How to Leverage the Mere Exposure Effect to Get Patient Reviews

How to Leverage the Mere Exposure Effect to Get Patient Reviews

The more we’re exposed to something, the more we like it and the more likely we are to take action.

Researcher Robert Zajonc conducted four experiments, each one provided overwhelming support of the hypothesis that repeated exposure to a stimulus object enhances the attitude toward it. In social psychology, this effect is often referred to as the familiarity principle.

In one study, Zajonc showed Chinese characters to non-Chinese speaking participants, he showed each character between 1 and 25 times. The participants were then asked to rate how they felt about each character. The study found that the more often a character was shown, the more positive association and recall the participants had for that particular character.

It is well known among advertisers that repetition and exposure drive consumer action. The more often you put your message in front of your audience, the more likely they are to remember it—and take your desired action.

Today’s consumer has been conditioned to seek out social proof prior to making a purchase or selecting a provider. The most prominent form of social proof for a dental practice is reviews posted online by patients. So, it’s not surprising that nearly every practice that contacts us wants to know how to get more reviews from satisfied patients.

Unless you ask, many of your satisfied patients will not even think to give you a positive review. And, you have to ask multiple times in multiple ways to maximize your chances of receiving those reviews.

Here are three simple tips to help you apply the mere exposure effect to get more reviews from your patients.

Incorporate attention-getting signs in your office asking for reviews

Place signs throughout your practice prompting your patients to offer feedback. You can place them in the waiting area, in operatories and anywhere else a patient may have idle time.

The signs can direct them to your Google+ or Yelp listings. Or, as we do for our clients, you can build a review funnel page and a customized URL and QR code that take them directly to that page. Once on the page they are provided links to several of your online directory listings. When designed properly, your review funnel page will also dramatically reduce the chances of a negative review being posted about you on a public website.

Hand out wallet-sized review cards

Train your team to hand out review cards to each satisfied patient. The size of a business card, these tools are a great, physical reminder to review your practice. Similar to the posters, the cards display the QR code and URL to the review site, and usually include the logo of the practice and the same color scheme of the practice’s website.

Follow up each appointment with an email

Thank the patient for allowing your practice to care for them, and then ask for a review and provide a link to your reviews page.

It’s important to note, while patient reminder systems automate the patient follow-up email, they usually direct patients to an internal reviews page/website. The problem with this approach is that the reviews sitting on the reminder provider’s server are not nearly as visible in search engines as reviews posted on major review websites. So, we recommend continuing to utilize the system to send the emails, but have the link direct to an external review website.

While these three steps will not guarantee a review after each appointment, the mere exposure resulting from implementing them has been proven to dramatically increase the number of patient reviews a practice receives.

Those extra positive reviews will not only provide the social proof your prospective patients are seeking, they will also increase your visibility in Google as well as other search engines and mobile apps.