Online reviews play a critical role in a person’s decision-making process about all kinds of purchases, including healthcare services. In fact, more than 86% of consumers read online reviews, and 89% read business’s responses to reviews. Not only do reviews help patients make decisions, but they also elevate your visibility in local search results. With consumers reading and writing more reviews than ever, proactively asking for reviews can have a variety of benefits for your practice.
It’s more important than ever to request and respond to reviews proactively while remaining compliant, due to rules surrounding HIPAA compliance. We’ll go through what you need to know – and some templates you can use as examples to create your own responses.
How To Ask For Reviews
Patients visit your practice because they trust you. The rapport you build with them during their procedure or treatment helps solidify that relationship even further, and patients are usually happy to share their experience. So, what’s the best way to ask them to leave a review?
Ask In Person
Before a patient leaves the office, ask if they would be willing to leave a review. If the patient agrees, let them know when they can expect to see the review request – and ask them if they’d prefer an email or a text. In most cases, it’s best to send the request the same day while the experience is still fresh in the patient’s mind. Response rates increase when a person anticipates seeing a request from the practice and has committed to providing a review.
Requesting Reviews Via Email
Requesting reviews can be one of the most effective ways to generate new reviews. You likely already have a list of email addresses that you use for other marketing purposes, so why not put that list to good use to help build your online reputation? Here a few best practices to get started:
- Personalize the email. Compose your request with as much personalization as possible. Use the patient’s name in the subject line and email greeting to acknowledge each recipient. Personalization helps encourage higher open and response rates.
- Be polite. Keep in mind that you are asking people for a precious resource – their time. Your request should reflect your appreciation for someone doing you a favor and should never sound pushy, encourage dishonesty, or include a bribe in exchange for a review.
- Use a good subject line. A subject line that grabs the reader’s attention leads to higher open rates, which in turn can lead to more reviews. It’s always a good idea to test a few variations and adjust as you find what works best. A few recommendations include:
- Would you do (Business Name) A Quick Favor?
- Hi (First Name), A Quick Favor?
- How did we do?
- We want your feedback.
Keep the message simple. Your request doesn’t need to be lengthy. Three or four sentences is more than enough. If you’d like the recipient to leave a review on a specific site, make it easy for them, and provide clear instructions on how to do it. Here are a few examples you can start with:
Hi (First Name),
Thank you for visiting us recently. We hope we provided you with excellent service. Would you mind taking a minute to leave us a review on (review site)? It will only take a minute, just click here: (insert link to review site).
ABC Plastic Surgery
Hi (First Name),
Thank you for choosing (Practice Name). Our goal is always to exceed your expectations. Please leave us a review on (review site). It will only take a moment of your time, but your feedback will help us improve as a company.
ABC Plastic Surgery
Request Reviews via Text Message (SMS)
Requesting reviews via text (SMS) messages may be one of the best ways to increase the number of reviews left by your patients. Why is it effective? Unlike other forms of communication, people always read their texts, usually within 90 seconds.
Consider the following:
- Text messages have an average open rate of 98% compared to just 15%-20% open rate for emails.
- An estimated 90% of the American population uses texting as a form of communication.
- Anyone with a smartphone can receive a text message without having to install an additional app. In fact, 56% of all online reviews originate from a mobile device.
Before you start requesting reviews via text, there are a few essential things you need to know.
Legally, you should gain consent before sending a text message to a mobile device. Text messages are regulated by the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Penalties for violations can result in fines ranging from $500 to $1500 per violation.
The type of consent you need varies based on the type of text message you send. For example, sending a promotional text message with a discount for a service or procedure requires express written consent, whereas sending a transactional text message like an appointment reminder does not. There are no clear guidelines defining whether review requests are promotional or transactional, so we encourage you to err on the side of caution. As a best practice, you should get express written consent before contacting patients via text. We outline some simple methods for gaining opt-in below.
Additional recommendations for being TCPA compliant include, but are not limited to:
- Maintaining a record of each patient’s consent for at least four years after the date it was given.
- Providing information about how the patient can opt-out at any time.
- Disclosing that message and data rates may apply.
- Sending messages only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the recipient’s time zone.
How to Get Patient Consent
Here are a few easy ways to get the consent you need to stay safe:
- Verbally Ask. Request permission to send patients texts when they are scheduling an appointment. If they are interested, have the paperwork ready to sign when they arrive.
- Add an opt-in to your patient forms. Include a section on your forms where patients provide consent to receive text messages.
- Send an email. Send an email inviting patients to opt-in to provide their consent.
Gaining consent from patients may feel like a big task, but keep in mind that thousands of businesses send text messages every day and rarely run into issues. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can be one of those businesses.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For questions regarding TCPA and compliance, please contact your legal counsel.
Templates to Use for Text (SMS) Review Requests
Just like review requests via email, review requests via text should be short and simple –perhaps even more so because of character limitations with texts. Here are a few examples:
Hi (First Name), Would you please take a moment and share your experience with (Business Name) on Google? Here is the link (Google link). Thanks for your help.
Hi (First Name), Thank you for choosing (Business Name). Would you please leave us a review on Facebook? (Facebook URL) It will only take a second, but it will make a huge difference to our company. Thank you!
Hi (First Name), Would you please help us by reviewing (Business Name) online? Just click the following link to get started: (Website URL) Thank you in advance.
We Can Help
Need help streamlining your review process? Review Power makes it easy to request and respond to reviews, with everything you need in one place. Contact one of our digital marketing experts for more information.