So you’ve had one of those dreamy days when everything goes right, and all the patients that come into your private clinic think you are the best thing since Game of Thrones.
You have this nagging voice in your head that reminds you that you should be asking the last splendidly complimentary patient for a great testimonial. Instead, you freeze, they give you a Hollywood grin and a wave as they exit the room, and you metaphorically kick yourself in the shins – again.
Why, oh why do we bail, and fail to ask for testimonials?
Firstly I think it’s because we build it into something that is bigger than it is.
After all, it’s simply a process of asking people to share the amazing experience and patient care. The care that you gave them.
If you’ve ever been asked to give a testimonial for another person, maybe you found yourself concerned that your copywriting skills would be totally pants, and you would let the person down by failing to convey ‘the message’. If you struggled with the task, chances are you may be projecting your concerns upon your patients when it comes to asking for feedback.
So what is the answer?
First, get over yourself, and get into the very healthy habit of regularly asking.
It helps if you make a little commitment by saying to yourself. For instance, ‘I’m going to ask a patient for a fabulous testimonial once a month’ and learn to look for the complimentary cues when a patient hands you one.
The cue clues are:
A patient says “thank you”, (the kind that makes you day ‘awhhhh, shucks’).
An “I did it” statement. “Your help has been truly amazing, I’m so chuffed that I managed to get back on the tennis court!”
Or, “I wish I’d met you earlier”.
Asking for a testimonial and then receiving a great testimonial can be enormously beneficial to your practice.
Testimonials fundamentally give you social proof.
When a patient goes looking for treatment, they go looking online. They want to read feedback from a third party that you are not a complete douchebag and you really know how to fix people.
A great testimonial shows that you helped people get from a ‘before’ situation to an ‘after’ situation and the results that came about from that transition.
Naff testimonials are frankly, naff. They are merely a pat on the back.
Whilst they may be well intended, meaningless platitudes don’t tend to resonate well with someone else who is looking for the miracle cure that will help them get around Marathon des Sables.
A great testimonial is an experiential account and it should include elements of how you helped them feel, think or move differently.
So how do we coax out a great testimonial?
The next time you have a patient who praises you or has come to the end of a treatment process and they are really happy – summon up some courage and ask them for one.
Say to them:
“I’m really glad that we were able to bring you this far, and it would be wonderful to help other people in this situation. Might you be willing to provide me with a short testimonial so that I can help other people like yourself?’
If things have gone well the patient will almost always say, “yes”.
If you’re a bit bashful or are concerned that you don’t want to come across as being all sales-ey, you can follow this up with an email. This is your opportunity to lend a little guidance.
Once the patient has left the room, I might ping an email out to them and say:
“Thanks ever so much it was great working with you and thanks very much for your kind offer to write a testimonial.”
I go on to explain that sometimes it’s a bit tricky to know what to write, and what I’ve found is helpful is if I give patients a list of questions they might want to think about it when they are writing it.
So here are those magic questions:
What was the problem that you were experiencing before you came to see me?
Have they tried anything previously, and if so what?
What happened as a result of coming to see me and what was the best thing about it?
What would you say to anyone else who is in a similar situation and why might you like to recommend that they come and see me?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The best thing about asking for testimonials is that most of the time patients are utterly delighted to provide you with one. Giving good feedback for another person feels awesome, don’t deny them of this.
Make it your mission to help more by being referred more, go on you know you want to.
Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in building our practices – from a business perspective, as well as a clinical one.
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