I recently met with a new client of ours; a very successful pediatric dentist with a thriving practice. I have learned a lot from this client about how to successfully run a practice, but one thing stuck out to me more than anything else…
Upon reviewing his website, I noticed that he had over 100 5-star Google reviews (the Gold of marketing). He also commented that Google had recently removed an additional 100 of his 5-star reviews (for what reason we’re not sure).
Then I asked the million-dollar question: “How did you get your patients to give you so many reviews?”
I loved the simplicity of his two-part answer. He said: “We work hard to give our patients the best experience possible, and then we ask them.”
The first part of his answer is the most important – actually giving your patients the kind of experience they can tell their friends about. This is obvious. Everyone knows that you need to give your patients amazing service to be an experience worth telling about.
This VIP-level service is something you should talk about frequently in your office. The ideas on how to do this don’t have to be yours. In fact, the best-implemented ideas may not be yours, but will come from your team. You need to be the one though to ask the question again and again and again: “What can we do better to deliver an exceptional experience to our patients?” And “how are we doing on delivering an exceptional experience to our patients?” And “what can we improve on to deliver an exceptional experience to our patients?” You get the point.
The second part of his answer – asking people to refer you or to write Google Reviews – is less obvious, but just as important if you’re going to actually get reviews.
Many doctors erroneously think that if the patients are happy, they will write reviews on their own. Although some patients will, most will not. There is a percentage of people who find great joy in linking people together and writing reviews—these people are referred to as “connectors.” They build their own self-worth and identity by referring you to a friend or writing about you on Google. Unfortunately, this percentage of the population is small.
Likewise, there are others who will never refer you, no matter how well you serve them. These patients would rather pay double for your services than to have to talk about you to their friends or write a review online. These can be great, loyal patients. But if you sense that this is their personality, I recommend you leave them alone.
Then there is the rest of the population – likely the majority of the patients you see. If they are happy with the service you provide and they will refer if you ask them.
So how do you ask? I asked this question to the expert, our client who dominates the Google Reviews in his city. He told me that he feels uncomfortable asking for reviews and he is often too busy for this conversation. So he trained his front desk employee on what to say:
Front Office: “How was your visit today Mrs. Jones?”
Mrs. Jones: “Excellent, thank you.”
Front Office: “That is very encouraging to hear. Would you be willing to write a Google review for us?”
Keep it simple, easy, and not awkward.
As we have discussed this idea with our clients, some of them have adamantly stated that they would never ask their patients to write a Google review. They, themselves, have the personality that would never make a recommendation or write a review and they are petrified of making their patients feel awkward. I can understand this perspective, but be warned that if you don’t ask, the majority of your patients will never refer you or write reviews for you online. That’s not my opinion; it’s a simple fact of human behavior.
Positive web reviews can significantly drive more business to your practice. Set and adhere to your VIP-level service standards within your practice and don’t be afraid to ask your patients to share their great experience.