5 great ways to use texting to improve your ASC's online reputation

A recent data analysis further validated the effectiveness of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) using text messaging to conduct patient satisfaction surveys.

The data, which comes from an ASC in Dallas, demonstrated that more than 80% of patients were willing to take a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey sent via text message. NPS is designed to measure customer experience by asking customers a single question centered around their experience rated on a scale (e.g., 1-5). It is a metric increasingly used by all types of businesses.

The Dallas ASC sent about 7,400 NPS survey text messages to patients last year asking them to rate their experience on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being low and 5 being high. The total percentage of patients who participated in the survey exceeded 83%, of which about 82% rated their experience as a 4 or 5. In addition, more than 200 patients provided commentary when they replied with their number.

As a press release sharing the results of the data analysis noted, this information on its own has proved quite valuable. It provides insight into the ASC's performance and opportunities for improvement as well as helping the surgery center meet the requirement to perform ongoing patient satisfaction surveys.

What's also noteworthy is that this surgery center further leveraged its satisfaction survey text messaging campaign for online reputation management — an increasingly important aspect of running a successful ASC. A strong online reputation can give a surgery center an advantage over or at least maintain a level playing field with growing competition for everything from patients to providers to staff and even payer contracts. Positive online reviews help all these parties gain confidence and trust in an ASC and its services. Research has also shown that online reviews can also help a business rank higher on search engines.

Let's look at five ways ASCs can use texting to strengthen their online reputation, beginning with the approach taken by the Dallas surgery center.

1. Links to webpage with listing of online review websites — Those patients who responded to the ASC's NPS survey with a score of 4 or 5 were then sent a hyperlink that brought them to a webpage on the ASC's website. This page includes links to the various platforms where the surgery center maintains a profile, such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. When these links are clicked, visitors are brought directly to the pages on the platforms where they can write a review.

2. Links to online review websites — If an ASC wants to increase its number of ratings and reviews on a singular platform, a text message can be sent to patients that provides a direct link to the platform and encourages patients to leave a review of their experience.

This doesn't just need to be a patient-facing activity. ASCs can also use text messaging to encourage staff members to provide reviews about their work experience on platforms such as those mentioned above as well as employer review platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed.

Considering research has shown that 98% of all texts are read, texting is likely to be the most effective and simplest mechanism to encourage patients and staff to write online reviews.

3. Asking for testimonials — If an ASC is using a two-way text messaging platform, which allows information to be pushed and pulled from recipients, a text can be sent to patients asking them to respond with comments about their experience. If a patient provides great commentary, the surgery center can send another text message asking for permission to publish the testimonial. If the respondent approves, the ASC can publish the review as a post on social media platforms and/or on its website. Sharing positive reviews and testimonials is an effective marketing mechanism.

4. Sharing survey results — If your text messaging patient satisfaction survey yields impressive results, such as those for the Dallas ASC, you can publish those results on your website and social media. You may even want to consider issuing a press release, highlighting the results during contract negotiations with private payers, and including them when publishing information about job openings. Sharing an NPS score and other positive survey results can serve to underscore and reinforce your ASC's commitment to delivering safe, high-quality care.

5. Responding to concerns — Not every patient satisfaction survey is going to yield a positive result. Some patients will inevitably have a negative experience. When patients provide a low rating in response to a texted satisfaction survey, a follow-up text can ask them to explain what they found disappointing and/or ask if they would like to speak with an ASC representative about their experience.

By showing a genuine interest in hearing and learning about a patient's negative experience, this can help reduce the likelihood of the patient leaving a negative online review. In addition, the information learned about the patient's experience may help you improve operations and decrease the potential for future patients to have a similar experience.

Text messaging for ASC patient and staff engagement
For ASCs to remain viable and competitive, patient and staff engagement must be top priorities. If patients are not effectively engaged, they may fail to adhere to your instructions, which can contribute to case cancellations and negative outcomes; respond more negatively to their care experience; and pursue other provider options for future care. If staff are not effectively engaged, productivity and performance may decrease while absenteeism may increase — all of which can have negative ripple effects that cause staff to leave your center for other employment options or force you to make staffing changes.

Texting is the most effective way to quickly identify a happy or dissatisfied patient. It also delivers an improved ability for ASCs to act on this information quickly by sending a link for a favorable review or reaching out by phone to help make things right. Furthermore, text messaging is a highly efficient way to improve patient and staff engagement — and not just for online reputation management and boosting satisfaction survey participation rates. Texting is being leveraged by ASCs and other healthcare providers to strengthen patient volume, care coordination, compliance and adherence with care protocols, collections, emergency preparedness and response, onboarding, and much more.

Adding text messaging is easy and fast. And it may be the patient and staff engagement and communication tool you didn't realize you've been missing.

Brandon Daniell is president and co-founder of Dialog Health, a cloud-based, two-way texting platform that enables vital information to be pushed to and pulled from patients and caregivers.

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