It’s no secret that social media is extremely popular today. With one click of a button, social media has made it easy for consumers to share their positive or negative shopping/buying experiences online. The voice of the consumer is one that has a lot of impact on a business and can influence potential customers. In fact, statistics show that 90% of participants claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decision, while 86% said their decision was influenced by negative reviews.
Generating Positive Reviews
In order for patients to write about their experiences, there needs to be a platform in place. Make sure you claim and create profiles on all the review sites that are relevant to your business. The most common review sites are Google, Yahoo!, Yelp and Facebook, so invest in your business by spending the time to optimize these sites.
Most patients will look at 2-10 reviews before making their decision; you should make it a goal to get at least a couple of reviews. Of course the more reviews you have, the more established your practice will appear. Patients understand the importance of online reviews and are more likely to give you feedback right away. If a patient expresses gratitude or satisfaction with their visit, you should mention that you would appreciate if they would leave you the same feedback on one of your review sites.
Make your review sites accessible to your patients. Be sure to add links to all your review sites on your website, newsletters, or even to your email signature. Advertise your review sites in your office and when a patient leaves, ask them to please take the time to share their experience on one of your review sites.
Addressing Negative Reviews
If you receive a bad online review don’t be discouraged, sometimes this just happens and it’s out of your control. Try and turn the negative situation into a positive one. Instead of leaving the negative review unaddressed, you should privately contact the patient to hear their story. You should also publically address the review, but in a professional manner. Don’t argue or contradict what the patient wrote but rather apologize, and explain that this is not the norm.
Don’t ask patients to delete their negative reviews either because this can perpetuate a negative image to other potential patients. You should apologize to your patient and encourage them to give your business another chance - you could even offer some type of incentive or discount for toward their next visit. This will come across as more authentic and professional.
For the foreseeable future, online reviews will continue to influence decisions for potential patients. This is why it will be necessary for businesses to generate positive reviews while also addressing negative ones in a proficient manner.