Much has been said about the importance of maintaining engagement with your patients in order to avoid drop-offs and comebacks after discharge. However, how to run an extensive program like that could be a difficult hurdle for owners to overcome. Thus they either don't make the effort or the program they start loses steam. That's where an automated engagement platform like Swell can minimize the time and effort in order to maximize the results (consider the 80/20 principle - this is the 20). Plus it helps you improve Google status by obtaining more, recent Google reviews. In this episode Baylee Jensen of Swell joins Nathan Shields to share the key things to note when obtaining Google reviews and how Swell can help you stay more engaged with your patients with less effort.
I have Baylee Jensen from Swell, which is a company that can help physical therapists in their in-patient engagement retention and also help them get more online reviews. Thanks for joining me, Baylee.
Thanks so much for having me, Nathan.
Baylee is Business Development and Partnership Manager for Swell. Her job especially is to work in this physical therapy space as we're talking about. She works with other healthcare industries, but we're talking specifically about physical therapy because she does have some experience specific to physical therapy. We wanted to help PT owners do a little bit better with that patient engagement side, the patient retention side, minimizes drop-offs, you name it, we're going to talk a lot about that. Before we get into that, Baylee, do you mind sharing with us a little bit about your professional path and what got you to where you are now and your experience with physical therapy?
I’ll take us back to college. I studied Communications in college. I loved it but I didn't know how that would apply to the real world. I found this space within tech that was communications. I’ve been working in the healthcare industry for years now. I was in dental for a while. I switched over into the medical rehab, podiatry, physical therapy, chiropractic. I do love physical therapy. Part of the reason is no injury is the same. You go into dental and there are a few things. It's like a plug and play but I like how different PT is and I love working with that. I work with our key opinion leaders, different organizations and companies within the PT space, of course, one-offs with my offices there.
What are you working on now and how are you focused on helping physical therapy and physical therapy owners at this time to improve that patient engagement side?
There are a few ways that we can take this. What this whole platform does and what we're trying to do is help automate but personalize that communication with those patients. We're all busy and we're living in such a very changing world. It's hard to get into that flow or have your schedule down. What we're trying to do is make it easy for the office to use but also easy for those patients to engage with.
What are some of the benefits to a program like yours? I had an interview with Heather Chavin of GoGoDone and she had written an article in Impact Magazine about how to better utilize our patient emails and social media and focus on retention. She outlined even in the article seven days straight of email campaigns from when that patient first starts to help them understand, “This is what we're expecting of you but there are also these hurdles that we're willing to work through you with. Expect these things work through these things,” but we're not talking those first seven days. We're talking email campaigns for post-discharge and then follow up stuff and maybe monthly or quarterly newsletters. There's a lot that owners could put out there but how do they do that? I assume it's a platform like Swell that could help them out.
Any business but especially a physical therapy clinic, it's a very dynamic process. You’ve got to get them in, then you treat them and then there's going to be a patient care plan. There are many steps. I’ve talked to a lot of physical therapy clinics and they'll spend a lot of money going to these marketing bootcamps or they're spending time and money marketing and spending all these campaigns. Without follow up and without that next step, you're not actually going to get that business into your practice. What we want to do is come in and automate that for you so that yes, you have those things running in the background but then you have a system that's going to take care of that and follow up. Yes, there's going to be a small piece to it but there's so much to worry about that we want to take a burden off of you and take that sales piece away from you and help you engage with those patients. Whether it's getting them in the door the first time or continuing to get them in as a customer for life.
Tell us a little bit about what you recommend physical therapy owners do. Whether they use Swell or something else, what are some of the recommendations that you offer?
Let's dive into the online platform space and reviews because that's going to be vital to any business, no matter what platform they're using. It's an interesting time and it's been coming for a while, but 93% of customers will read online reviews before making a purchase. Even if somebody is like, “I have the most amazing physical therapist, you’ve got to check them out,” they're still going to go check that online review. I love the saying, “Your business is only good as Google says it is.” Whether or not that's the case, to the people that haven't been in, that's all they see.
