones who will be more inclined to give you an honest opinion about their experience with your medical practice.
You can ask your staff to identify these patients or look through your patient records to find those who have been with you the longest. When you identify them, reach out and ask if they wouldn’t mind giving you a review.
A significant benefit of getting reviews from this group is that they’re most likely happy patients. That’s why they keep coming back to you.
If your website or social media pages have positive patient reviews from your loyal clientele, new patients will see that as a good sign and be more likely to book an appointment with you.
2. Try an Online Reputation Management Software
Reputation management constitutes an essential part of any business, and the healthcare industry is no different. Therefore, it’s essential to have a system that allows you to collect feedback from patients and post it where potential new patients can see it.
An online reputation management software will do just that. Here are some benefits of online reputation management and review management software:
- Resolve patient complaints: The sooner you resolve a patient’s complaint, the better. Online reputation management software will help you keep track of negative reviews and allow you to address them quickly.
- Get more positive reviews: In addition to collecting feedback, online reputation management software will also help you increase the number of positive reviews. You can encourage patients to leave a review after their appointment by monitoring your online presence. Some software platforms will even send review requests to patients automatically after their session.
- Increase transparency: The last thing you want is for patients to feel like they’re kept in the dark about their care. Online reputation management software will help you increase transparency and foster better communication with your patients.
3. Ask Patients Who Provide Verbal Positive Feedback in the Moment
The best way to get insight into patient experiences without appearing pushy is to approach patients who share their honest feedback in the moment.
For example, suppose a patient comes in complaining of a toothache, and you successfully relieve their pain. After the treatment, they say this is the most stress-free healthcare experience they’ve ever had. This is your cue to ask more about their experience.
You can ask questions like, “What made this visit different from other healthcare experiences you’ve had?” or “What did you like best about your visit?”
By getting feedback in the moment, you can be sure that it’s honest and accurate. In addition, since this patient has already had a good experience, they’re likely to leave a review for you online, which can help attract future patients.
4. Consider Body Language and Tone When Asking for Patient Feedback in Person
It’s imperative to ensure that you and your staff members come across as genuine when asking patients for feedback. If you seem insincere, they’ll be less likely to respond positively.
To make sure that you come across as sincere, focus on your body language and tone. For example, make good eye contact, smile, and use an upbeat tone.
Remember, the patient may be going through something distressing. Or they may be happily celebrating recent healthcare progress. Either way, your body language and tone should reflect that you care about their current state.
When in doubt, consider how you want to be treated in a healthcare setting. Here are some dos for asking for patient feedback in person:
- Do appear concerned: Patients will likely trust and confide in providers who show they care. So instead of making it seem like you just need their review for your professional reasons, show them that you want to use their feedback to improve the level of patient care you provide them.
- Do wait for the right time: Suppose a patient is waiting for their test results. This isn’t the ideal time to ask how their appointment went or if they’re happy with the care they received. Instead, wait until you’ve given them their results and had a chance to discuss treatment options. Then you can ask if they’re happy with how everything was handled. Likewise, if a patient has just had a child and is celebrating with their family, don’t disturb them by asking for a review.
- Do prepare a patient feedback form: Instead of asking questions verbally, you can conduct a patient feedback survey. Make sure your patient feedback form is short, sweet, and to the point. Patients may get discouraged and quit before completing it if it’s too long.
Here are some don’ts of getting in-person patient feedback:
- Don’t let your emotions show: If a patient is sharing their negative experience, don’t let your emotions show. Instead, listen attentively and respond calmly. This will show the patient that you take their feedback seriously and are willing to make changes.
- Don’t interrupt: Patients should feel like they have the opportunity to share their entire experience without interruption. Otherwise, they may feel like you’re not interested in what they have to say.
5. Always Follow Up With Patients Via Email
While many healthcare providers overlook the importance of follow-up emails, they are essential for getting more online reviews.
Email is an excellent way to connect with patients after their appointment. You can use email to:
- Send patients a thank-you note
- Inquire about their experience
- Ask them to leave a review
When writing a follow-up email, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Follow the recipient’s memory by referencing when they last visited your office. You may also want to include the reason for their appointment.
Example: ”I hope you’re feeling better since your visit last Tuesday.”
Then you can go on to ask them for a review. Providing context does two things. One, it helps the patient remember who you are. Two, it provides a segue into your request for a review.
Your email should offer value to the recipient. Whether it’s a discount on their next visit or access to exclusive content, make sure there’s something in it for them.
Example: ”As a thank-you for being a loyal patient, I wanted to give you a 10% discount on your next visit.”
It always helps to throw in an incentive, as it can increase the likelihood of getting a response.
Keep It Short
The best follow-up emails are short and to the point. No one wants to read a novel, so get to the point and include a call to action.
Example: ”Thank you for being a patient at our practice. We would greatly appreciate it if you could leave a review on Google.”
If you can, try to keep the email under five sentences. The easier it is to read, the more likely people will be to respond.
For instance, you can send automated emails after appointments to ask patients to leave a review on popular platforms. Then, when other people see that patients have had positive experiences at your practice, they’re likely to trust you too.
On the other hand, if you get a negative review, you can use it as a learning point to improve patient care.
Invest in Patient Engagement Technology That Produces Results
If you’re wondering how to ask for patient reviews in the most efficient way possible, it’s time to invest in reputation management technology. Getting positive patient reviews online from happy patients will help you attract future patients, boost SEO, and build trust.
However, efficient review management is only possible if you have reliable online reputation management software.