During one of our recent workshops we were asked a lot of questions about online reviews and reputation. In this article we will provide you with an overview and guide to what online review and reputation is and how it can help increase the number of new patients for your practice. The main benefit of online reviews are they build trust and credibility for potential patients and have become nearly as important as personal recommendations (after word-of mouth). If you’re not convinced of the importance of reviews yet, here are a few statistics.
What is online reputation?
Online reputation refers to your name and your medical practice’s brand online. It is what others see online when they search for you or your practice, these can include news articles, blog posts, social media profiles, public records, Wikipedia articles, photos and videos.
Try it yourself, search yourself or your practice on Google.
Online reputations can be negative or positive depending on the online materials found. For example, a lot of positive reviews and recommendations will give you a positive online reputation. It is important to track your online reputation and know what is being said. Here at 20-80 Solutions we monitor all our support clients reputation and notify them when something is pops up online about them. You can also do it yourself using Google Alert . It’s pretty straight forward but give us a call if you need a hand, please note, you need a google+ account for this.
Why can’t I put testimonials on my websites but reviews are allowed?
This question has been asked a few times, it’s important to understand the difference. As per AHPRA and i n accordance with the National Law, testimonials are not acceptable in your advertising (social media, print, radio or on your website). As stated in AHPRA’s advertising policy, codes and guidelines ; a testimonial is defined as recommendations or statements about the clinical aspects of a regulated health service. However patients can express their views and personal experience online through their own social media profiles/pages or review sites such as Yelp, Google +, WOMO and Yellow Pages. These sites are intended to help consumers make more informed decisions and are operated by a third party which isn’t controlled by you, therefore they are not considered a form of advertising.
How can I encourage patients to leave reviews?
Getting patients to leave reviews is the tricky part, but it simply comes down to asking, as they saying goes “if you don’t ask, you won’t receive”. There are two points we need to mention in order to get reviews for your clinic, that’s mindset and technique.
Having the right mindset upfront will make asking for reviews easier. We have found that people often hesitate asking for reviews because they find it uncomfortable or fear rejection, are shy or don’t want to cause any hassle. Get into the mindset of being confident about your services and expertise. If you provide great services, then you DESERVE to be known for it. As a matter of fact, your happy clients are your biggest fans and advocates, they WANT to help you spread the word to let others know how great you are.
There are many techniques which you can use to get reviews, we have listed a few examples below. Once you decide on which technique you want to adopt, they should be implemented into your day-to-day operations. Ensure you make it as simple, easy and convenient for your patient as possible.
In Person: When asking for a review in person ensure that it is done after a few sessions with your patient and ensure they are truly happy with your service. It is always easier for you to personally ask for a review when you have a positive relationship with your patient, make it casual and think of it as more a courtesy reminder.
By reception: You can also choose to have your receptionist ask for feedback after the patient has finished their full treatment.
On your website: For our clients we create review pages (as imaged left) which they can direct patients to and are linked onto their homepage.
By Email: This method generally receives better results because your patient will already be in front of their computer/mobile which means they are able to take their time writing a more detailed review. If you prefer to be more subtle, you can create a “Leave a Review” link in the footer of your emails.
By Phone: This might be done as part of the after-care service a few days after, however this is most likely to be just a reminder or passing comment such as “If you have the time we would love if you could provide an online review on our Facebook page/Google+/Yelp” and should be followed up by an email.
By SMS: Using SMS to request reviews is a great way to target people on the go and with majority of people using smartphones you can send the review links to them.
Do not get patients to leave reviews while they’re still at the clinic and connected to your WiFi. This will cause reviews to come from the same IP address and then cause Google to flag it as fake.
Do not let patients leave reviews using any of your clinics devices, because patients will need to login to their personal accounts to leave reviews it may cause privacy issues if they forget to logout.
How many reviews do I need?
While there is no set number on how many reviews you should have or need, we recommend you continuously strive to get more reviews as it not only keeps reviews up to date and current but it also helps with your website’s search engine optimisation! Here is a guideline for you to work with:
It takes 5 reviews on Google+ to get the yellow stars to appear on your Google search
When your Facebook Page is set as a “Local Business” star reviews can show up with as little as one review.
Yelp offers “The Best of Yelp – Melbourne”. So the better your reviews and the more you have will give you an opportunity to show on the homepage of yelp and reach a wider audience of potential patients. Not only that, but Apple Maps (Apple’s version of Google maps) uses data from Yelp to help power the program. We set all our clients up in Yelp to ensure they reach iOS users.
Can I get my family and friends to review my medical practice?
While some people do create fake reviews we STRONGLY recommend against doing so, not only is it deemed illegal by ACCC , it is unethical. There are a number of ways to spot fake reviews such as the content that is written, whether it’s no content and star ratings only or very vague content which doesn’t include detail about the services or team. Fake reviews can also be spotted by checking the number of reviews a user has posted, if they only have one review it is likely that review is not genuine. Consumers can spot these too and when they notice a fake review, it instantly minimises your credibility. If you provide great services then leave it to your patients to be your advocates. Honesty is always the best policy.
Can I delete Negative Reviews?
Because review sites are not operated by you, you cannot remove them yourself, what you can do is send a request to the site, however again we STRONGLY recommend against this. Don’t be put off with negative reviews. When handled correctly they’re an opportunity to save existing relationships, reveal opportunities for improvements, show potential patients that you are responsive to feedback, that you treat people with respect, and that you address concerns and resolve complaints. Note: when you respond to a negative review in the correct manner the patient can adjust their review to be positive. Here’s an example of how a negative review can be turned into a positive:
Get to know the review process, think of the last restaurant you ate at/ product your purchased or business you dealt with and leave a review for them. That way when you ask your patients for reviews you understand the details and steps involved.
After you’ve left a review for someone, get a review page setup on your website, train staff on how to ask for reviews and start asking!
We hope this overview has covered your questions about online reviews and reputation. If you have any further questions or would like more advice please feel free to contact us, and because you have taken the time to read this article, we’re offering a sample of our “ referral flowchart”, it’s gives a great overview of touch points that clinics have with their patients, including when to ask for reviews during the “customer journey”.
Download our Referral Flowchart
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