business of pediatrics

Improving Your Online Reviews with QI

Almost everyone is online, and it makes sense that when parents search for a new pediatrician, they’ll turn to the internet for research, where they’ll probably find your online reviews. A negative review — even an old one — can be a misleading impression, while a glowing review can encourage families to arrive at your door. So how can you take your online reviews from sparse to 5 stars?

Where do reviews come from?

Reviews can get new families in the door. Whether they type in your name because your practice was recommended by a friend or you’ve appeared in organic search results, you want your first online impression to be great! That includes the number and quality of your online reviews across platforms.

Most of the time, unprompted online reviews come from real customers. Sometimes they want to share a particularly good or particularly frustrating experience. You may receive spam reviews less often; it’s safe to delete these.

To respond to or report reviews, you need to sign up for the review platform where it appears. Some common ones where parents will search for pediatricians are:

  •     Google Business
  •     Yelp
  •     Zocdoc
  •     Healthgrades

You can sign up for any of these platforms in just a few minutes, but you’ll need to take a few extra steps to confirm that you’re truly the business owner. For example, Google requires you to verify your profile by location, sending you a notification via text, call, or video.

In a previous post, we discussed dealing with negativity online. Check it out for a complete explanation on how to respond to less-than-stellar reviews.


Start a QI Project to Reach the Stars

When you’ve mastered your current online reviews and responded to them (don’t forget informal reviews on social media!), it’s time to turn your attention to reaching those coveted 5 stars.

Ideally, you want quality reviews that talk about what parents loved about your practice—the experience, your awesome staff, the quality of care, and other perks like close parking and walk-in hours. Simple, right? Just go and get some reviews!

But wait; somebody left a negative or kind of “meh” review! Even if you do receive middling or negative reviews, this is important feedback to show you how a current family is feeling about their care or frustrations you might be able to clear up with them.

Paying or rewarding families for leaving a review is obviously unethical. Instead, you should create a project that involves the whole practice where you seek out those reviews in a neutral but encouraging way.

Which parts of the in-office visit make the most sense at your practice to introduce the topic of reviews? Could you leave a link handy in your social media or newsletter?

Have front desk staff mention leaving a review at check-in and check-out, and include a mention of where parents can leave reviews on intake forms. Signage at the front desk and reception room helps too.

Involve all staff by getting a little creative. Add a QR code linking to your Google Business profile (probably the most common review platform parents will find) onto name tags or lanyards. Parents can use their smartphones to access the link and easily leave a review, perhaps even before the pediatrician gets to the exam room!

Measurable results will help you track progress and create a fun challenge for staff. See if you can get to 50 (or 10 or 100!) reviews in a month, then note what those reviews are saying. Can you improve anything at the practice quickly? What might take longer to alleviate some friction? Can you encourage the reviewer to contact the practice to mediate the situation?

It may take a few cycles of the Quality Improvement process you know from the AAP’s Bright Futures to get your practice to 5 stars, but when you get there, be sure and thank your patients and staff: quality feedback is priceless.

Allie Squires

Allie Squires is PCC's Marketing Content Writer and editor of The Independent Pediatrician. She holds a master's in Professional Writing from NYU.