Today, we’re going to talk about solicitation. No, not that kind (get your mind out of the gutter—jeez). I’m talking about soliciting your clients for reviews. Why? Because online reviews are critical—now more than ever before—to the success of your business. If you really want to broaden your patient base and increase your revenue, you’ll need a strategy for getting your current and former patients to sing your praises publicly, so pay attention. (Yes, this will be on the test.)
Ask and You Shall Receive
This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: if you want something, ask for it. At the end of a great appointment—or at discharge, when a patient has successfully completed an entire treatment plan—tell your client how important he or she is to your business, and then ask if he or she would be willing to leave an online review of your clinic. It might seem pushy at first, but don’t let that stop you. Online reviews are part of the modern marketing norm (just think about how many times you use reviews to pick a restaurant, a dry cleaner, or a hair salon). In fact, your clients might even expect you to request their feedback. (And you don’t want to let them down, do you?)
Pick and Choose
Before you get trigger-happy and start asking every single patient to write a review, let’s take a step back. You want your reviews to be as positive as possible, right? To help ensure your review spaces are filled with favorable remarks from happy clients, be sure to reach out only to those clients who have specifically expressed pleasure with or gratitude for their progress and/or results. Know of patients who’ve already given you word-of-mouth referrals by lauding your skills to their friends and family? Ask them to share the love online, too. The more clinic reviews filled with rainbows and butterflies you can accrue, the better.
Take it Easy
The folks who have something negative to say will find a way to spew their venom regardless of how difficult or time-consuming the review-posting process is. But most of your satisfied clients simply won’t go out of their way to share their experiences. So, what’s a PT to do? Make it easy for patients to leave reviews. Put direct links to all your review profiles—including your own clinic website—in easy-to-see and easy-to-access locations, like your website, business cards, and email signature, especially if you email appointment reminders or post-session thank-you messages.
Don’t Worry, Be Appy
So, you’re using the ol’ review site standbys like Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, and LinkedIn—and that’s great! But you can’t rely on them exclusively. We live in a society in which phones aren’t merely an accessory, but a staple of life—and that means you simply can’t afford not to engage your clients on social media, particularly if the majority of your patient base is under 30 years of age. These folks tend to spend a lot of time over-sharing on social media. To make sure they tell all their friends about their experience with your practice, you need to have a clinic Facebook page, Twitter account, and Google+ profile—at minimum. (Fretting about time management? Check out this post for help, and remember, it’s more important that you exist on these sites than it is for you to constantly post new stuff.)
Did you take notes? I hope so, because the real test is putting these tips into action. Think about how you can apply our suggestions to your own practice, and then get out there and start nurturing the garden of online reviews your clinic needs to grow. Have your own suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments below.