Who Cares What People Think? Why Social Proofing Is Business Critical in Physical Therapy


Patient reviews and testimonials are incredibly powerful tools for building trust and credibility in your physical therapy practice. Not only do they help attract new patients, but they also improve patient compliance and outcomes. In this post, we’ll explore how to effectively gather, use, and benefit from testimonials and customer reviews. You’ll not only find a whole range of practical strategies but we’ve produced a giant set of practical tools and resources to help you speed up and maximise the effectiveness of the process 🏃, including email template swipe files, and Canva arwork in the form of posters, review request cards, artwork, and checklists, to help you implement these techniques and grow your practice. We’ve also produced a standalone workbook which contains links to all these resources. If you want to cut to the chase, you can access that here.

Understanding the Power of Social Proof

Social proof is when people look to the actions and opinions of others to make their own decisions. This is especially powerful in physical therapy, where trust and credibility are essential.

Benefits of Social Proof

Increased Trust and Credibility: When potential patients see positive reviews, they are more likely to trust your services. Trust is crucial in healthcare, where patients are often vulnerable and need to feel confident in their choice of provider.

Higher Conversion Rates: Visitors to your website or social media pages are more likely to book an appointment when they see testimonials from satisfied patients. These reviews act as endorsements, making new patients feel more comfortable reaching out to you.

Better Online Visibility: More reviews can improve your search engine rankings, making it easier for new patients to find you. Google and other search engines favour businesses with frequent, positive reviews, which can help you stand out in local searches.

Enhanced Patient Retention: When current patients see their positive experiences shared, it reinforces their decision to stick with your practice. It also creates a sense of community and belonging, encouraging them to stay loyal.

Stronger Community Presence: Positive reviews from local patients help build a good reputation within your community, encouraging word-of-mouth referrals. A strong local reputation can be one of the most effective marketing tools available.

Improved Patient Compliance and Outcomes: When patients read about others’ successful recoveries, they’re more likely to follow their treatment plans closely, believing in the effectiveness of your care. This can lead to better health outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

Collecting Testimonials and Reviews

Getting testimonials doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some practical strategies to make the process seamless and effective.

Follow-Up Emails:
After a successful session, follow-up emails are a great way to request reviews. Timing is crucial; send the email soon after the appointment when the experience is still fresh in your patient’s mind. To help you get started, we’ve created an email template that you can download and customise. Or schedule your email software to send regular review requests, say every 3 months, and if possible opt people out of those specific email requests if they’ve already given you a review.

In-Person Requests:
Sometimes, the best time to ask for a review is right after a successful session, while the positive experience is still fresh in your patient’s mind. Approach it with a friendly request and provide them with a review request card.

Review Request Cards and Posters:
Having review request cards and posters in your clinic can make it easy for patients to leave a review. Place these in high-traffic areas such as the reception desk or waiting room. We’ve designed some printable posters and cards on Canva, that you can customise and print, to help streamline this process. You can download these resources at the following link.

Maximising Response Rates:
To increase the likelihood of receiving reviews, consider offering a small incentive, such as entry into a monthly prize draw for a free massage, for people who leave a review. Make sure to communicate this clearly in your emails (the PS. section is a great place to put this), in-person requests and on your review request cards and posters.

For free access to our email scripts, posters, postcards, leaflets and other resources, click here.

Integrating Testimonials into Your Marketing

Once you’ve gathered testimonials, it’s important to use them effectively to maximise their impact on your practice.

Feature testimonials prominently on your homepage and service pages. This helps new visitors see the positive experiences of others right away, building trust and encouraging them to book an appointment. You can create a dedicated testimonials page or embed reviews throughout your site where they are most relevant.

Social Media:
Share testimonials regularly on your social media channels. This not only highlights positive feedback but also keeps your social media content engaging. Use eye-catching graphics and quotes from your patients to draw attention. Make sure to use the hashtag #BuiltOnTrust to group related posts and make them easily searchable.

Email Campaigns:
Include testimonials in your email marketing to build trust and credibility. A well-placed testimonial can enhance the impact of your messages. For example, include a patient success story in your monthly newsletter or as part of a promotional email campaign. This can help reassure potential patients about the quality of your services.

Printed Materials:
Incorporate testimonials into your brochures, flyers, and other printed materials. When potential patients see positive reviews in your marketing materials, it reinforces your credibility and can encourage them to choose your practice.

Building Professional Credibility

Professional endorsements and certifications add another layer of credibility to your practice. Here’s how to effectively build and showcase your professional credibility.

Obtaining Endorsements:
Seek endorsements from respected professionals in your field. Think about your network – are there colleagues or mentors who can vouch for your expertise? Reach out to them for a professional endorsement. These endorsements can be featured on your website, social media, and other marketing materials.