It's a perfect example of social proofing. Making sure that your online presence is in a good spot is vital, especially in these day and ages where a lot of these are telematter. Sometimes they're not coming in the office or they're checking things out online before then. It's important. A couple of other facts that I like is 97% of consumers use online media. Rather than trying to look elsewhere, they're going to look online. It's easier for them, easier for the business. Another 31% of them are willing to spend more money if it has better reviews. Even if you're not in the most price-effective option, if you have good service and good reviews, they're willing to come to you.
If someone were to say, “Get a referral from a physician, whether that's in-person or Telemed,” I can imagine one of the first things they're going to do is check out, “Where is this place? What is it? What does their website look like?” Inevitably, they're going to punch in maybe physical therapy. Nowadays, many physician referrals are like, “Here's a prescription. Go find it. I'm sure there's a physical therapist near you.” I know many physician offices are doing that nowadays. They're leaving it up to the patient to find. They’re going to punch in physical therapy near me and you want to have good reviews and get yourself moving up that SEO ladder. It's vital that we spend a little bit of energy on making sure those reviews are good. That's not just Google. I'm assuming you're also talking about Yelp and stuff like that too.
There are a few things in Google's algorithm that they look at and one of them is diversifying. They want to make sure that you are across a lot of different websites. It’s not just your Google website that helps with boosting your search rankings there.
What are some other websites that you could be on?Even if you're not in the most price-effective option, if you have good service and good reviews, patients will be willing to come to you. Click To Tweet
Your website is going to be important. A lot of times, this can happen there. If you get reviews on Google, you can repost them to your website. It's coming from two different sources. Facebook is good. If you have a blog, sometimes people will use those, Yelp, Healthgrades, whatever they want to there. There are services like Swell. We'll be able to push review invitations to any of those different platforms or multiple if they want. That is something to be aware of, having that across a couple of different platforms. Google is king and most people look there but you have people that maybe are from a different area.
I’ve talked to people in the Midwest and apparently Yelp is their go-to, not Google. Maybe they grew up there and they're coming here. They're still comfortable going to Yelp. We want to make sure that company is keeping aware of all of their platforms there. The other thing is that people get a little bit confused with SEO, paid ads and then Google reviews. Those get confusing or PPC. PPC is a paid ad. It's pay-per-click. I worked in 2019 in the marketing department. It was still my role is under marketing. I learned a lot. I don't know how people do marketing, but I applaud each and every one of you because it's a hard job. There's a lot to manage. PPC campaigns are good because you can reach a broader audience and you can target.
If you are looking to do a certain area or if you want to start targeting certain keywords like a sports injury, maybe you're starting to do a sports injury clinic or something along those lines, you can target those searches. You and I were talking about this. Anytime I go do a Google search, I see the little ad, I usually skip and then I want to go to those organic ones because you can pay for that. With your organic searches on Google, you can't pay for an increase in rankings. Obviously, it's supposed to be organic. There’s nothing that you can do to get that to move up. PPC is good. Most of Google's platform recommends that you do a little bit of both. Keep in mind, you're paying per click. You're not paying per customer. If they click on the ad or on your website, you're paying for that even if they don't convert. You want to make sure that you have a system in place to help get them converted. That can get complicated. You want to do like a retargeting campaign with an email based off of those clicks if you have a system reading that. That’s smart.
I haven't met a lot of physical therapists that do the PPC campaigns. Have you talked to anybody that's done much of that?
I have. Usually, it's through a marketing agency and I find where they get frustrating is the marketing agency is there to run the campaigns. The physical therapy clinic will provide the money and then they'll run the campaigns. It goes back to the physical therapist and their business to convert those patients. The problem is, is a lot of times they don't have the training or the know-how to do it. It gets tricky. It's good. More benefits will come from organic. The nice thing about organic reviews is that will also boost your SEO. Search Engine Optimization is what it stands for. There are a few things. If people are leaving comments in it, you want to make sure that you're responding to those. When they say certain words in there, it's based off of a keyword. If you're looking for back injury physical therapist or something like that, the more times that's mentioned, that will help you boost to the top.
