You Can Only Improve That Which You Measure
If you want to ensure your practice is delivering a high quality patient experience then you must make patient feedback the heartbeat of your practice.
Soliciting consistent patient feedback allows you to make adjustments, change and solve problems quickly. Consistent, daily, patient feedback gives you real time insight into patient care, experience and staff performance.
This also allows you to be more proactive with implementing positive changes within your practice.
Here’s a path you can follow to implement an office culture centered around patient feedback.
Define Your Digital Strategy for Soliciting Feedback
If you don’t ask, the answer’s always no! While it is usually a bad idea to ask a patient for a review immediately following a root canal, as a practical matter, it is advisable to be diligent in asking every patient after a successful visit.
- Step 1: Gauge the patient’s temperament. Are they here to treat a sinus infection, or do they have a broken arm? It’s important to exercise prudence and determine the context as appropriate before asking for a review.
- Step 2: Upon check-in, have front desk staff hand out a quick “Would you review and help us improve?” piece of paper explaining ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’ that can be to read while they are in the front waiting room.
Front waiting rooms, especially on a busy day, gives you access to a captive audience. List out and describe your strategy to them, it could look something like this:
Thank you for visiting our practice!
Dr. Mustache, and Dr. Beard are working hard to improve your experience and generate awareness of your experience with us online. At the conclusion of your appointment we would like to send you a text message giving you the option to review us.
Weather you had a positive or negative experience with us, we would love to hear about it! If you’ve seen this form due to a prior visit, but have not yet left us feedback please feel free to let our administrative staff know right now, if you have 2 minutes time while you wait for the doctor you are welcome to review a previous appointment.
Even if they choose not to participate, this has the added benefit of generating good-will (demonstrating you value them).
Besides, patients are accustomed to sitting in clinic waiting rooms with a piece of paper in their hands, though they will be pleasantly surprised when it’s not an enrollment or insurance form!
- Step 3: Upon check-out, take action. Have office staff ask permission to send the text or email: “May we send you a text message to help us collect feedback, and write (practice name) an online review?”
If you’re not soliciting reviews via text message, you could also solicit them via email; in either case, our experience has been to keep everything digital.
Not only does this help due to the nature of the request (since you’ll want to use their feedback online, it’s best to keep it online), it will also prevent front office staff from getting burned out with a load of extra paperwork, while increasing your chances of consistent, repeatable, results.
Adopt a Digital Strategy to Eliminate Inefficiencies – Increase Participation
We see the highest success rate when the front desk staff has a simple, automated, un-intrusive review solicitation system to use, like our own RepCheckUp, which is free, or paid depending on the volume (the free version allows up to 100 text messages).
- How: Making it easy for both patients, and staff to participate is critical to sustained success of a review and feedback program. With our tool, you can simply do a daily, weekly, or monthly batch of text messages (with just a few keystrokes required from staff), or send it immediately upon their exit from the building (again just a few key strokes required).
- Why:The closer in proximity the review request is to the patient’s appointment, the more likely the participation. Our tool prevents negative reviews from immediately being published online, and instead sends a review of 3 stars or less to your email, giving you an opportunity to triage the issue BEFORE it gets online.
Solicit Ideas From Your Team
Discuss your rationale – Get them Onboard Early
- Step 1: After developing your strategy, discuss with staff! Hold a team meeting with staff to get their advice. Perhaps they’ll tell you that texting will never work, and that a weekly message on the practice’s facebook page, instructing patients where to go to leave a review is better (certainly a valid and worthy idea, but in our experience you loose a lot of control over your online reputation if that’s the only method you’re using to ask for reviews).
- Step 2: Once a direction and buy-in is agreed upon, create a set of simple instructions, reminding staff of exactly what you’re expecting from them.
Our advice is to post this in commonly visible areas (like the wall they are facing while working at their computer). Instructions could look like this:
“Patient Feedback and Reviews
- Greet each patient as you normally would, give them the improvement and review notice, asking that they read it while they are waiting.
