Posted by Naomi Nessim, November 05, 2018 (last updated on November 25, 2018)
In nearly every industry—from retail to restaurants to service providers—reviews are a critical component in assisting consumers with making a decision. Do I want to eat at this restaurant? Shop at this store? Sign up for this class? The answer to these questions and others often comes only after a thorough review of what other customers had to say about their experience. It’s a form of social currency, allowing people to make informed decisions based on what they value most.
For the businesses being reviewed, this feedback can help them know when to stay the course and when they need to make changes to keep their customer base happy. Businesses who listen to feedback and respond accordingly are more likely to keep their customers happy, while businesses who do not will ultimately fail.
According to a 2013 study conducted by Bright Local, 97% of consumers looked online for local business in 2017. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Healthcare consumers are no exception—patients are going online to look up reviews at doctors offices and urgent care centers that they may need to visit. One study found that 62% of patients use online reviews as a first step to find a new doctor. 19% use online reviews to validate the choice of a doctor they’re considering. Another 19% use online reviews to evaluate their current doctor.
Patients are the lifeblood of any urgent care center. As value-based care incentives and patient payment responsibilities continue to increase, the focus of urgent care operators needs to be on delivering not only high-quality healthcare but also a stellar customer experience that warrants good reviews and positive feedback. Below, learn about review gating, how it can hurt your urgent care center, and a better method for collecting patient reviews.
What is review gating?
When a business filters candidates before asking them to leave a review, this is called review-gating. Essentially, this is a strategy businesses use to ensure that only customers who had a positive experience leave a review. Customers who had a negative experience are generally asked to leave private feedback.
Review gating can hurt the reputation of your urgent care center
While businesses may think this is a solid idea (after all, all five-star reviews sounds great, right?), studies have found that it can actually have the opposite effect. A business with a mix of reviews shows the business in a better light than if they had only five-star reviews. Why? Because negative reviews earn trust, according to PowerReviews research, that found that “86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions. 44% of survey respondents said they would not trust a company that had no negative reviews. 60% read the negative reviews first. When businesses display negative news, they show they have nothing to hide.
How can urgent care centers collect reviews from patients?
Now that review gating is against Google’s policies, urgent care centers need not even be tempted by the allure of glowing reviews. Instead, the focus should be on collecting honest, useful feedback. This can create and grow a loyal patient base while giving urgent care operators insight into what is working—and what’s not.
To do this, urgent care operators should think strategically about the questions they ask their patients—and how they ask their patients to respond. Which questions you ask—and how you ask them—is incredibly important when collecting feedback from urgent care patients.
While most healthcare consumers turn to reviews to make decisions about where they’ll seek care, the frequency at which they leave their own reviews isn’t quite on par. To encourage patients to leave helpful reviews, it’s important to ask meaningful questions and give your patients an easy way to answer them. Let’s take a look at some best practices urgent care centers can follow when asking for reviews from patients.
Which 5 questions should urgent care centers ask patients?
When you reach out to a patient and ask for them to leave a review, you should have two goals in mind: getting an answer and getting an honest answer. One easy way to encourage both is to ask open-ended questions, which help patients respond in their own words and represent their personal experience more accurately.
Here are 5 questions urgent care centers can ask patients when they request a review:
- Did you schedule an appointment before coming in? How easy was it to do so? (If you’re using Solv, patients will be able to book a same-day appointment online. Easy!)
- How long did you wait to see a provider?
- How would you rate the overall care you received?
- How satisfied are you with the cleanliness and appearance of our urgent care center?
- How likely are you to recommend our urgent care center to a friend or family member?
The questions your urgent care center asks may vary, depending on what you want to collect feedback on at any given time. If you want to know how a particular provider is perceived by patients, you can reach out to only those who saw that provider. Perhaps you want to know how your patients like the billing process (a notoriously difficult part of healthcare, overall) — in this case, you’d ask open-ended questions such as How long did it take for you to receive your final bill? How would you rate the payment options you were given?
What really matters is identifying what you want potential patients to know and what feedback will help you urgent care center improve.
How to collect reviews from urgent care center patients
In the past, healthcare facilities sent out 40-question surveys by mail. Today, this isn’t an option. Not only will it be highly unlikely for patients to respond, this method of delivery can make your urgent care center seem out of touch. For good reason—healthcare consumers want to book online urgent care appointments with their smartphones and talk to their doctor through an app before they come in for care.
The best way to get urgent care patients to leave reviews is to email or text them a link and request that they review your facility on Yelp or Healthgrades. According to one study, “Healthgrades is the most commonly-used site, with 43 percent of review users turning there first. Yelp is second most popular, with 34 percent of users listing it as their first choice. Yet, when asked which online reviews site they find most trustworthy, more patients chose Yelp than Healthgrades. 44 percent of patients selected Yelp as most trustworthy, compared to 31 percent for Healthgrades.”
Remember to follow the guidelines on which questions to ask above. Asking open-ended questions will generate more thorough, helpful, and honest reviews than asking yes or no questions.
Solv recently hit a major milestone—1,500,000 urgent care visits were booked through Solv within six months. Our data also shows that 14% of consumers who booked those urgent care visits would have chosen the emergency room if they didn’t have access to convenient care. As this massive burden is being shifted off of the ER, saving the system $1 billion for every 1% of unnecessary visits shifted to urgent care, urgent care centers who want to succeed in a changing climate need to pay attention to what matters most to healthcare consumers. One of the best ways to do this is by collecting feedback and welcoming reviews—both positive and negative. By following the above guidelines, urgent care operators can begin to generate patient reviews, while opening up a dialogue that builds trust, rapport, and loyalty.