5 Ways to Gain Patient Reviews for Healthcare Marketing Purposes
Healthcare marketers know about SEO and what it can do for them. To that end, they’re active in content and social media marketing, including employing influencers. But patient reviews in healthcare marketing shouldn’t be underestimated, because 95% of Americans find them reliable and 70% say their medical care decisions are influenced by them.
Patient reviews are happening whether or not healthcare marketers are involved in the process, finds recent research from Binary Fountain, an online reputation management platform. And among those patient reviews they’re reading, according to the research announced on Sept. 25:
• 70% of Americans say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician.
• In fact, even when referred by another doctor, 41% of consumers still check online ratings and reviews of doctors/specialists.
In online ratings and reviews, Baby Boomers and their elders rule. The “Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement” survey found that when Americans searched for patient reviews, “34% selected hospital and/or clinic’s website as a primary source, followed by Google (29%), WebMD (18%), Healthgrades (15%) and Facebook (12%).”
Conversely, when Gen X and Millennials take to the web to talk about their patient experiences, they’re on Facebook. Gen Z uses Google and Twitter, Binary Fountain says.
In his synopsis of the research on Tuesday in MobiHealthNews, Jonah Comstock writes:
“These findings could be troubling for healthcare professionals, who tend to have a different view of online reviews. A survey in May found that nine in 10 doctors were worried about online reviews, and a Mayo Clinic research project from April showed that reviews often reflected non-physician care experience factors.”
In the Binary Fountain survey, 45% of respondents said thoroughness of medical examinations mattered most to them when writing reviews.
Here are five ways healthcare marketers can encourage more patient reviews to happen for their organizations:
Ask Patients for Reviews
If a patient is happy with the customer experience, that can be a positive patient review. Asking for the rating and review on your site, on review sites and elsewhere can aid in brand awareness and online reputation.
The main patient gripe Binary Fountain reported was “wait time” (43%). If your patients are happy, why not ask them to say so to others? Also, site widgets can help you carry your customer reviews over to other sites or onto social for your content marketing purposes.
Have Continual Campaigns or an In-Place Feedback Process
This is such a literal evergreen aspect of patient reviews that our suggestions from 2009 still apply:
After asking for patient reviews, send patients an "ask and answer" opportunity — as well as a chance to tell their stories.
“In other words, customers who've written reviews receive 'thank-you' messages that provide more questions.”
Provide Patients With Feedback Links and Buttons Throughout the Website and in Emails
In order to provide patient reviews, patients have to have the opportunity to do so. Providing multiple options helps them help you.
Pursue a Multichannel Approach
Many patient touchpoints can let them know they can provide online reviews, from appointment cards to the practice website. (Healthcare marketers already on social media know which regulations apply where.)
Allow Negative Feedback
Not all patient reviews will be positive. Some may even feel unfair — Binary Fountain says “Young Millennials (ages of 18-24) [sic] are the most likely to be frustrated with ‘having to schedule an appointment.’ ” Among overall respondents, 9% rated “scheduling” as a gripe.
But the thing is, this is why Americans value patient reviews. They want the truth, warts and all. Transparency equals trust. Binary Fountain says 100% of Gen Z Americans responding to the survey trust online reviews and 68% of them are creating their own patient reviews, a 94% increase over last year.
Negative reviews also help healthcare marketers learn what aspects of the patient experience need improvement.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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