Patient reviews are a vital part of building your new patient base and establishing your Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT) for search engine optimization. Positive reviews provide reliable feedback from real patients, which entices potential new patients to make an appointment with you. Additionally, Google views a practice that regularly gets positive reviews as a trusted business. Finally, you’ll have feedback about what your practice does well, and can pinpoint areas where you may need to improve.
To set up a regular patient review program for your practice, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Designate a Reviews Ambassador
First, identify one person in your practice who will serve as your Reviews Ambassador. This person will handle the management of your reviews acquisition program, including helping patients who have questions and working with your external marketing team (should you have one) about the reviews process.
Your Reviews Ambassador could be your practice manager, front desk person, hygienist or another team member who is comfortable with technology and likes to use Google, Facebook, Twitter, Healthgrades and other online outlets. Make sure your staff is aware of who is the Reviews Ambassador, and knows who they should go to if they or a patient has any questions about online reviews.
Step 2: Set a goal for the number of reviews you want to earn each month
Set your practice and staff up for success by setting a sustainable goal for a number of reviews. If you’re a smaller practice who’s just starting to focus on online reviews, take this into consideration and give yourself some time to build momentum with reviews.
Likewise, if you’re a larger practice that regularly gets reviews online, don’t be afraid of a more ambitious goal. Building a solid review program takes time, so always keep this in mind while strategizing.
Step 3: Conduct a practice review audit.
To create the best review strategy for your practice, first consider what you’re doing well and where you need to improve with your current strategy. Evaluate anything you do that works for your patient base, and look for areas where you can tailor your ideas for more success.
For your audit, work with your practice manager and your reviews ambassador to answer the following questions:
- How are you currently generating your reviews?
- How current are the reviews?
- Where are the reviews showing up? (Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, etc.)
- Are you sharing your reviews on key sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.?
- Are you currently responding to reviews?
If you work with an external marketing team, share this data with them as well and ask for insight during the audit process.
Step 4: Request Reviews
For best results, utilize different review initiatives for your practice and see which one works best for your patients and target clientele. Common review initiatives dental practices use are:
- If you have an integrated email program in place (i.e., SmileReminder, DemandForce, LH360, etc.), check your automated settings and turn on the options to send a review request after each patient visit, auto-send Google review requests and other engagement options.
- If you do not have an integrated email program, register at AllReviewSites.com to create a dedicated review request option.
- Set up this option through your email program if you have it, or through Allreviewsites.com.
- Utilize a tablet and ask patients to review the practice upon check-in. They can leave a review while they wait for your team to see them.
- Ask patients to review the practice from their smartphone when they check-in at the front desk, or when they are in the chair if there is a wait time.
- You can either direct patients to a specific site where they can leave a review, or use a QR code on a flyer at your desk.
Step 5: Discuss the review program with your entire staff.
The cooperation of your team is essential for the success of your review campaign strategy. Talk about the campaign’s purpose and each person’s role in achieving your goal during staff meetings or morning huddles. You should also post your goals in the break room and discuss them regularly with all team members.
Incentivizing your team to help meet the goal is also an option. Running an internal promotion to reward the person who gets the most reviews is a common and successful incentive. Discuss the promotion with the team when rolling out the campaign. Some incentive ideas include a $100 gift card to the team member with the most positive reviews, or a group lunch if the goal is reached.
Step 6: Get personal. Ask family and friends to review the practice, if they are patients.
Don’t underestimate the power of those close to you! Send your friends and family an email requesting they review your practice, post it on your personal Facebook or send a text. A little outreach to someone you love goes a long way.
You can also regularly request your practice’s Facebook followers leave a review, too. Talk to your social media person about making this part of your strategy.
Step 7: Actively seek reviews from all patients.
To keep your review database fresh, use these three tactics to generate new patient reviews.
- Send out quarterly email blasts. Pull a list of your active patients and send out a large email blast requesting reviews about the patients’ last experience at your office.
- At the front desk. When a patient checks in at the front desk, ask them to review the practice on Google from their cell phone if they have a Gmail address.
- In the chair. If the patient compliments the Dr., hygienist or assistant, this is a great time to say, “Thank you for the compliment! Would you like to review us on Google?” If the patient does not have a Gmail address, they can review the practice on Facebook, Healthgrades or your website if you have a review aggregation program.
Step 8: Email or text patients after an appointment and ask for a review.
Target your patients while their experience is fresh in their mind. A patient is more likely to leave a review if you send them a request for feedback the same day as their appointment.
Step 9: Repeat each month!
Practice and patience makes perfect in the world of review management. Like SEO and pay-per-click advertising, it can take a while to fully see the impact of your efforts with reviews. However, maintaining a consistent schedule and strategy will lead to increases and success for your practice, both with patients and Google.
Manage Your Reviews
It is critical to monitor your reviews and respond, both to positive and negative reviews. This can be a time-consuming task, especially if you have a small office staff or receive mass amounts of reviews each month. You’ll have to choose the best option for your practice: Managing reviews by yourself and responding to them on a weekly basis, or looking for a program or agency that manages this process for you.
Have a Question or Need Help With Reviews?
For a quick reference guide of these steps, use our How to Build a Patient Review Program for Your Practice downloadable worksheet on our Marketing Resources page.
Keep in mind, though — the steps above are simplified. Developing a strong, strategic review program can be challenging and require the help of professionals. If you are already a client of Whiteboard Marketing, you’re always welcome to give us a call at (614) 665-6151 or email us at email@example.com and we will provide insight as needed.