Do your online reviews matter? Absolutely! Seventy-two percent of patients say they use online reviews “often” or “sometimes,” and the other quarter of them use reviews but “rarely.” And when those patients are deciding between two medical providers, they will choose the one with better online reviews 91 percent of the time.
Those numbers represent a pretty big chunk of your client base, so it’s pretty important to make sure not just that you have reviews online, but that these reviews are great! To gather a lot of great reviews, make sure you keep your profiles updated, ask for reviews, make it easy to review, and respond to negative reviews.
Update Your Profile So You Show Up at the Top of the List
You want your future patients to have a great first impression of you. Since that first impression is likely happening online, you need to make sure your online profiles are up to date and helpful. It should be easy for your patients to find and contact you. You can do that by making sure these categories are present and current:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Business hours
- Address Business category or categories
For Google, these categories need to match the details on your website. Otherwise, “Google will consider the data outdated and may penalize you for it.” So make sure your information is current and consistent across platforms. Doing so will make your patients, and the review site, happy.
No matter the practice, there are going to be patients who are unhappy or have questions. So involve your staff, and make reviews part of the process! After you or staff resolve an issue, ask if the patient would like to review your business on one of your online profiles. This crucial moment is a great time to ask, since the quality of your practice will be top-of-mind and “feedback collected immediately after an event is on average 40% more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours later.”
Doctors can get in on the review-requesting, too.
“Smart doctors will ask happy patients to post reviews as another way to spread the word of their professionalism,” says Jeff Barrett, CEO of Barrett Digital. “As more physicians venture out into private practices, the need for comprehensive patient marketing and management solutions is quickly becoming a priority.”
Make sure you’re asking for reviews from all of your patients—even if they don’t have anything nice to say. Why? Because 68 percent of consumers trust a business more when they see bad reviews mixed in with the good.
Make It Easy
When patients leave you a review, they’re doing you a huge favor. The least you could do is make the process easy for them.
“Being social and accessible is the best way to get honest feedback,” says social media marketing expert Megan O’Brien. “Make your [review profiles] easily accessible . . . so customers can reach out with comments and questions.”’
Consider adding links to your social media profiles to your website’s homepage where patients can’t help but see them. Another way to make it easy is to print out how-to-review cards and either hand them out or make them accessible at the front desk.
Respond to Negative Reviews
If you’re like many healthcare professionals, you get online to check out your practice’s social media presence and are shocked by the number of negative reviews. You know that the ratio of negative to positive reviews is not at all reflective of your patients’ actual experiences.
While you do want a healthy variety of reviews, “negative reviews have convinced 94 percent of consumers to avoid a business.” The good news is that “45 percent of consumers say that they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.”
How should you respond to negative reviews? Here are some tips:
- Apologize, even if you are sure you’re not in the wrong.
- Be specific. You don’t have to craft an entirely new response every time—you can use a basic template—but make sure you mention the reviewer’s main concern.
- Move the discussion offline. You rarely will be able to resolve a problem in an online comment. Invite the reviewer to call your practice and ask to speak with the specific person who can help him or her.
- Keep it brief. You don’t want to sound defensive or add details that might make the patient even more upset. Three to four sentences should do it.
Following these tips can increase the amount and quality of reviews your practice is getting online. Keep your profiles updated, ask for reviews, make it easy to review, and respond to negative reviews. You’ll be glad you did!
If you'd like to streamline reviews, check out the Cortex Platform. We offer in-house survey options and patient call feedback. Contact us below.