How Patient Reviews Can Make or Break Your Practice
Many physicians believe that they first interact with the patient at the initial appointment. But few realize that the patient has most likely been engaging with their practice for weeks prior to their visit.
A survey in 2020 found that 77% of patients reference online reviews as the first step in finding their ideal physician. This means that your number of potential clients depends heavily on how established or balanced your online reputation is.
6 Reasons Why Patient Reviews are Important
Patient reviews are more than just star ratings on Google or Facebook. They hold value for both your practice and patients, and can be used to grow your business.
- Reviews help you establish trust before the visit
When you go to purchase an item or find somewhere to eat, what is the first thing you do? You probably look it up online to see what other consumers are saying about the product or establishment. Patients do the same thing when looking for a physician.
When you have a healthy amount of positive reviews on your Google My Business, Facebook page, and other review platforms, you make a great first impression before they even step foot in your practice. Your potential patients are able to review honest feedback from your current clients and gain a sense of familiarity and trust prior to their appointment. This gives them the confidence it takes to choose your practice over the others.
- Customers prefer user-generated reviews over traditional ads
Let’s face it, traditional advertisements can get annoying and half of them aren’t very convincing.
A 2020 study published by Stackla found that 79% of consumers say user-generated content impacts their purchase decision. This is because reviews don’t hold the intention of selling a product or service, they are just there to give honest feedback. Therefore, people are more likely to listen to reviews over a promotion that is clearly trying to get them to purchase your service.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t harness the power of reviews to drive your clientele…
- Establishing an online presence helps with SEO
Search engine optimization is a phrase that is often thrown around, but what does it mean? Basically, it means optimizing content so that it shows up on the first page of Google. In this case, it means driving your online patient reviews so that your practice shows up first when someone is looking for a physician in your area or of your expertise. The more reviews you have, the higher you’re placed on Google.
- Maintaining your reputation makes you more competitive
Studies show that just one negative review can cost a business up to 30 customers and even decrease your income by up to 9%.– Ouch. This can significantly set you back compared to practices that are promoting customer reviews.
By maintaining your practice’s online reputation, you can ensure your business is sitting with the best of them on the first page of Google. Otherwise, let’s face it, no one goes to the second page of Google.
- Reviews expands your customer reach
Subsequently, as your business climbs Google’s rankings, more potential customers are exposed to it. As fewer and fewer users are scrolling down, you’ll want your practice to be front and center on the results page.
- Honest feedback sheds light on areas in need of improvement
Exposure isn’t the only takeaway from maintaining customer reviews. You can utilize patients’ honest feedback to improve your practice.
Whether patients are complaining about long wait times, a rude receptionist, or perhaps even a physician, you can use their feedback to identify areas of improvement. This can save you the time and hassle of sending out individual customer surveys.
However, if you come across a negative review, you must respond promptly and appropriately to control the damage to your reputation and salvage the client relationship.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
So, you login to your Google My Business and notice a negative review complaining about your practice’s long wait times. Rather than writing an angry reply or ignoring the user, follow the following steps:
- Respond in a timely manner
Don’t waste any time to reply back to the patient. If they were passionate enough to leave a review that means that they are awaiting your response and probably won’t stop until they get it. So as soon as you see it, respond to it. As you should be checking your reviews daily, it shouldn’t take you more than 24 hours to respond.
However, with reputation management software, you are notified immediately when someone posts a review.
- Acknowledge their concern
Try to acknowledge your patient’s concern and validate their emotions. Just because they may not know what it’s like to be in your shoes, you definitely know what it’s like to be an angry customer. So acknowledge their concern and validate their emotion.
- Take responsibility and apologize
While there’s a valid reason why wait times were extended, your patient doesn’t want to hear an excuse. Even though you may have been overbooked or had an emergency, taking responsibility and apologizing is always the best practice.
- Assure them that you will take the appropriate action
Patients want to make sure that their complaint is being handled internally. Assure them that you have passed on their feedback and are implementing change to improve the patient experience.
- Resolve the issue
Lastly, you must actually implement the change that you promised. Consider touching base with the client at their next visit to ensure that the issue was resolved to their satisfaction.
How to Generate More Patient Reviews
Long gone are the days of asking patients to leave a review at checkout. This method is no longer effective for many reasons, the primary one being that customers are busy and probably won’t remember to leave a review once they leave your office. The only client that is likely to leave a review is the one that is upset enough to let others know.
With Expert Reputation, you can harness the technology of reputation management software to boost and maintain your online reviews. Expert Reputation allows you to send emails and text straight to your client immediately after their visit. Once they’ve completed their review, it is automatically posted on the major review sites, including Facebook, Google, Health Grades, and more!
Our comprehensive portal also makes it easy to respond to reviews and run reports, so you can see just how many customer reviews we’ve generated for you.