How to Use Patient Testimonials & Reviews to Grow Your Practice
Okay friends, I’m back this week to talk about patient testimonials & reviews, and how you can use them to grow your wellness practice.
But first, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane!
Think back to the last major product you purchased. Do you remember what factors influenced your decision?
Science says that what you read in the customer reviews section likely played a big role!
Consider this scenario:
You’re shopping for a home appliance… let’s say a juicer. Perhaps this is your first juicer, or maybe you’ve had several and they keep breaking! Either way, you want to be sure you make a solid investment.
You find 3 juicers on Amazon:
- Juicer #1 right size, color & price, but it doesn’t have any reviews
- Juicer #2 more expensive, nice color selection, but only a couple of reviews
- Juicer #3 most expensive with no fun colors, butttt it’s the right size, and has thousands of solid reviews
Which juicer do most people end up buying?
Because of something called “social proof.”
In marketing, social proof refers to the concept that shoppers trust & value the feedback of other shoppers and — consciously or subconsciously — tend to mimic their purchasing decisions.
In fact, a global study (1) evaluating consumer trust in advertising methods found that:
- 92% of people trust the recommendation of a peer, and
- 70% of people trust a consumer recommendation posted online.
This is great news for practitioners because social proof is a powerful & affordable marketing tool that you can use to grow your wellness practice.
Next, let’s get clear on some terminology.
Third-Party Reviews vs. Patient Testimonials.
What’s the difference between reviews & testimonials, and which do you want for your wellness practice?
(hint, hint: you want both!)
Third-party reviews are opinions posted on websites other than your own. There are hundreds of third-party review sites dedicated to sharing this type of information. Popular examples include Google, HealthGrades, Vitals, and Sharecare.
The great thing about third-party reviews is that they come with an added layer of credibility because someone other than you collected them & verified their validity. However, you also have much less control over what is asked & published.
If you’re scared of getting a bad review – don’t panic! It’s happened to me, and it will likely happen to you (if it hasn’t already). But it’s really no biggie & we’ll go over exactly what to do in that scenario in a moment.
Patient testimonials are short write-ups you request from your patients directly. In this case, you have lots of control — you decide who to ask, when to ask, what to ask, & how much of the response to publish!
It goes without saying that you should be collecting testimonials on a regular basis, because they serve as highly-effective FREE marketing for your business! In fact, just a couple of powerful testimonials can completely transform your website, sales page, and/or lead magnet.
This is because strong testimonials give your potential patients the confidence to book an appointment with you, in much the same way that those Amazon reviews give you the confidence to press “buy now” with that new pricey juicer.
Now that we’re clear on the value of both third-party reviews & patient testimonials, let’s talk about how the heck to get some!
Asking For Patient Testimonials & Reviews.
This one isn’t rocket science friends — you just have to ASK. 🗣
Here are 3 ways to get started:
1. Send a Personal Email to Your Biggest Fans
An easy place to start is by requesting patient testimonials from the people you know have kind words to share – your biggest fans! Bonus points if they have a story of transformation. Maybe they’ve lost a significant amount of weight, corrected a hormone imbalance, or alleviated unwanted symptoms. People love to share their stories!
Let them know you’re building your online reputation & looking for authentic patient feedback. You don’t want anyone to feel compelled to participate in order to receive care, so ask at the end of an appointment, or send a request by email.
2. Request Patient Input via Short Survey
Alternatively, you could send out an email blast to all current & past patients with a link to a short survey you put together (more on this below). The idea here is to ask strategic questions, and use the responses to weave together powerful patient testimonials.
Be sure to mention that it won’t take more than a couple of minutes! And as stated above, be frank & sincere about your objective.
3. Request a Third-Party Review via Email Blast
Another option is to send out an email blast to all past & current patients requesting a third-party review. Google is a great place to start. Be sure you understand the steps yourself, and include clear & concise instructions.
Again, let them know that this won’t take more than a few minutes, and will greatly help you grow your practice.
Pro Tip – AUTOMATION: The above options are great ways to get started, but once you get comfortable with making these requests, consider automating this process!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I love Practice Better for streamlining your wellness practice, and one of the things you can do is set up an automatic email that goes out after a patient has seen you X # of times. This way you don’t have to remember to make these requests, and you always know where to go to find fresh patient testimonials.
Okay, next up… let’s talk about survey creation, since it was mentioned in option two above.
How to Design a Patient Survey.
If you’ve decided to create the survey from option two above, it’s all about asking the right questions!
So… how do you design a survey that will produce powerful patient testimonials?
Easy — ask leading & open-ended questions.
Here are some examples:
- Why did you make your first appointment with us?
- What were your experiences with other clinicians before you came here?
- How have your symptoms and/or life improved since your first appointment?
- If you were going to recommend us to someone, how would you describe us?
- What are the 3 best things about being a patient at our clinic?
- Is there anything else you’d like to share?
You’ll want to include a couple of options, such as:
“Can we share your testimonial publicly using your first name & city?”
“If yes, can we include your photo?”
Legal Tip → It’s always best to run something like this by your attorney to ensure HIPAA regulations aren’t being violated, but as long as you have proper consent, there shouldn’t be any issues.
I usually like to sprinkle a few easy yes/no questions as well. These make the survey less intimidating, and although these questions don’t work well for patient testimonials, they can be used in other ways:
e.g. “When asked, 91% of respondents agreed that…”
Okay, now that we’ve focused on the good, what about the bad?? 😱
What to Do if You Get a Bad Review.
If you get a bad review, don’t panic!
Whether the grievance is real or imagined, this is an opportunity for you to fix the situation.
If the review was submitted on a third-party website, respond authentically, letting the reviewer know you’re sorry for the experience, and communicate that you’d like to fix it. Sign the response with your name, your position in the business, and a phone number or email you can be reached at.
Most people just want to be heard, and ~30% of negative reviews are removed or reversed with positive communication (2).
Even if the reviewer doesn’t respond, potential customers will note your considerate response.
If you receive a negative review when collecting patient testimonials, it might sting a bit, but it’s good feedback, and it’s an excellent opportunity to fix the situation before the reviewer takes their complaint public. Respond to them with the same compassion and authenticity you offered the third-party reviewer.
And Finally, Where to Post The Good Stuff.
Now that you’ve collected some patient testimonials, you’re excited to put them out there — but where, exactly, should you put them?
The simple answer — everywhere!
- Dress up your website with patient testimonials
- Create a dedicated patient testimonials page on your website
- Share testimonials in your social media feeds & “stories”
- Share testimonials in your emails
- Include testimonials at the end of your Lead Magnet
And perhaps most importantly, place your patient testimonials next to your Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons. In other words, if you’re asking a potential patient to take an action, remind them of why they should do so!
Bonus Points → Think about turning some of the more compelling patient testimonials you receive into lengthier “case studies”. Case studies can be shared on your website, and offer a more in-depth look at the transformation you were able to help someone achieve.
Whew, that was a lot!
But before you go…
Join The Tribe + Grow Your Wellness Practice.
Testimonials are marketing gold, butttt there’s a lot more to growing a truly sustainable wellness practice.
Join the tribe to receive free weekly marketing support + practical tips to help you grow a thriving (+highly-profitable) wellness practice. No fluff, no jargon – just a business-savvy practitioner who wants to see you succeed! 🥳️
“Ronda is a wealth of information both intellectual and clinical. She is also a great teacher, and isn’t that what we all strive to be with our community members? She is a wonderful mentor!” – Dr. Irby