The actual words that are in the reviews can improve your organic SEO.
It gets a little bit tricky too because when you're responding to that, we want to make sure we're HIPAA compliant. Most of those responses are going to be very general but what they say or if they say like a certain doctor's name or something that can typically help as well. When Google is looking at your local search rankings, it looks at five different things. It's going to be relevance, distance, prominence, quality and quantity. They're never going to release all of their algorithms but that's been standard. Those things are going to be ones that we want to look at. Pretty easy, quick takeaways. Relevance is how well does this match up for what people are looking for.
With that said, in your business profile, there's a spot that you can say like physical therapists in Ogden, Utah or whatever you want to say. If you're starting to treat different types of injuries or like I said, maybe sports therapy, put that in there physical therapy and sports therapy. That way, if someone's researching sports therapists, that's going to pop up under you, not just physical therapy. Make sure that you're using words that you would think that they would be searching for. That's going to help with relevance.
Where do you put that again?
In your Google My Business profile, there's a description area. Some people leave it blank. I wouldn't recommend it. You don't have to make it extra long but put it in a good description of what you guys do there.
Especially if you've got some niches or if you specialize in something, you want to make sure that's in there. As people are looking for let’s say physical therapy for runners, then you might want to add something, some descriptor like that in your Google profile.
What I would recommend for that, let's say the clinic is we target runners but maybe not a ton of runners are looking for that. Maybe like athletes because that's going to be more general and you're going to be able to get more. If you want to target runners, you can. When you're putting those things, in their thinking mind like, “What is the average person going to look for?” They're not as targeted necessarily, even though it might be. They're going to be broader. Think in a buyer's mind or some of those things. The next one is distance. You're going to want to make sure that your address is correct in there because that's one of the things that it'll look at. What does ‘near me’ look like? You want to make sure that's accurate. If you have a couple of different locations, make sure that they each have their own Google My Business page so it’s pulling in.
I’ve had that before where it's used an old address from a previous business that I was in and we had to update that or sometimes if your business is linked to your home address for some reason or other, it's going to bring up your home. You want to make sure it is the right address for sure.
I was talking to one of my physical therapy offices. They were like, “We were at our house and did physical therapy near me and our location didn't even pull up.” It's because it's using all five of these things. If it thinks that, “Even though this one is closest to you, I still found a better one. That's a little bit further away but it will fit your match better,” that's what it's going to pull. Google is built for the user's experience, not necessarily the business experience. Pretend like you're a buyer as you're getting some of these set up because that will help. The next one is prominence. This one is how well they're known online, like what I was saying.
Diversifying that SEO is going to help. What I recommend, if you have a Facebook page, you don't necessarily need to direct people there. With our Swell platform, if someone leaves you a Google review, you can repost it to Facebook. You don't have to do double the work but it's helping that SEO. You'll pop up a little bit quicker as well. Next one, these ones are very self-explanatory, but quality. What we like to recommend is we want 4.7 or above stars. Typically, people don't go below that. The other thing to keep in mind and maybe this is me, but a lot of people feel like this is there's the first page. You can go to the second page and then you can go to the third page.
Majority, 90% of people will make a decision based off that first page. Even if you're like, “I have way more reviews than these top guys,” it's like, “Let's still get you to the top of the list because then you're going to be that much more seen because people don't take the time to move forward.” The last one is quantity. The way that Google looks at it is going to be the number of reviews fresh and then frequent. Even if you had 500 reviews but you didn't get a review in the last four months, it's going to be like, “We don't know if their service is still that great.” What it's going to look for is to make sure that those are coming in frequently and that those are being responded to.
You see that with a lot of physical therapists. They think, “Our goal is to get blank number of Google reviews.” They push out this program and they get a bunch of reviews. Maybe they got 40, 50 reviews in a one-month period and then it falls off. They don't come back around to it for another year or two years. You're saying that might help you for that month, but the effectiveness is lost after that.
