We often hear clients ask how to get 5-star reviews on Facebook and Google. Sometimes they say they are using a service, like VinX, Pet Pro Health, Demand Force or another similar service, that sends out emails to clients a few days after a client visits the practice. Generally, the way these programs work is, an email goes out to clients 3-4 days, sometimes later, after a client visits your practice. These are usually triggered from a specific procedure, such as an exam, surgery, procedure or vaccine. They can, however, go out to every single client after any transaction is made in your hospital; such as the purchase of food only, or even a nail trim. Here is a sample survey. Keep in mind, these surveys only come to you and are not visible on any review site, such as Google or Facebook.
It is important to limit the number of these that go out to clients. If you have a client that brings their pet in for day-boarding every-other-day, or for grooming every Tuesday, and they get an email each time, you can see how that many emails would begin to get on your nerves. Think about how you would feel if you received a request to provide feedback every time you went to Chic-fil-A, or Whataburger, or Buc-Ees? Side note, both Whataburger and Buc-Ees are Texas originals and if you’re ever in a location where one of these exists, you should go.
Consider saving the money on these outside organizations and control the requests yourself. Check with your distributors, like Patterson or Coventrus, and see what options they have for sending out the initial emails to clients. You could send out a simple survey that asks questions about the appearance of the hospital, the friendliness of staff, Client Care and Staff Care and then conclude with an Overall Rating. For each section, leave a place for specific comments. Keep the survey short, but have enough questions that the info your receive back is usable.
As these surveys get completed, make a list of all the positive comments made to share with staff at each team meeting, or in other forums you may use to communicate with staff; bulletin boards, Slack, Twilio, email, What’s App, etc. In addition to capturing the comments to share with staff, start placing all contacts into an Excel Spreadsheet of only the survey respondents that comes back with all top responses. If you get one that has even one response not as high as it can go, don’t include it on the list.
Each week or so, convert your Excel Spreadsheet will all respondents that gave a 100% positive response to your survey as a CSV (comma separated value) sheet, or whatever means allows you to use it, so you can upload it to your email service. You can use the one your reminder system uses, such as Patterson’s ePetHealth, or a free newsletter service, like MailChimp and send out a form letter (that doesn’t look like a form letter). You can see an example of one here. If you can use graphics in your email, it will help. If you are unable to do so, adding some color to the text will be helpful as well.
The goal here is to make it easy for clients to leave you a positive review online. We recommend Facebook and Google as they really “rule the world” right now; and, probably into the foreseeable future. You can request reviews all you want for Y&lp, but unless you pay for a service, you will likely find your reviews are hidden, or “not currently recommended”. Sadly, in our opinion, this is a losing battle, if you’re not willing to pay. You are much more likely to find that most people find you on Facebook and Google anyway.
The timing of these emails are somewhat important as well. Pay attention to your initial survey responses to see what time they are completed, take an average and send out your email requesting Google and Facebook reviews shortly before the time you calculated. Most people are creatures of habit and typically stick with routines. You’re more likely to get a response if you send the email so they see it when they normally check their email account. Although as more people move from desktop to app/phone versions of things, this will continue to change.
Once reviews start coming in, make sure to respond to each and every one that comes through. If you get 5-star reviews, a simple “thank you for taking the time to review us” or “we know this review will help others who may be searching for a new veterinarian” will do wonders in continuing to build relationships. If by chance you get a negative review on one of these public forums, take at look at our article titled Do You Stress About Negative Reviews for help. It is important to respond to all reviews.
This is an ongoing, never-ending process because having fresh reviews is always needed to maintain your status as the premier veterinary leader in your area. As you move forward, you can refine your emails, and your process and may even come up with a better way. Don’t wait for clients to review you, ask them to do so.