How to Get Compelling Patient Testimonials

Learn what makes a compelling patient testimonial and how to capture authentic stories from satisfied patients.
April 18, 2024
7 min

Authentic stories from satisfied patients are a great way to validate the quality of care you provide. As more and more patients look at reviews before choosing a physician, patient testimonials are becoming the cornerstone of trust for healthcare organizations.

With that in mind, let’s see what are the most effective strategies for capturing genuine testimonials that reflect the trustworthiness and competence of your services. 

What is a patient testimonial?

A patient testimonial is a personal account of experiences and satisfaction with provided healthcare services. It can take various forms, including written statements, video recordings, or audio messages. 

Each format offers a unique way to convey the patient’s story, with videos providing a more personal touch and the strongest emotional impact.

Unlike online patient reviews, which are often brief and submitted anonymously on third-party platforms, testimonials are typically more detailed and associated directly with a healthcare provider’s marketing efforts. They usually sit somewhere on your website and offer a curated form of feedback that showcases the best of what your services have to offer.

The elements of a compelling patient testimonial

While not every testimonial needs to encapsulate every trait listed below, the most impactful ones often will tick more than one box.

A list of characteristics of a great patient testimonial.

A compelling patient testimonial should be:

  • Authentic: The more genuine a testimonial feels, the stronger impact it will have. Encourage patients to speak freely about their feelings and outcomes.
  • Specific: A great testimonial goes beyond generic praise to include specific details about what made the experience exceptional. This might include aspects of the patient care received, the professionalism of the staff, or the outcomes of the treatment
  • Relatable: Including a brief background about the patient can make a testimonial more relatable to potential patients. Knowing that someone with a similar condition or circumstances had a positive experience can be very reassuring.
  • Emotionally impactful: The best testimonials touch on the emotional aspects of the patient's journey. Describing feelings of relief, happiness, or satisfaction can be powerful in connecting with future patients.
  • Outcome-focused: Potential patients are very interested in outcomes. An impactful testimonial will mention details about improvements in health, recovery times, and overall satisfaction with the results.
  • Credible: Including visual elements such as before-and-after photos or videos can greatly enhance the credibility and impact of a patient testimonial.
  • Addressing common concerns: Testimonials that address common concerns or fears about a treatment or procedure can be particularly effective in reassuring more skeptical patients.
  • Brief and coherent: While detail is important, testimonials should also be concise and clear to maintain the reader's interest and convey the message effectively.
  • Obtained in the right way: Get explicit permission from patients before sharing their stories on your website or in other promotional materials.

In general, whenever possible, try to showcase a variety of experiences by featuring different treatments, patient demographics, and outcomes. 

Examples of great patient testimonials

It’s time to turn theory into practice. Below, we highlight a few testimonials that exemplify best practices in capturing and sharing patient voices.

Example #1: Dental patient testimonial

An example of a dental patient testimonial from Arena Dental.
Dental patient testimonial example. Source: Arena Dental

What makes this testimonial great:

  • Tells a personal story, with a face and name behind it.
  • Highlights the quality and speed of provided service.
  • Highlights how approachable and professional the staff is.
  • Tackles the important pain point many people have (the fear of going to the dentist) which makes it more relatable.

All of this makes this testimonial authentic and emotionally impactful.

Example 2: Eye clinic testimonial

"After decades of contributing to plastic waste with contact lenses, I opted for lens replacement surgery to reduce my environmental footprint. Dr. Jan Venter guided me through the process, making it easy and comforting, significantly improving my vision and lifestyle. Now, I no longer contribute to ocean plastic pollution, fulfilling a personal and environmental goal."

What makes this testimonial great:

  • It tells a genuine personal story.
  • It is outcome-focused and emotionally impactful, emphasizing significant personal and environmental benefits. 
  • It is specific and credible, mentioning the doctor’s name and the exact procedure in question. 

You can find the full testimonial page here.

Example 3: Laser eye surgery testimonial

"Struggling with contact lenses during competitive swimming, I opted for laser eye surgery to eliminate the inconvenience and fear of losing vision during practice. Since the surgery, my vision is perfect, boosting my performance and confidence in the pool."

What makes this testimonial great:

  • Again, it is authentic and emotionally impactful. 
  • It discusses tangible benefits experienced after having the procedure.
  • It addresses common concerns about vision correction in a competitive context, making it relatable to athletes and others who engage in water sports.