Think about it if it was you. For instance, a couple of years ago, I went to Hawaii. I was the only single in there. I got the short end of the stick and I was sleeping on the pullout couch. I don't know if it was that or surfing or what, but I did something to my back and I had never been to a physical therapist before, but I was like, “I got to find one.” All that I could do was go online and search. Even if I saw one that had great reviews, but it had been a long time, as a consumer, I'm like, “I don't know. Maybe let's look for somebody that got a review last week that they had a great experience.”
I feel the same way. Even in product searches and Amazon or something like that, I want to see something that's a little bit fresher, not something from 2017. The more you can keep that relevant and up-to-date, that lends more credence to you for one reason or another. I don't know what it is but that recency means something to me as a consumer.
It will help within those rankings there. The other thing is to make sure you're responding to those. It doesn't have to be anything that's super detailed. It'll be HIPAA compliant. The Swell platform will let you respond right in Swell so you don't have to go check like Facebook, Google, Yelp, whatever. You can do it there. You can have templated responses. If it's a five-star, “Awesome, thanks so much for coming in. I’m glad you had a good experience,” or something. Even if the patient doesn't see it, the algorithm likes that because it will help boost.
A lot of what you're talking about has to become then like a system or an ongoing process that is built into the physical therapy experience from the administrative end. There's got to be a process to that. I'm sure you walk owners through this in developing a system to make this an ongoing thing and not a one and done project.
I was talking to someone and they invested in a new laser worth $60,000 or something like that. They were stoked on it but it's like, “That's awesome. You have a great plan in place of how to upsell that. If you don't get patients in the door, what are your opportunities to do that?” It is that full cycle of like, “Got to get them in the door. We can give him the treatment, then let's get them a review so that other people can see that.” It is that loop. We understand there's so much going on. As a physical therapist, your number one priority is patient care. You're not as worried about some of these things. That's where we want to come in as a platform and say like, “We know you have other focuses. Let us take over and automate a lot of this so you don't have to worry about it. While it's important, we can help lift some of that for you.”
That platform is definitely needed because a lot of people in my audience, they're like, “I'm treating full-time and then I'm trying to run my business on the weekends. I don't know how you expect me to do all this stuff.” The reason I bring people like you on is I'm trying to say, “There are resources out there, maybe I’ll have to look. Here's Baylee sitting here that can help you and give you an idea of let's automate these things for you.” It's part of the new patient process or discharge process, you name it. That being, “Put them into this email system. Our process means we need to get a review or at least get them an email or text that day or the following day to, “Please write a review. Here's the link.” It makes it as easy as possible for the patient to do it as well. If we're putting through them through a lot of hoops to give us a review, then it's more than likely not going to happen. That's where a program and a platform like yours are so vital to a physical therapy owner’s success and retention engagement and all these things that we're talking about.
We talked about this as well, but I got back from a trip and had great experiences and was asked to leave a review. I didn't have the link and I couldn't remember what it was. It's not even that I wasn't willing to. It was, it just wasn't easy for me. We're all very lazy and we're busy and we have a lot going on as a patient. Making it very simple for the patients but also simple for your office is going to be huge for both ends to maximize that. Anything with a system or a software, it's only as good as your training is and as your office is going to use it. That's where we want to come in. Even if you were using only 10%, so much of this as automated that you should still see a good increase even if you didn't have time to touch it.
If we can go in there and look at some things and some metrics, there's a lot that you can learn. If you’ve got a review and you want it to go down by practitioner, if you want to look at, “Who treated them or who checked them in or what was the service that they got,” you can filter that down. It’s like, “This is getting a lot of great reviews. Maybe we should do a marketing push for this. It's the end of the year. Let's run a promotion for the holidays,” or something like that. You can get as creative as you want but having that platform there to make it easy, like you said, for the patient is going to be huge.
Do you guys recommend more texts? Do you recommend more email? Which has been better responded to in the past?
Text is going to be best. Think about it. If it was you, how quickly are you to respond to an email versus a text? As a human being, we're in there a little bit more, especially as the generations are getting younger and younger, it's a quicker response. The other nice thing too is we can have it go out from their actual business member if they want. Those patients will recognize it. If not, we can do a local area code, but it will never be a short code. It's a little bit easier and quicker for them. The other thing that we recommend and we can have set up automatically is a lot of offices or systems will send it out right after or right when the patient's in the office.
