The Ultimate Ophthalmic Marketing Guide
Chapter 2: Review
CHAPTER TWO - REVIEW
The second R strategy is Review – specifically, reviews for your physicians. This is analogous to practice reputation. Individual physicians also must maintain five-star reviews, distinct from those for the practice, because patients don’t talk only about your practice; they talk about the doctor.
There are sites specifically designed for rating physicians: Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMDs, to name a few. But there are also other important sites such as Google My Business which have a place for reviews, in addition to including a simple profile or bio.
And, just as with practice reputation, your process for getting physician reviews needs to include a way to predict whether any request for a review will get you a great review or not. What we emphasize with our clients is how they should “read” a patient’s inclination to leave a glowing review rather than a negative one.
Reputation Marketing Machine
We have developed a way to virtually (and ethically) assure that the good reviews are captured, using a process that begins by asking one question, “The Ultimate Question” (see below). Based on their answer to this question, patients are automatically directed to an intelligent process where they can voice any concerns regarding their experience (which gives you an opportunity to address those concerns) or, if they are likely to refer you, where they can be asked to provide a review.
The process starts by having the physician ask one simple question to their patient: “Would you be open to giving me feedback on today’s visit?” Patients who say yes are then sent an email that triggers a process designed to capitalize on great experiences and quickly address unpleasant ones. The email directs them to a page with the question “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend me to your friends and family?”
This question is famous. It is known as “The Ultimate Question.” Although it sounds simple, it is the basis for what is known as the Net Promoter Score. It was originally put forward by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company and is used by several Fortune 500 companies (Harvard Business Review, 2003, “One Number You Need to Grow”). The strategy behind this key question is that, based on the number that they answer with, you will decide whether to invite them to leave a review or not.
Studies have shown that people who leave a score of 9 or 10 are highly likely to actively recommend the business to someone else (promoters). A score of 7 or 8 is typically a neutral one. And people who give a score of 6 or less are likely to leave a negative review or to actively recommend against the business (detractors).
The question stands alone. It reveals customers’ loyalty. It is not a satisfaction survey, but it reveals how willing they are to promote you to others. Promoting you is an action. Satisfaction is a feeling that may or may not indicate the likelihood of taking that action. If patients give you a 9 or a 10, you follow up by asking, “Could I trouble you to leave me a review at one of these online sites?” (with links to your profile page).
If their answer is 8 or below, you may have some work to do. Let’s say they give you a 7 or an 8 (neutral). This means they could give you a three-star review – not a great thing. You might want to ask them, “What would it take for us to move to a 10?” When they answer, you’ll be instantly informed of the process that you need to focus on in your practice to change their experience – maybe the way the phone was answered, or how long they had to wait before seeing the doctor, or the manner in which the doctor dealt with them. When they give a score of 7 or 8, this is an opportunity for you to tweak an experience on your side that may move another patient into the 9 or 10 range.
If you receive a score that is anything less than 7 (1 through 6), this almost guarantees a one- or two-star review. Anything less than four stars isn’t usually perceived by prospective patients as a good thing. If you have a response this low, you really have some major corrections to do. It isn’t just enough to say, “What would it take to move us to a 10?” It’s time to drill down into the root cause of their personal reason for giving this score to you.
The reputation system begins with collecting reviews and patient feedback. As treated in this guide, the separation of reputation and reviews is a decision based on the idea that your practice, as an entity, needs reviews for each location and that individual physician reviews are of equal importance. Each has its own place in the 7R Pyramid. In both cases, the process for collecting reviews is the same. What changes is the review site patients who are likely to refer you are asked to visit. Reputation building is as simple as handing out a tablet with a feedback request form to the patient at the end of their visit where they enter their name and email. This captures their contact info into a marketing database. You simply say, “Would you give us/me your feedback?” If they say yes, an email is immediately sent with a link to a page that presents the Net Promoter Score question: “How likely are you to recommend Dr. Jones to a friend or family member?” Once they select their number, there’s branching logic in the system to take them to the next step. If they left a score of 9 or 10, it will direct them to a review site. If it’s a very low score, it will automatically send an email with an apology for such an unhappy, unpleasant, or questionable experience. The system will then forward their information to your designated manager or patient coordinator to reach out to them.
Note: be sure to check with the latest terms of the search engines so that you are not accused of "review gating," where dissatisfied patients are not afforded the opportunity to leave a negative review.
Think about the way that you ask for reviews (if you ask at all). Think about physicians’ reviews being as important as practice reviews, and set up two separate processes for getting reviews for both.
You cannot prevent a dissatisfied patient from leaving a bad review and you cannot ethically remove bad reviews. But with the right review system, it’s like “cutting ’em off at the pass” before a dissatisfied patient has broadcast their thoughts about their experience with your practice. It also encourages satisfied patients to leave positive reviews.
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