4 Reasons You Should Never Buy Paid Patient Reviews, And 1 Reason You Should.

Patient Reviews for Cosmetic Medical Practices

You're getting emailed from companies promising to raise your profile in the search engines by pushing hundreds or thousands of positive reviews, Facebook likes and Instagram shares to your sites and profiles, driving inbound patient inquiries and filling your treatment rooms. Don't do it.

Reviews are seen as one of the most valuable decision-making credibility markers that patients use when deciding who they're going to trust with their face. In fact, 85% of your potential patients trust online reviews - if they find them credible - as much as personal recommendations from their friends and family.  There is, however, a caveat to that trust. Consumers will only trust those online reviews as long as they believe they are authentic.

Here are some survey highlights from the latest 2017 survey:

  • 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
  • Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business - up from 6 last year

Since the value of reviews is so high, some medical spas and cosmetic docs have taken to trying to buy positive reviews from bot-farms. Not a good idea. 

Here are just a few of the reasons why you shouldn't buy online reviews for your clinic.

1. IT’S AGAINST THE RULES

The biggest reason businesses shouldn’t buy online reviews is it’s against the terms and services of many online review sites. Businesses that ultimately do buy reviews or post fake reviews on behalf of their customers could suffer legal action or face sanctions.

Yelp has been very active in trying to ensure its reviews are authentic. Its Consumer Alerts program was created to make sure its reviews are properly vetted and provide helpful, accurate information to consumers conducting online research. If a business on Yelp is found to be purchasing reviews, their profile will be tagged with a warning to consumers about the dishonest activity.

The same is true for Google and Bing. If they catch you doing this the penalty can be severe and they will bury your search engine rankings - exactly the thing you were trying to improve.

2. IT CREATES DISTRUST

As we mentioned, online reviews are a valuable tool for both patients as well as clinics. Patients are leery of clinics either posting fake positive reviews on their sites or trying to sabotage their competition by posting fake negative reviews on their competitor’s sites. To ensure that trust is earned, your clinic should make every effort to be transparent in their collection of online reviews and run from shady practices. Patients can be merciless in spreading the fact that you're performing underhanded reviews if you're caught, and it's really easy to catch you. 

If your reviews are unerringly positive and weren't actually written by your patients - with shortcomings included - you're going to get hosed.

3. IT’S UNETHICAL

This one should be obvious but we'll outline it anyway. When you buy online reviews, you are lying to your patients and potential patients. Once they suss that our you're in for some through word-of-mouth backlash and deservedly so.

One thing to note here is that it's often your staff that will spill the beans. It only takes one tech or clinician to wink or drop that "those are all fake anyway" and - even if it wasn't the intent - your clinic's reputation will suffer.

4. YOU DON'T LEARN ANYTHING

When you buy online reviews, you're not getting feedback from your real patients. Reviews can help you identify problems that might exist in your business and gives you the tools needed to fix them. Clinics that are focused on the customer and care about the experience being delivered won’t need to buy online reviews or post fake ones because their customers will be motivated to post positive reviews on their own.

If you're thinking about buying fake reviews, don't do it, just punch yourself in the ear instead.

5. FINAL THOUGHTS AND RECOMMENDATION

The title lied.

There isn't any reason that you should buy patient reviews, but you should figure out how to get and use real reviews from our patients. If you're looking to improve both your recommendations and your search engine results, take a look at the Podium Special Offer for Members. It's the best tool you'll find IMHO and it works extremely well if you use it. You'll also save yourself countless hours of headaches and something like $1500 if you take advantage of the Members offer. Do yourself a favor and check it out or ask for a demo.

The Simple Secret To Getting Awesome Patient Reviews.

how to get better patient reviews

Review marketing is the easy way to get your patients to market your clinic for you.

One of the challenges that every medspa or cosmetic clinic has is in trying to get patients to share their thoughts about your practice to their friends. Yep. Word of mouth.

Fortunately, a number of the barriers getting in the way of that have been overcome by software, and others are simply a matter of implementing the right systems.

To start with, you're going to need to get comfortable with the simple practice of asking for a review. Yeah, that's essentially the simple secret; ask. But you have to do it the right way. A recent survey found that 7 out of 10 patients said they would be willing to leave a review if asked. If it's that easy, why do we fail so badly to secure our patients help.

For most people, it comes down to the idea that it's potentially placing a burden on the patient by asking for a favor, or, that if they say no it will be embarrassing in some way. But both of those thoughts are wrongheaded.

When most people, including our patients, are asked for a "favor" they don't see it as a burden. Their perception when you ask them is that you value them and the relationship. Think about it. When someone asks you for a favor your reaction, especially if it's small, is to say yes. Additionally, the mere act of asking can strengthen the perception of the relationship and improve the patient's perception of their relationship with you.