Maybe you have to run back to work or you're taking your kids to soccer practice or you have things going on. You want to do it, but you don't have the time. We'll usually send it out in that evening, say between 6:30 and 7:30 PM when they're home and settled and be like, “Now I have two seconds to do this.” With that, if they don't, we can send a reminder the next day or in seven days a sequence like you were talking about. It captured that patient.As a physical therapist, your number one priority is patient care. The other things, you can automate. Click To Tweet
Do you find that the 6:30 to 7:30 PM timeframe is a magical hour?
It's been nuts. One thing that's nice too with our platform is we're Google-sponsored. We're powered by Google, which helps. That was going to be something that helps respond with that. Also, we find that hour has increased it. The number that we say, “Keep in mind, this is going to sound low,” but for reviews and for engagement, we see about 10% of those reviews that are being sent out responded to. That seems low but keep in mind if you were at zero. If you're seeing twelve patients a day and we can get one a day, that's going to be massive for the business.
First of all, do you have to get permission to send out regular texts to a patient like that?
We're HIPAA compliant, CAN-SPAM compliant, all those things. The only thing is if they want to unsubscribe, they can click stop to subscribe to them. If they don't want to receive that, they don't have to but that's typically why we want to do some value with it like, “Thanks so much for coming in. Here's next steps for your treatment. Could you also leave us a review?” If that patient is saying like, “This has benefited my treatment plan. I don't want to unsubscribe from this thing.”
There could be a lot of value if that 1st, 2nd or 3rd text is, “Thank you for coming in. Here's a link to your home exercise program if you have that thing set up. If you don't mind, if you've had a good experience, please share your review online. Here's the link for that.” That makes it very simple and easy for them in all three phases.
We can even do more specific ones. Depending on the EMR system that you're using, if we're integrated with them, we can even pull based off of the person that was seen with them. If you want to have a certain doctor's picture or we can do the logo and then we can even pull in dynamic fields. Of course, it’s their name and a certain treatment that they were seen for. Based off of the code, it looks more personalized to them and people respond better to that. The office doesn't have to do anything with it. It's set up and good to go.
Are there some EMRs that you do work seamlessly with and others that you don't?
We have 90% of the market. The ones that don't, we can still work with what we do as a CSV upload of the patients. It's not a problem. Most of them we work with.
What are some of the other things that you might recommend owners, either email out or texts and requests? I know a lot of owners might work off of NPS scores or they might work off wanting other feedback. What are some other things that owners might be looking for with these texts and emails?
It depends on the office. Some people love data and so they want to get that feedback. We offer NPS. We can send those out as well. That's going to be like, “How highly would you recommend this thumbs up, thumbs down thing?” NPS stands for Net Promoter Score. We also have a system that's going to be like a ten-question survey. If you want to drill down a little bit more, you can do that. Keep in mind, you're going to see a higher drop-off per click that patient will do. That's why our reviews area one-click to the site thing.
If they're doing a survey, do you recommend a certain number of questions considering it does take more clicks? Is it better to have a 3 or 4 question survey versus a ten-question survey or have you found that matters?
It depends on what they're looking to find out. If it's about a certain new laser or a treatment that they got or if it's a new person in there, maybe you only need a few questions. If you're like, “I feel like we have a whole within our system, when you get some more information on it.” I probably wouldn't send that out to every patient that you see. That conversation usually is a little bit better of like in the office like, “We're learning or working on how to better our system here. Would you mind filling out a short survey?” That goes a long way. The other thing that is big as well is think about this if you were a consumer. With mine, when I booked it, I didn't even know if they accepted my insurance.
I was like, “They have great reviews. Their website looks awesome. I need help now.” On their website, if you have a webchat feature that they can communicate with you before having to make that call, as a patient, sometimes we're either at work when we don't have time to do that or don't want to be up-sold. We're just trying to do some due diligence. Having a system that they can communicate with the office without having to make that actual connection is big. We can do a web chat feature. It's nice because it goes right to the message board. You can manage any web chat feature or web chats, Facebook messages or text messages all at one place that makes it easy for the office
Does it come up into the Swell app that's on your computer or phone?
