What’s the one hurdle to getting new patients in the door? What’s the one thing that’s keeping you from having as many patients as your practice can handle?
In a word, it’s trust.
Until a patient experiences the quality of care you provide, they may not trust you. So, how can you overcome this barrier to growing your practice?
It’s simple. Get the people who already know and like you—satisfied, existing patients—to transfer their trust to new patients in the form of online reviews.
When people look for a new doctor on the Web, they are looking to see what other patients like them think of the practice. When they find a practice with no reviews, they are immediately suspicious of the quality of the practice, just like many people are when they see a restaurant with nobody in it.
According to research, 84% of people trust reviews as much as they trust their friends. Just like other types of consumers, patients now check online reviews sites—such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook—to see what their peers say about a practice before they book an appointment.
Almost Everyone Reads Reviews
There’s a reason Forrester Research calls this “The Age of the Customer”: Online peer reviews have a huge impact on consumers’ purchase decisions. In fact, 72 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Reviews Are Trusted
That’s why reputation management software is so important for marketing your practice. Positive reviews help build credibility and trust, encouraging people to pick up the phone. But too many negative reviews, and potential patients may look elsewhere.
Reviews Are Influential
The fear of this type of negative feedback may scare some practitioners away from soliciting reviews altogether. But the truth is, most online reviews are actually positive: For example, a majority of all Yelp reviews are four-star or better. The problem is simply that unhappy patients complain to more people about their bad experiences than happy patients rave to others about good ones. And this can negatively affect your reputation management.
Good Reviews Are Under-Represented
In other words, your practice already has a wealth of patient goodwill. You simply need to tap into it by encouraging satisfied customers to write online reviews. The more reviews your practice receives, the better its online reputation will become—and the more new patients will pick up the phone to schedule an appointment with you.
Good Reviews Are Waiting to Happen
Earning reviews will also make it easier for new patients to find your practice online. Businesses that are reviewed on credible, third-party sites such as Yelp and Google appear closer to the top of the page in search engine results. If patients also see four or five stars next to your practice’s name, they’ll be much more likely to give you a call.
Now that we’ve seen the importance of online reviews, how do you get them? The first step, of course, is to ask. Encourage satisfied patients to share their experiences on your website.
This sounds simple—but for most practices, just asking isn’t enough. There are often too many steps the patient has to take to get a review posted once they leave the office.
The key to getting a steady stream of patient reviews is to make it easy for your patients by doing some of the work for them. To do this, you’ll need reputation management software: This not only makes it easy for patients to leave a review but also provides a way for patients to contact you with negative feedback. This is what is called a “review funnel.”
Solution: A “Review Funnel”
You can use multiple channels to get customers into the funnel—for example, email, SMS text messaging or printed materials. You can even create business cards with a QR code linking directly to your practice’s reviews page. These cards can be given to patients at the end of their visit.
MedPB’s Online Review Builder can help make this whole process easier. It offers an automated, proven way to get patient reviews, address negative feedback before it goes live, and bolster your practice’s online reputation.
Every day, ORB checks multiple review sites—from major platforms such as Yelp and Google to local and specialized sites. Then, it automatically publishes snippets of new 4 and 5-star patient reviews to a single page on your practice’s website. An aggregated score is also published at the top of the page, so visitors can gauge your practice’s reputation at a glance.
ORB is easy for patients to use, as well. They simply visit the review page on your website, choose the platform they want to post to and write their review.
ORB can also help you deal with negative feedback. When patients submit a review with 3 stars or lower, it won’t be published automatically. Instead, the patient will be prompted to contact your practice and tell you what they think you can improve. This gives you a chance to stop negative reviews in their tracks, and to make amends with less-than-satisfied customers.
Identify Unhappy Customers Before They Write a Review
As the reviews start to roll in, designate someone in your office to monitor them. Make sure they respond to any negative feedback, and that they promote the best reviews on your website and social media.
Monitor and respond to reviews; amplify your latest and greatest!
If you’re ready to tap into the power of patient reviews, check your online presence and reputation today!