Benjamin Franklin was a master of this.

Throughout his life Ben Franklin built a deep network of friends. However, not everyone was a fan. In his autobiography, Franklin mentions a man who vehemently opposed his candidacy for Clerk of the General Assembly of the Pennsylvania House. No matter how much ‘servile respect’ (a.k.a., kindness in today’s terms) that Franklin showed, this individual’s opinions on Franklin could not be changed. Interestingly, Franklin tried the exact opposite method, and it worked:

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him expressing my desire of perusing that book and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days.

“He sent it immediately – and I returned it in about a week with another note expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility. And he ever afterward manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

”This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.’”

It's a simple emotional reflex. When you do a favor for someone you become tied to their success and happiness in asmall but important way. The act of helping them just a little makes you want to help them more.

One of the hardest parts of asking for a review is not only knowing when, but how to ask for a review.

When is the best time to ask for a patient review?

Many clinics will post something on their Facebook page or just ask in an email. 

Completely useless. You may get an occasional thumbs-up on a facebook post but it does almost nothing to benefit you or your clinic.

The perfect time to get a glowing review of your clinic is just at check out, when the patient is interacting with the front desk and they're inside your clinic. It's the point in time when they're focused on the outcome, or, if it was a consultation, are looking forward to it. It's also the point where you have maximum control of both the way that you ask and what you're asking for.

The best success rate and reviews are generated using a simple system at check out that uses text messaging that you send directly to the phone in their hand.

Here's how it works.

After the treatment or consultation the clinician or technician mentions that the patient will be asked during check out if they would be willing to leave a review. It's explained that patient reviews are incredibly important to the clinic and that they're taken seriously. If the patient would be willing to leave a review, the clinician or technician will take that as a favor.

Then, during check out, the front desk asks if they can text the patient a review request. They can simply click the link, select a 'star rating' and leave a few thoughts. It happens right now, in the clinic, and will take less than 60 seconds.

Patients say yes because it's immediate, it's fast, and it's simple. 

You'll never have success just asking patients to go log in to their online social media accounts and say wonderful things about you. That doesn't work. 

The patients that are willing to go do that are the one's that are not saying nice things about you. They're the handful of patients that are angry. Those patients are really motivated.

So, in looking at how this should work we brought on Podium as a Select Partner and they've agreed to give Medical Spa MD Members both special pricing for their software, and special training for your staff on how to manage your patient review marketing.

Take just a second and see how Podium can help you drive new patients and protect your reputation.

And, if you're smart, you'll try out Podium's special offer for Members. It's a month-to-month service so there's no risk, and when you do it right (note the training you'll have access to) it's a no-brainer.


A special offer for Medical Spa MD Members from Podium.

Podium: 5 Questions To Ask Patients For More Powerful Testimonials

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Most cosmetic clinics, and now almost every medical practice, asks for patient reviews and testimonials. Make sure they're powerful by asking the right questions.

You're asking for testimonials, and if you follow up and pester your patients you're getting them.

However, there's a problem that most clinics have. The testimonials you're getting are powerless.

Testimonials are really just very short stories, and that's how you should be treating them. But if you look at your testimonials they come across as just pablum. These milquetoast testimonials are what you're left with if you don't understand how to ask the questions that allow your patients to give you memorable and powerful endorsements, and that start's with how you ask.

We're going to pump up your testimonials but helping you ask the right questions, in the right way.

5 questions to get a powerful patient testimonial:

  1. What was your main concern about buying this treatment?
  2. What was the result of buying this treatment?
  3. What specific result did you like most about this treatment?
  4. What are 3 other benefits of this treatment?
  5. Would you recommend this treatment to your friends? If so, why?

You'll also want to follow up with : Is there anything you'd like to add?

Note: you'll change "treatment" to a specific service: Botox, Restylane, liposuction, etc. Specific is good. There's no need to shy away from saying "buy" or "bought" or "purchased". Many of the concerns that your testimonials will directly address will be about "buying", 

Also, make sure that you're ask about the objections and concerns that the patient overcame to buy. It's critical information that both elevates your testimonial and helps you identify concerns that you can address with your marketing and consultations.

Why these 5 questions work

Let's take a look at why we want to ask each of these 5 questions.

1. What was your main concern about buying this treatment.

You're going to ask this question because no matter how popular or safe a treatment ins, in the patient's mind there's always a concern. It could be money, time, pain, outcome, or almost anything. It could be all of those.

When you ask this question it brings out those concerns, and it goes further. When the patient searches her memory to think through what may have been a deal-breaker, they'll come up with a number of things that you may not have considered to be relevant before.

There is always a concern. So, when the patient brings up this concern it presents an angle that's unique, personal, and dramatic. A concern that other patients will relate to directly.

