4 Tips For Improving Online Reviews
by Bob Main - Web Presence Coach/Consultant
If your practice relies on patients that value quality over price, this first bit of data should make you happy. 52% of consumers reported that positive customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business compared to just 28% who make their selection based on other factors like location and price. Even more encouraging, 52% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations, assuming they look authentic (data from HubSpot.com).
Online review websites such as Yelp, Google, and Citysearch become online archives of consumer/patient opinions on how a practice compares to other optical options. In case you were not aware, anyone can review you on these platforms, without you setting up an account and without your permission (or even knowledge of the review). If so many people are persuaded by online reviews, don’t you think it would be important to have a good in-house program to monitor and manage online reviews?
Even so, many practices don’t take the time to actively monitor and manage reviews, thinking their sole focus should be on day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, there are cases where negative reviews have had a severe negative effect on the practice. This means practices need to not only respond to negative reviews, but also promote the positive ones. Here are four key tactics for how to do this.
1. Pay Attention to What Patients Are Saying Online
Monitor the web for people talking about your practice by using Google Alerts. or similar web monitoring sites. Or subscribe to a reputation management service, such as www.reputation.com, to monitor all mentions of your company across the Web. Most review websites will notify you via email when new reviews are posted if you set up an account (page) on their site (i.e. Yelp).
2. Generate More Reviews
Most satisfied patients won’t take the time to post a review unless you specifically ask them to do it and show them where. Make it easy by signing up for an online service, such as www.SolutionReach.com, that automatically emails your patients after an office visit to request they submit a review. This simple technique has proven to dramatically increase the number of positive reviews for the practice.
3. Promote Your Positive Reputation on All Web Properties
Make sure that a ‘read my reviews’ button is prominently displayed on your website and on social media pages. This provides a compelling call-to-action for patients (and potential patients) to read and also write reviews. To get started, create a separate web page that lists your reviews, preferably updated automatically or linked directly to your business’ profiles on reviews sites. A company like Solution Reach will supply your webmaster with a code to display reviews real-time on your website. In e-newsletters, add a link to the page on your website that has the practice's patient reviews.
4. Respond Quickly With a Personal Touch
Create a policy for responding to negative (and positive) online reviews. Designate one person (that has had some training) in the practice to act as the spokesperson in these situations. When a negative review appears, respond in a timely fashion, ideally via a private message, assuming you can determine the reviewer’s identity and contact details. Acknowledge their dissatisfaction and describe how you plan to resolve the issue.
Always post a thoughtful public response to the review that explains how you have fixed the problem and attempted to resolve the situation with the patient.
People weigh the opinions of others heavily, even when they don’t know them. That said, they are more likely to trust a practice that takes time to respond to reviews with the goal of improving patient service. Patients will naturally gravitate to a practice that display a human element.
Remember, when it comes to managing online reviews and promoting (protecting) your practice professional reputation, the best defense is always a good offense.
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