You can find the full testimonial page here.

How to ask for testimonials from patients

Getting powerful patient testimonials is easier said than done. Here are some tips on when and how to approach your patients.

1. Find the right time

Ideally, these kinds of requests should be made when a patient’s experience is fresh in their mind. Think:

  • After the patient has experienced a positive outcome — after a successful procedure, at the end of a treatment cycle, or after a particularly comforting consultation.
  • During the closing moments of a patient’s visit. This can be done either by the healthcare provider or at the reception when the patient is completing the visit formalities.
  • During follow-up communication: If the immediate post-visit doesn’t seem appropriate, follow-up appointments or communication (such as a thank-you email or satisfaction survey) provide another opportunity.
  • After sharing good news: If you have good news to share (like improved lab results or a positive health update), it might be a good moment to ask for a testimonial.
  • During seasonal check-ins: For patients on long-term treatment plans, you could ask for a testimonial during an annual review or treatment milestone.

Identifying the right moment to ask for a testimonial involves understanding both the emotional and practical circumstances of your patients. By choosing a time when patients feel most positive about their experience, you will have a better chance of getting a (great) testimonial.

Of course, a lot of the success will hinge on how you ask, not just when.

2. Personalize your request

To increase the likelihood of receiving a testimonial, tailor your request to each individual. Use the patient’s name, reference specific aspects of their treatment, and explain why their particular story is invaluable to others considering similar care. 

Personalization demonstrates your genuine appreciation of their journey and reinforces the personal connection, making them more likely to share their experiences.

Before popping the question, consider the communication method that best suits the patient — whether it’s a direct conversation (highly recommended if you want to tape a video testimonial), a personalized email, or a hand-written note.

Here is an example of a potential email template you could use.

An email template clinics could you to ask for patient testimonials.

Your testimonial request message could be polished to match the tone, style, and services of your clinic, and be even more personal. But you get the gist.

3. Make it easy

Make the process of leaving a testimonial as user-friendly as possible. Provide simple, straightforward methods for patients to share their stories by:

  • Offering multiple channels: online forms, emails, messages in WhatsApp/Viber, and even physical forms they can fill out while still at your facility. 
  • Show examples and suggest areas to focus on. They serve as an inspiration and help patients get started.

Providing clear instructions and minimizing the time required to submit a testimonial are key — the fewer barriers there are, the more likely patients are to complete the process.

4. Provide guidance, not scripts

It's helpful to guide patients on the kind of information that might be useful in a testimonial, such as detailing the treatment process, the professionalism of the staff, or the effectiveness of the care received. 

However, it’s crucial to ensure that their narrative remains genuine. Encourage patients to speak freely about their experiences, emphasizing the importance of using their own voice rather than adhering to a pre-written script.

Offering prompts can help patients start their testimonial — but allow them the freedom to express their thoughts fully and openly. You want to capture the authenticity of their account, which is more relatable and trustworthy to prospective patients.

5. Follow up

If a patient has agreed to provide a testimonial but hasn't submitted one yet, a respectful follow-up is ok. One or two simple reminders, whether through an email or SMS/phone app message, can re-engage their interest and demonstrate that you value their contribution. 

Ensure that your follow-ups are courteous and infrequent to avoid coming across as pushy.

Get impactful patient testimonials with InsiderCX

InsiderCX is a patient experience platform that helps healthcare providers gather and analyze patient feedback and generate more patient reviews. 

Private clinics of all types and sizes use our mobile surveys to measure patient satisfaction. After they submit the survey, patients that expressed high levels of satisfactions are politely asked to leave an online review, rate the clinic, or leave a patient testimonial. 

Usually, there is a link included that leads them directly to a page or form where they can do that.

The patients are already in the process of leaving feedback, so this is one small extra step. It’s simple, and that is why it works.

If you need help generating more patient testimonials without hours of added admin work, reach out to our team and let’s find you a suitable solution.

InsiderCX Editorial Team
This article was researched, written, polished, and published by the InsiderCX editorial team.

Want data to improve patient experience & satisfaction?

Patient experience platform dashboard.

Easily collect and analyze patient feedback. Get actionable insights to optimize processes and raise care quality.

Start your free pilot project today

Analyze patient feedback. Optimize workflows to deliver a superb patient experience. Stop your never-ending battle with patient retention.