“Welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.” – Brian Solis
Enough said. Marketing your practice today has much more to do with what your patients think of you and not so much what you want them to think. We don’t need to rehash all the reasons why online reviews are so important but just in case, let’s do a quick overview:
- 92% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews (BrightLocal)
- 90% of participants said positive online reviews influenced their buying decision (Zendesk)
- Online reviews appear in organic search engine results and help with online visibility
- Potential patients are reading them!
The last bullet sums it up best. Potential patients these days are using online reviews to help them find the right practitioner. Even word-of-mouth referrals are looking you up before they call to make that appointment which means you need to take an active role in making sure to get those reviews. Reviews are hard to obtain as it is, so it’s important to make it a priority.
Let’s look at some easy ways to do this:
1. Give your patients a great experience
I know, no one wants to hear this one but it must be said. Not only are happy patients more willing to leave reviews but Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 people about poor experiences (American Express Survey). We won’t linger here but if you want good reviews, you have to care about what level of service you provide and if your patients are actually happy. Simple as that.
2. Make it easy to leave a review
Your patients care first and foremost about their care and not so much about your marketing goals which is more of a reason to make it easy for them to leave a review if they do go out of their way. Try out some of these ideas:
- Create or claim your listing on review sites:
Find your business listing on major review sites for your specialty like Google, Yelp or even a Facebook page (hopefully you have one by now). You can also do a local search for your specialty and see which review sites come up high in the search engine results pages (SERPs), then create a listing on those sites.
- Create a review webpage:
A review page can be extremely convenient for your patients to use. Include a brief message about how you value their opinion, throw up the links to your review sites and include instructional videos on how to leave reviews. This will allow you to just hand out the URL to your review page and all the info they need is right there in one place.
- Add icons to your website:
At the very least, make sure to include the icons to your review sites visibly on every page of your site. This way, patients will easily be able to get to your page if and when they do leave a review.
- Hand out tangible reminders:
We are busy and distracted people which means we may intend to leave a review, but it’s likely we’ll forget. Create a business card or flyer with your review site info and hand it to patients on their way out. Giving them a tangible reminder can very well do the trick.
3. Just ask for them
Your patients know how important reviews are for your practice and if they’re happy with your service, they’ll be happy to leave you a review – all you have to do is ask. Just keep these tips in mind:
- Ask the right patients:
Pretty straightforward here. You of course want to ask satisfied patients to leave you a review. You can also focus on patients who have returned to your office or referred in the past. These patients are obviously happy with your service. You can also focus on the younger population who may be more active online or even specifically reach out to patients with a Gmail address for instance, to leave you a Google review.
- Ask at the right time:
Don’t wait too long to ask for a review. Your patients are more likely to leave you a review right away when their experience is fresh in their mind. If you’re requesting them to leave a review via email, just make sure to send it out immediately following their appointment.
- Make sure your staff is asking:
Having your staff on board will only help your efforts to get more reviews. In most cases, they are the ones who interact with patients the most anyway. Make sure your team is aware of your goals and the protocols and you can even incentivize them to get reviews for an extra boost.
Remember, reviews are not easy to get and it’s not likely (or recommended) that you get a whole bunch in a short amount of time. It’s a slow but necessary process so make sure to incorporate as many of these ideas to make sure those reviews are coming in.