There is a simple principle to apply when you want someone to help you out–make it as easy as possible for them to do so, and the number of people who do it will increase exponentially.
For example, when the Red Cross was raising money for Haiti after the hurricane, they made it possible for people to simply send a text that would charge their phone bill. They raised $5 million in the first day! Just because it was easy.
One of the best ways to raise money for a charity is to ask people in the checkout line at the grocery store if they want to add a dollar for breast cancer research, feeding the homeless, or whatever cause is supported at the time. It’s a tap of the finger, and it yields millions, one buck at a time.
The same is true for patient reviews. Most of your patients are more than willing to do one if you ask them, but the easier you make it, the more likely they are to get it done. The less steps involved, the higher the percentage will complete (this is true of just about everything, now that I think of it!)
Okay, how? First, remember the four key places you want reviews to appear: your website, Google, Yelp and Facebook. And with Google, and I believe with Yelp, patients cannot do those reviews from any device in your office, including their own if they’re using your office WiFi, because Google and Yelp will discard them. (Yelp has other filters, too, and this post talks about that.)
The easiest way is for a patient to be able to click on a hyperlink (you know, when the text is blue rather than black in an email, or this blog) that takes them straight to your Google Place or your Yelp page. Obviously you need to have claimed those already. (If you haven’t, despite my nagging, read this for Google or this for Yelp.)
To do this, you need to have patient emails. This is one of the two main reasons you want all your patients’ email addresses. The other is for appointment reminders, of course. Then you use your automated digital communication software to send a specific email requesting a review. For Google, you would only send this email to patients who have a gmail address, because they are the only ones that Google allows to do reviews.
PatientActivator and some the other apps have a pre-written email form that you can use, and all you have to do is put in your Google or Yelp URL (and we’d help you with that, too.) It looks like this:
Send a few dozen of these out a week, and you’ll have a steady stream of reviews on both those sites.
You can use the same application to email requests for posts, likes and check-ins on Facebook, but I prefer that you do that in the office. You can either have a tablet that you have for patients to use while in the chair, with a label on the front with your Facebook location, (you can get really nice ones done at www.skinit.com), or you can simply ask them to do it on their own phone. Half of them will already be on Facebook anyway 😉
PatientActivator, RevenueWell and all the other apps also survey your patients and elicit reviews from them, usually three days after their visit. You can post these reviews on Facebook, usually with one click, and if you have a good dynamic website like we build with WebDirector, those reviews can appear automatically in your website, which is good for both SEO and for patients visiting your site.
You can also build in a page where your Yelp reviews appear within your website. That may seem crazy, but you don’t want people leaving your website to go to Yelp, which many of them will do to see what your reviews are. It shows confidence that you are willing to post your unvarnished Yelp reviews right there in your own website, and then they won’t go to Yelp and see adds for 13 other dentists at the same time.
I should also mention that a product like ReputationMonitor allows you to keep close track of everything that is being said about your practice online, and can send you alerts whenever a review is written about you, so you can either thank the patient or fix it, depending on what it says.
You need a pro-active, systematic process for gathering positive reviews on a regular basis. One, because people are definitely reading them more and more for every business and product that they use, and two, because the best strategy to counter negative reviews is an overwhelming number of positive ones.
Make it as easy as possible, and the results will be steady and stellar!
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