Online reviews are hugely important for my business. Web developers tell me that people look at the pictures on my website, and they immediately go to the reviews. Then they get on online chat forums to see what people have said about me in online chats.

That’s how I get a lot of business, so when people come in for their follow-up and say “Oh my God, I’m so happy, this looks great, I’m really happy,” I make a joke that breaks the ice. I’ll say, ”Do you mind doing me a favor? Go online, and write really bad things about…” and then I’ll point to whatever staff member is in the office room with me, like Jessica… “and then write a small blurb that you like me.” Everybody laughs. And it works. We give them a card, and then they go home and write the review. Then I’ll ask them pretty much every time they come in. I’ll say, “Did you write that bad thing about Jessica? Thanks. Really appreciate it. Everybody needs to know how terrible she is.”

Some doctors ask patients to do it on the spot on their cell phones, but the downside is that then the review service gets multiple reviews from the same IP address—your office—and it looks fake. I ask patients to go home to do it or do it on their cell phone, but nobody really wants to do it on their cell phone.

A good way to remind them subtly to do an online review is to send a survey immediately after their visit. People like that you’re asking about their experiences, so they’re likely to complete the survey. Then just ask those individuals who have written reviews or completed surveys to write about their experience online. It’s a simple as a follow up email or phone call to ask if they can cut and paste what they’re already done for the survey and post it online.

Another really good way to get online reviews is just to be really good at your job. The better you are the more likely patients are willing to do things for you. If you go above and beyond for them they will go above and beyond for you as well.

I never tell people what to write. I want them to be honest about their experience, 100%. Even if they didn’t like one part, that just makes the rest of the review more authentic. I tell them to be really honest about what they liked and what they didn’t. At some point, and I have worked on that, I got to the point where they loved me, they loved the surgery for the most part, but what they didn’t like were the wait times. I would see that on the reviews. He’s great, he’s fantastic, the surgery is good, but it takes a long time to get an appointment—which is a great thing for people to complain about.