Quantitative Proof Panels:
Create and use Quantitative Proof Panels to showcase measurable achievements. Here are some ideas for what to include:

  • Number of Patients Treated: Total patients treated since opening, new patients treated in the past year, patients treated in specific treatment categories.
  • Success Rates: Overall success rate of treatments, success rates for specific treatments or conditions, patient recovery times compared to industry averages.
  • Patient Satisfaction Scores: Average patient satisfaction score, percentage of patients who would recommend the practice, Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Patient Testimonials: Number of positive reviews received, percentage of 5-star reviews, standout testimonials with key quotes.
  • Treatment Outcomes: Percentage of patients achieving their treatment goals, improvement rates for specific metrics (e.g., range of motion, pain reduction).
  • Professional Credentials: Number of certified specialists in the practice, total years of combined professional experience among staff, number of professional development hours completed by staff annually.
  • Community Impact: Number of community events hosted or participated in, volunteer hours provided by the practice, partnerships with local businesses or sports teams.
  • Technology and Innovation: Number of advanced treatment technologies or techniques implemented, investment in new equipment or facilities.
  • Awards and Recognitions: Total number of awards received, specific notable awards.
  • Educational Contributions: Number of articles or papers published by staff, workshops or seminars conducted, staff members serving as guest speakers or lecturers.

Displaying these panels prominently on your website and in your clinic can be very persuasive to potential patients, providing hard evidence of your practice’s success.

Awards and Recognitions:
If your practice has received any awards or recognitions, make sure to showcase these achievements. Awards can significantly enhance your reputation and provide additional proof of your expertise and dedication. Include badges or mentions of these awards on your website, in email signatures, and in your clinic.

Handling Negative Reviews Constructively

Bad reviews happen, but they’re not the end of the world. In fact, they can be an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to improving patient care. Here’s how to handle negative reviews constructively:

Stay Calm:
When you receive a negative review, your first instinct might be to react defensively. However, it’s important to take a step back and cool off before responding. This is especially true if you’ve had a long day or if the review feels particularly harsh. Remember, a measured response can turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Respond Professionally:
Use the negative review as an opportunity to show that you care about your patients’ experiences and are committed to making things right. Here are some tips for crafting a professional response:

  • Acknowledge the Feedback: Thank the reviewer for their input, even if it’s negative. This shows that you value all feedback.
  • Apologise Sincerely: If there was an issue, apologise sincerely and explain how you plan to address it.
  • Offer a Solution: Provide a clear path to resolve the issue, whether it’s inviting the patient back for a follow-up visit or addressing the specific concern they raised.

Use Tools:
Drafting a response can be tricky, especially if the review is particularly emotional. Consider using tools like ChatGPT to help draft your response, or ask a trusted colleague for their input. This can help ensure your response is measured, professional, and effective.

Maintain Perspective:
Remember, it’s not personal. Negative reviews can sometimes be a reflection of a patient’s bad day or unmet expectations. By responding with empathy and professionalism, you can often turn a dissatisfied patient into a loyal one. Moreover, potential patients who see how well you handle negative feedback might be impressed by your commitment to patient satisfaction.

Examples of Good Responses:

  • Acknowledge and Apologise: “Thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry to hear that your experience didn’t meet your expectations. We strive to provide the best care possible and will use your feedback to improve our services.”
  • Offer a Solution: “We apologise for the inconvenience you experienced. We would like to make it right. Please contact our office so we can discuss how to address your concerns.”

By handling negative reviews constructively, you not only address the concerns of the reviewer but also demonstrate to potential patients that you are dedicated to providing excellent care and are willing to make improvements based on feedback.

Encouraging Better Patient Compliance and Outcomes

Positive reviews and testimonials do more than just attract new patients; they also play a significant role in improving patient compliance and outcomes. Here’s how you can leverage reviews to enhance these aspects of your practice:

Influencing Patient Behaviour:
When patients read about others’ successful recoveries and positive experiences, they’re more likely to trust your treatment plans and follow them closely. Testimonials provide real-world evidence that your methods are effective, boosting patients’ confidence in adhering to their prescribed regimens.

Using Testimonials to Reinforce Treatment Plans:
Incorporate patient testimonials into your follow-up communications and educational materials. For example, include a testimonial in an email reminder about the importance of completing exercises at home. This can serve as a motivational tool, showing patients that others have achieved positive results by sticking to their treatment plans.

Visual Aids:
If relevant and appropriate, use before-and-after photos, charts, and other visual aids in your clinic to illustrate the success of your treatments. These visuals, accompanied by patient testimonials, can serve as powerful motivators for patients to comply with their treatment plans.

By leveraging positive reviews and testimonials, you can enhance patient compliance and outcomes, leading to better overall satisfaction and success rates within your practice.

In Conclusion

Leveraging testimonials and reviews can significantly enhance the trust and credibility of your practice, leading to more patients and better outcomes. Start implementing these strategies today and you will quickly experience the benefits in your practice. Don’t forget to explore the additional free resources available below.

Additional Resources:

If you’d like more information, have questions or discuss whether my marketing solution is a good fit for your business, book a chat with me here.

Blog Author

Tor Davies

Co-Kinetic Founder

I’m a physio-turned publisher with a passion for technology and a ‘verging on OCD-like’ obsession with efficiency and effectiveness! I spend way too much time coming up with new ways of using technology to help practitioners develop their businesses, a topic that I also speak on regularly at global conferences. I’m mad about dogs and love pubs too 🙂