The internet thrives on competition, which means your clinic’s presence in online searches, review sites, and social media shouldn’t be ignored. Luckily, organizations can use physical therapy patient reviews to their advantage. While each review reflects the experience of a single patient, altogether your organization’s reviews can transform your clinic’s customer service and culture.
Here are some ideas on how to transform online patient reviews into actionable improvements for your outpatient rehab therapy organization.
Attract new patients and build trust
Over 83% of patients trust online ratings and reviews of a new doctor more than personal recommendations, according to a study from the National Research Corporation (NRC Health). NRC Health also found equal favor between respondents who read online reviews (47%) and those that received recommendations from doctors (46.8%).
Outpatient rehab therapy organizations rely heavily on their referral network, but not many invest in improving their online presence. But as research has shown, for many patients, online reviews are their first impression of your business and customer service. Patients trust the experience of other patients. And if someone finds your clinic online but only sees negative reviews, your online reputation could be driving away potential new patients.
Unfortunately, if left up to chance, people are far more likely to warn others about a negative experience than they are to celebrate a positive one. Therefore, it’s so important to ask all patients to leave reviews, regardless of their experience.
Hot tips: how to get more reviews
- When should you ask? Depending on your patient mix, you may want to ask after every initial encounter, after follow-ups, or after a patient completes their plan of care. And asking multiple times doesn’t hurt, either—reminders are always helpful. What matters is to ask every patient, so as to get the best idea of how your business operates according to your patient’s perspective.
- Who should ask the patient? When a therapist requests a review, the patient may be more likely to follow through. However, therapists don’t always have extra time to spend with patients or may not remember to ask when they’re doing other activities. So as another option, your front desk—the first and last touchpoint with a patient—can work in a review request when they’re scheduling another visit or checking out a patient.
- Where should patients leave reviews? There are a lot of different review sites online, but here are some of the most common places where a new patient may be searching:
- Google results (which can be managed by Google My Business)
- Facebook business page
- WebMD, Healthgrades, and other third-party review sites
- Your public Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- What can increase patient reviews? One of the easiest ways to get more reviews is to offer small incentives. Patients are far more likely to follow through if they know they can get a discount on their next visit, a free coffee from a neighboring business, or another small perk.
Identify trends and make improvements
Quantitative data is invaluable for analyzing and improving certain processes, like your first-pass billing rate or referral rates. But while reviews are often more words than numbers, the information they contain can still be invaluable for your business if you know how to collect and analyze it.
For example, let’s say a patient leaves a review that states “I had to wait a while before my appointment started.” While one review may not warrant a complete overhaul of your front office set-up, if you find multiple reviews mention long wait times, then you’ll know where your organization can start refining processes.
With that in mind, your front office team can work to speed-up check-ins, you can hire more therapists to free up schedules, or hire assistants or aids to get patients started with their appointment. Alternatively, you could also focus on what distractions are available for patients while they wait—maybe you can get newer reading material, bring in a television, or find other ways to keep patients entertained so the wait doesn’t feel so long.
Hot tip: show reviews on your website
As you start taking note of trends in reviews, you can use that information to improve the patient experience. But beyond the experience in the clinic, you can also use this information to update your website with glowing reviews and get ahead of frequently asked questions, too. By showcasing feedback directly on your website or in your marketing efforts, your organization can show that patient experience is a priority. And patients will notice!
Let’s say patients often ask about sliding scale services or leave reviews that mention payment alternatives. To get ahead of those concerns, you can add information to your website that addresses the topic directly, like “We meet the unique needs of our patients by offering sliding-scale services based on their insurance coverage, income, and other factors.” By adding a single sentence that addresses this concern, patients are more likely to stay on your website and learn more about your services before they decide.
Improve your team culture
One of the great things about physical therapy patient reviews is they offer a fresh perspective into your organization’s performance, offerings, and culture. And while reviews are important for your business, patients aren’t just offering them without expectations. In fact, in the NRC Health study mentioned earlier, over 72% of patient respondents reported they expect broad organizational improvements after leaving a review.
Beyond identifying trends and adjusting your organization’s workflows, you can also use reviews to reward good work. As you develop a stronger company culture, you can use positive reviews to inform employee compensation, raises, or promotions. You can also hire more assistants or aids or investigate updating exercise equipment.
The more you lean into using patient reviews to revamp your organization, the more loyal your patients will become. By delivering great customer service and seeing that reflected in online reviews, patients will be less likely to seek medical advice elsewhere, as they’ll trust working with your team.
Hot tip: be responsive to new reviews
Show patients you’re paying attention by promptly and directly responding to new reviews. With services like Google My Business or Facebook Business Suite, you can leave comments on patient reviews thanking them for their feedback. For both positive and negative reviews, leaving a quick comment can show your organization is engaged with patients, attentive to needs, and concerned about negative experiences.
To make sure your organization is never missing a review, assign someone on your team the task of regularly checking and responding to new reviews on a daily or weekly basis. And if your employee finds some stellar reviews, ask the patient if you can use their review in your marketing efforts. The more visible your patient’s voice is in marketing, the better it looks for your customer service.