December 10, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team
Today we look for Google reviews for just about everything - from deciding a takeout order on a lazy Friday night, to comparing health insurance plans after starting a new job, and now even our doctors. Online reviews are the building blocks of your practice's reputation. Medical practices are the third most commonly reviewed business after restaurants and hotels. Online reviews are important for your practice, yet a lot of doctors still admit to overwhelmed on where to begin. There are some common mistakes any practice can encounter when looking to build their online presence with reviews.
The good news is that you don't need to revamp the wheel. Small, actionable steps are all you need to start your online journey and take your practice from "good" to "all-star".
Let's say your practice is doing well. Patients talk about you with friends and family. You are receiving good reviews and your patients love you.
Now the problem is only you and your staff know it. Not providing any platform to your patients to give feedback is like telling them not to talk about you. The practice is not limited to your physical office only. Your practice should be online. When you don't have an online review platform for your practice, you lose a lot of potential patients to your competitors that utilize online feedback platforms to build word-of-mouth references.
Loyal and happy patients can help you gain more patients by providing positive feedback. For example, a loyal patient brings four more patients for you by talking in person about your practice. And that one patient can generate 1,000 more views for your practice. And if 2% of these views become patients, that's 20 new patients over time.
According to a survey, 59% of consumers choose a business after reading 2-3 reviews online on different platforms. Also, a study shows that information varies from one review platform to another. Because of this reason, it's a good idea to create a review page on different review websites to give your patients a diverse option to engage.
Don't be scared of negative reviews. Patients would like to see a variety of honest reviews, but that doesn't mean that they all need to be five-star reviews. If you have only positive reviews on your website, then patients may think it's an advertising scheme or that the reviews were bought. How you handle negative reviews affects your online presence.
First, you should be ready to face a negative review of any kind. The reason behind the negative review may be valid or can be completely arbitrary, from the receptionist's attitude to even the temperature of the office. Whatever the reason behind the negative review, always responds professionally.
A study revealed that patients believe it was important for physicians themselves to respond to negative reviews online. Thank your patients for taking the time to provide feedback and apologize for the experience they had. Also, don't disclose patients' private health information when replying to reviews. Patients, whether happy or unhappy, always love the openness from their doctors. Let them know that you care for them and make unhappy patients your priority, and even if they are unsatisfied with your response, you'll have handled their concerns in the best way possible.
A study shows that most of the consumer read reviews online before trusting your practice. When it comes to the rest of the people, only 10 percent of patients leave online reviews.
How do you get the remaining 90 percent of patients to join?
When your patients leave your office happily, don't forget to ask for a review. Most of the time, your patients had an amazing experience with your practice, and they would love to share it. So it starts with your front desk executive asking your patients to provide a review. Next, train your staff to give verbal reminders for those who agree to give a review and guide them to take the next step.
In today's world, an online review is a part of running a business, so face it. Approach them fearlessly and leverage the exposure they give in your favor. Having a bad review of your practice? Respond professionally, and your patients will perceive you to be responsible. Automate your review process; make it easy for patients to vouch for you. These small steps will add up to big results.