- Exit each patient as you normally would, ask them if it would be okay for you to text them to leave an online review and receive feedback for practice improvement.
- If they say yes, but you don’t have their cell phone number, get their cell phone number.
- Offer to send them an email if they decline to be texted.
- If the mood of the patient or the nature of the appointment’s conclusion does not lend itself to this conversation being in good taste, simply proceed as you normally would, ignoring the above instructions.”
Implement Technology to Help You
There is tremendous value in soliciting feedback and online reviews to your practice, but in an already hectic day, we know it’s difficult to implement new strategies. It is for this reason that we have built automation and integration with our RepCheckup tool.
Simply log into your RepCheckup account: Add the patient’s phone number, Add their name, and select your message. Less than a minute of work, even if you’re manually sending out reviews. Then the following happens automatically:
- Step 1: Upload mobile numbers or emails from your billing system.
- Step 2: Select a custom message (i.e. “Would you be willing to leave a review of your experience online?”.) Note, the option given to the patient to answer your custom message is “Yes” or “No”.
- Step 3: “Yes” selection let’s them leave a 1-5 star rating.
- Step 4:If the review is 3 stars or less, the feedback is sent to the practice’s email address, allowing them to resolve the issue before the review goes public.
- Step 5: If the review is 4 or 5 stars it is immediately published to your selected review sites (like your Google local listing).
You can then monitor new reviews in real-time through the RepCheckUp Dashboard, or weekly via automated email alerts.
Let Patients Know
Educate patients on the importance of reviews and feedback – Use office signage
If you want to avoid or add to a paper hand out, simply hang a few signs in appropriate spots in the office, or put a few laminated copies on any desks and tables that normally contain brochures or practice information. In a few bullet points simply state the reason for your doing this, and what they can expect if they decide to participate.
It could look something like this:
Thank you for being a patient, we care very much for your health!
We’d like to invite you to improve the “health” of our practice by sending us feedback and reviewing our practices publicly online. Here’s why:
- We hold our entire staff (including doctors) in very high esteem, and want to ensure we have an outside system of accountability.
- We are growing our practice this year. One of the ways we are going to do this is by increasing the amount of reviews our practice receives online. Reviews count as a “vote” to Google and other search engines that our website deserves a high degree of visibility.
We anticipate the outcome of this growth will be hiring additional staff, reducing wait times, and greatly increasing appointment availability.
Thank you for your help, your feedback and reviews are greatly appreciated!
Dr. Mario and Team.
Keep Staff Motivated with Incentives and by Involving Them in the Results.
Incentivize your team to participate in this strategy through contests offering gift cards and other goodies. These go a long way toward changing behaviors, while the additional engagement will create friendly competition for the employee who has the best performance.
- Step 1: Start with an attainable goal. Depending on the volume of patients coming to your practice 1 positive review a week is a good place to start.
- Step 2: Promote the results by providing everyone with access to the RepCheckup Dashboard.
- Step 3: Set aside time for daily review – Especially important when first implementing. With software and a process, you should only need about 5 minutes.
- Step 4: Huddle as a team weekly to review positives, negatives, changes (at least) – talk about the good, bad, ugly and announce plans for change!
Note that you absolutely DON’T want to incentivize patients with incentives.
An Ounce of Reviews is Worth a Pound of Results!
The heartbeat of your practice is the steady flow of successfully treated patients leaving you positive reviews, and providing you with feedback, RepCheckup is just one such tool that allows you to easily do that. The brain of your practice is the set of 6 tools that in combination with one another (all together, or individually) provide the direction necessary to increase patient appointments, promoting, and growing your practice.
Weather you are a new practice starting out, or an existing practice trying to play catch-up, now is an excellent time to start marketing your practice online. Measuring and monitoring reviews, is just one way we provide highly effective, inexpensive tools and services all focused on driving results with minimal time investment from staff and practitioners.