There are many different ways to determine a patient’s level of satisfaction in today’s digital world, including surveys and online reviews. However, satisfaction isn’t the only metric these tools can interpret — they also provide helpful insights related to patient loyalty. Providers can then leverage this information to not only retain more healthcare consumers but also improve their quality of care.
Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Patient satisfaction surveys are some of the most common and prevalent ways that healthcare organizations evaluate their patients. The survey process is unique because it can happen in “real time,” depending on your capabilities. Some surveys are sent post-discharge or post-visit but to take full advantage of the power of patient satisfaction surveys, providers should make them available while patients are in the office.
More often than not, millennial and gen z patients turn to the internet before they make a purchase. That includes purchases related to healthcare. Whether they look at Google or another website, chances are high that your patients (or potential patients) are looking for your reviews.
What makes internet reviews somewhat unique is that people who write them typically either had an incredibly good experience or an incredibly bad experience. Mediocre experiences usually aren’t motivating enough to make someone post their opinion.
It’s important for you to have someone monitoring your practice’s online reviews. According to a 2018 study by BrightLocal, only 6% of people they surveyed would consider a practice with a one-star rating and 4% would consider a practice with a two-star rating. A three-star rating bumps that percentage up to 33%. If you notice your rating beginning to slip, it might be time to encourage some of your satisfied patients to leave a review.
Surveys & Reviews
Believe it or not, patient satisfaction survey responses do not have a significant impact on their online reviews, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study. As we mentioned earlier, patients who have a mediocre, non-memorable experience are not likely to leave a review. Chances are, though, that they are likely to leave a somewhat positive response to their patient satisfaction survey because, at the very least, they were likely not dissatisfied. If you receive good survey scores, it’s likely that you’ll receive good reviews.
But what about patients who provide negative feedback in their satisfaction survey? This is where the beauty of having real-time responses comes into play. If a patient provides a negative survey response, engage with them and see what caused this reaction.
Perhaps they’re becoming impatient because they’ve been waiting to speak with the receptionist for 15 minutes. With your help, this can be rectified immediately. By intervening, you can catch people who are having a negative experience before they make it to the internet to leave a negative review.
Surveys, Reviews & Patient Loyalty
It would seem as though positive survey responses and positive reviews online would indicate increased patient loyalty at a particular practice. Unfortunately, though, they don’t.
We discussed earlier how people on either end of the satisfaction spectrum (either those who had an awful or an exceptional experience) are the most likely patients to actually take action and leave an online review. Those are also the people whose future behavior is easiest to predict.
Patients who had an extremely negative experience, who respond very low on the satisfaction survey and who leave a negative review are likely not to return to your practice. On the other hand, patients who had a very good, memorable experience, who responded positively on the survey and hurried off to write a positive online review are very likely to return and remain loyal.
But what about everyone in the middle? Well, just as middle-of-the-road satisfaction scores can’t indicate online reviews, they can’t indicate patient loyalty one way or the other either.
The best way to ensure those middle patients will return is to move them out of “middle” status and into the highly positive range. By providing them with exceptional service and a memorable experience, they are more likely to return to your practice. But patient loyalty is built on much more than just the time spent in the office, and automated patient engagement can maintain a positive healthcare experience long after a patient has left the exam room.
Take PatientBond’s patient engagement platform for example. It’s powered by a proven and proprietary psychographic segmentation model that groups healthcare consumers into one of five categories based on their preferences, values and lifestyles. These insights help providers create personalized messaging that appeals to consumers’ unique wants and needs, thus increasing both satisfaction and loyalty.
By leveraging patient engagement and improving the quality of your patient satisfaction survey responses and online reviews, chances are your patient loyalty will improve, too.
For more on psychographic segmentation and its impact on patient engagement and patient loyalty, download or case study.