Now that online forums are so prolific, many patients are using them frequently to review others’ opinions about a given medical practice before spending their hard-earned money.
“We live in a world where your online reputation can be your strongest asset or your biggest liability,” writes Ryan Erskine in Forbes. “Employers, clients, colleges and customers are increasingly using Google as their sidekick before making important decisions.”
Erskine points to statistics showing 90 percent of consumers read online business reviews before visiting a business and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while online business reviews have been shown to impact nearly 68 percent of purchasing decisions. Another study shows nearly 80 percent of Americans rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new medical practice.
Of course, honest online reviews can work for or against medical practices. But if you have good patient engagement and you’ve had largely positive responses from your patients, you may be able to attract new business by asking them to confirm their good experiences on your website and/or third-party review sites.
Here are a few other tips for accumulating positive online business reviews:
- Do everything you can to ensure patients have a positive experience with your practice, ensuring your front office staff is kind and polite and your facilities are top-notch. Frequent and detailed patient communication can go a long way toward better patient engagement and patient retention.
- Bonus Tip: Consider implementing an automated patient communication system like Alert Solutions to make that process more efficient.
- Make your business review process quick and easy. Patients are more likely to make the effort if sharing their thoughts is nearly effortless.
- Remind patients to leave a review by emailing them links to your site; include links to your social media sites, too.
- When receiving positive reviews on your social media sites, be sure to share them.
- List your medical practice on third-party business review sites to give reviewers more options.
- Use reviews strategically in your medical practice newsletters, wellness reminders and emails.
In general, most medical practices believe the advantages of positive business reviews are worth the downside: the risk of some patients reporting dissatisfaction.
“While publishing reviews might feel like opening a can of worms, benefits outweigh any potential issues,” notes Alex Mangrolia on PhysiciansPractice.com. “There is no reference better than satisfied patients to recite your success stories.”