Is there anything else that you want to share in regards to value that you could provide for the audience or any other gadgets or cool things about Swell that you want to share?
There are a few other systems within there but what we want to do is not take away a front desk person per se but if we can save time so that they can focus on other things. We want to be like another person in the office but it's a lot cheaper.
That's the last thing I want to do for my front desk person because I know I was very sheepish about adding more to their plate because they're answering the phones and they're scheduling patients. They're trying to engage the person that's coming in. They might be verifying insurances, which takes forever and is a headache or dealing with a patient that's trying to reschedule. The last thing you want to do is come in and say, “Can you add this and do this more?” If this is something that is pushed over to them, they get some push notifications like, “Someone has got a question about that.” Maybe it's easier for them to type an answer because now on top of that, trying to ask them to get the review from the patient could be hard. If that's an automated process that doesn't necessarily have to go through the front desk, if instead they maybe click on that patient and it starts that campaign, that made things a lot easier
You don’t even have to click on the patient. It can be scheduled. If you're like, “I want to go the day of,” great. It starts. It's nice. It's ironic that I work for a tech company and I'm not super technical myself, but it is very simple to use. We've designed it for that because I’ve talked with tons of offices over the years and they're like, “I'm so comfortable with what I have but it scares me to switch platforms,” or, “I don't know how to use that.” Maybe they graduated from high school or whatever it is. We want it to be easy for anyone to use. The Swell system is self-explanatory that way.
Especially with the pandemic of 2020, the way we were engaging with patients in 2019 is completely different in 2020. It needs to be. It forced owners to recognize that they need to be a little bit more socially engaged and not rely on the in-person physician referrals or the community events, if you will. Let's admit it, physical therapists are usually a couple of decades behind technologically and so we got to get away from the paper. It forced us into the 21st century and that's where a platform like yours can be helpful.
You can look at it 1 of 2 ways. It's either a blessing or a curse but usually, people don't have a physical therapist on hand. It's not like they're dentists that they're seeing every six months. If they get an injury, then they're going to go look for that. If your house was flooding and you're in a panic, you're going to quickly go online to find somebody. It’s the same thing with this. They don't necessarily have time to be doing all this due diligence to ask around, to go to a normal physician and ask for referrals. Their online platform is the number one place that they're going to get business these days.
What I like about your platform is it can be text, email or both because as you've got a current patient, maybe text is more appropriate. If you're sending out information to a patient from two years ago, I don't know if text is necessarily appropriate, but you can still do the email thing and keep them engaged so that you do become their physical therapist. It’s like you have your own dentist that you go to. When you have an injury that crops up, you want to make sure that you are that physical therapist that they go to on a regular basis. I liked that you guys can use texts and email to your advantage and you can also maintain that engagement forever, especially at post-discharge to make sure you stay in their mindset when friends or family members do get injured.
It depends on their injury but you can have a system set up of like, “I treated you. We had our three-week treatment series but I want to check on you in 3 and 6 months to see how you're healing or how things are going.” A lot of times, offices don't have time for that. They're swamped and they don't have time to do that follow-up and a lot of times patients don't remember that. If we can have something set up where we're reactivating those patients and getting them back into the practice, that's going to be huge for them.
If you could share your contact information if people are interested in the program, go ahead. How can we get in touch with you?
I will share my email, Baylee@SwellCX.com. You can email me there. I’ll even give you my cell phone number, (801) 708-9215 or you want to go around and peek at the website before you're communicating with someone. It's SwellCX.com. You can even schedule a demo from there if you want or you can text me. If you want to see more of the product and how it works, let me know and we can get that hooked up for you.
Thank you for taking the time to be on and sharing some information for PT owners. Hopefully, they take advantage of it and utilize something technological to get those reviews and also stay engaged with their patients.
Thanks for having me, Nathan. I had a blast.
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