With the popularity of social media, some practices utilize automated platforms that can help automate the customer feedback process, capture testimonials and online reviews for your office. You may prefer to manage this process internally in your office. Either way, follow the best practices below to help improve your online reputation.
Ask everyone for feedback
- Some staff members may feel comfortable only asking specific patients for a review, but being selective could result in missed opportunities for positive feedback.
- You will likely receive negative feedback at some point. People expect to see negative reviews; it humanizes your practice and establishes authenticity. When good service is provided, the positive reviews will organically outweigh the negative. What’s important is how you use feedback moving forward to improve the patient experience.
- Even if the review invites are sent automatically, having a brief conversation with patients will make it more likely that they will engage with your practice and leave a review.
- It can be tough to ask patients for reviews, so it is important to practice to become more comfortable with the concept.-
- Use a script and role-play
- Evaluate patients’ verbal and non-verbal cues
- Find phrasing that feels natural. For example, “We value our patients and would love to see more patients like you. Would you be willing to take five minutes and tell us how we did today?”
- Make it about the patient. A good example would be, “We would appreciate hearing about your experience at our office today — positive or negative. Your feedback is important because it helps us continue to improve patient care.”
Establish a process early if utilizing an online review platform
- Establishing a process early on can help integrate an Online Review Generation (ORG) system into your everyday work.
- Implementing this new process can be a large undertaking when done alone, so working as a team can help make the transition easier.
- Make sure everyone knows their role. Be sure you have the following:
- The leader — The person leading the use of the new process in the office.
- The senders — The people requesting reviews on a daily basis. The most successful process is when back office staff does the primary asking, because they often have the most contact with patients. Empower your back office staff to ask for feedback.
- The backups — The people who can help the main senders and verify if a review invite has been sent to patients. The front office staff can serve as a backup when the back office staff are the primary invite senders, confirming with patients as they leave if they have been asked about leaving a review of their experience.
- The responder — The person who is responsible for the feedback, positive or negative.
Figure out what motivates the team
- Some employees are competitive, so having monthly competitions with small prizes can help motivate the staff and establish the process.
- For some employees, seeing the results of their work can encourage them. Sharing the positive reviews during the morning huddle is a great way to start each day!
- Set a realistic goal for your staff and reward them when that goal is achieved. This will help keep ORG top of mind.
Regularly reevaluate the process
- It is important to assess whether you are generating more reviews. Determine what’s working well, and where you can make improvements. Work with the responder to determine how to improve on the negative feedback. It is also essential to make sure you are in compliance with new laws and regulations related to online reviews.
Responding to reviews
- It is important to monitor all online reviews, but care must be used to maintain patient privacy.
- Responding to a review online could be a violation of HIPAA and state privacy laws.
- For negative reviews, it is recommended to contact the patient offline. When contacting a patient, use the following to guide the conversation:
- Acknowledge their concerns.
- Listen to their feedback.
- Apologize sincerely.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- If appropriate, invite them back.
- Thank them for their feedback.
- Private messages can be used if you can’t identify the patient. If your office is 100 percent willing to resolve the patient’s concerns, this is a suitable option. Use private messages to gain more insight on who the patient is and encourage the patient to call the practice to discuss his or her concerns. Use the same criteria above: acknowledge, listen, apologize, and thank them for the feedback.
- As a last resort, the following language can be used in response to an online post:
- “By responding to this review, I am neither confirming nor denying you are a patient of record in my practice. However, if you would like to discuss your concerns, please call my office directly.”
Never incentivize reviews
Practices should never offer anything in exchange for reviews. Review sites are very strict about this and will penalize businesses for it. California prohibits dentists from offering rewards in exchange for patient referrals, while the Federal Trade Commission has rules concerning the incentivizing of patient reviews