2. What was the result of buying this treatment?

You want to ask this question to show how the obstacle or concern was overcome. When a patient answers this question, she talks about why the treatment was worth it despite the concerns.

3. What specific result did you like most about this treatment?

Here's where we start digging deeper. "Specific" is the key word. If you ask a patient to focus on the benefits of the treatment they'll provide a vague 'overview' type of answer that may be nice, but it won't move anyone. That's why you want to focus on a single result that the patient liked most. This brings out the one feature and the patient will be much more explicit

4. What are 3 other benefits of this treatment?

Since you already asked about the primary benefit from the treatment, now you can go a little wider, adding color to whatever else the patient liked about her results. 

Depending upon the treatment you can substitute any number, 2 or 1, or even eliminate the number completely, but the number does make it easier for your patient to try and address the question. It let's her focus on a limited number of factors and ranks them for you in what the patient found most useful.

5. Would you recommend this treatment? If so, why?

Psychologically this question is important. When a patient makes a recommendation an they are personally tied to it, there's more at stake for them. This ties to the way that they think about their own integrity. Unless the patient feels strongly they won't be forward about recommending it, and when she does recommend it, she communicates clearly to perspective patients, "Hey! I recommend this and here are the reasons why!"

Bonus: Is there anything you'd like to add?

Most of the testimonial has already been addressed but here's where you may catch something that the patient overlooked or thought differently about. There's never any harm in picking up a few last tidbits after the first questions have got the patient thinking. Occasionally you'll find that this last answer is where you really illicit something great.

Using testimonials to discover and address patients objections

The way that we're looking at constructing testimonials brings us to the reason behind the methodology; the testimonial actually answers the buying objections. When we ask the patient, "What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this treatment?",  the "obstacle" the customer brings up is going to be the concerns that we'll address in our marketing and consultations.

We should plan our testimonials to directly defuse each objection

Let's just take filler injections; Restylane, Juvederm, etc. If you talk to the average potential patient you'll hear any number of objections:

  • It's too expensive. / I'll get stuck on an expensive treatment program forever.
  • I'm afraid of needles and pain.
  • I can get it cheaper somewhere else.

Let's assume that these are the three main objections. If you're asking the questions above, what are the testimonials that you capture going to say?

  • I thought it was too expensive, but (here's why it was worth it).
  • I'm afraid of needles, but (here's what happened and why I'm not afraid now).
  • I thought about getting it cheaper somewhere else, but (here's what I found).

Each testimonial is a mirror image of each objection

You may know it's coming. You may have heard it often before and addressed it early in your marketing materials and sales copy, but new patients get a third-party perspective when they see your current patients defusing their objections in your testimonials.

A third party is always far more believable to your potential customers, and because each of these testimonials is linked directly to an objection, it systematically reduces the risk. 

How do I control the testimonial?

You may want to try and exercise control of your testimonials or give guidance to drive patients towards specific outcomes. You may want to talk about your length of time performing fillers, you education, or awards, but your patient may want to talk about price. So how do you control what your patient says?

Er... you don't.

You're part is constructing the questions. If you're doing this correctly you don't need to control the responses or the process. But that doesn't mean that you can't exert some influence on the direction that those responses take.

Start with the key objections you know you need to address

When you reach out to the patient. Ask her if cost, pain, or results were one of her big objections. If she says yes, follow up to find out the specifics. But if she says no, and mentions a completely different issue, follow up and run that objection to ground.

For example, a patient may say, "A friend had it done and it didn't look natural."

That feedback reveals an objection you hadn't considered, and it may be an objection that you haven't been addressing yet.

Examine it carefully, but you many decide that the new objection isn't worth pursuing and you can't use it. No problem. If that's your decision there will always be more patients who get the angle you're going for.

This process will extract the exact buying objections and testimonials that will help you defuse key objections. The result is that the testimonial is going to do some real grunt work for you in overcoming the fears and objections of the patients you're marketing to.

Get believable testimonials that are complex and detailed

Testimonials are among your most powerful sales and marketing tools simply because they come from patients, not you. They're told from the patients view point, about their concerns, and the results that they achieved. When a patient produces a testimonial that is rich in detail and emotion, and is believable it's done it's job.


SPECIAL OFFER FOR MEMBERS

If you think you need better patient reviews,
you do.

Protect your reputation. Get new patients. Save $1,227

Podium special offer for Medical Spa MD members.

  • No Podium setup fee: Save $300
  • 10% off of your account forever: Save $30/month - $360/year
  • Free training for you and your team: Save $597

Here's what other clinics are saying about Podium:

“First and foremost, Podium has helped generate more reviews for our practice. That increase in reviews has steadily translated into more patients.”

— Dr. Josh Wyatt

“Within about 20 seconds we can get a review invite out to them. It couldn’t be simpler.”

— Dr. Chad Ellis