The Importance of Online Reviews for Your Eye Care Practice
In the past, word-of-mouth was the best way for people to discover a new local business. People would mention small businesses that they frequent and word would spread among friends and family.
But now, online reviews are the new word-of-mouth and they have the power to make or break a business’s brand reputation. The usage of Google My Business, Yelp, and other reviewing sites give people the opportunity to amplify their voice to millions of other users.
When people come into your practice, you and your staff should provide each and every person with great service so when they leave patient reviews, they can rave about their experience.
Once others see how professional your practice is, and how well your products and services worked for them, it will encourage even more people to visit your practice.
Want to refine your brand image and attract more business to your eye care practice? We’re here to tell you 3 reasons why monitoring your reviews can accomplish these goals and improve your online reputation at the same time. Let’s get started!
1. Customers rely on online reviews.
Every single day, millions of people are searching for local businesses and you could be one of them! When a potential patient is searching for local eye care practices that provide routine eye exams or prescription glasses, don’t you want your business to populate alongside great reviews? After reading what others have to say about their experience with you and your staff, it may influence new patients to make an appointment with you.
Some people are even looking for a practice that they could visit within the same day or the next. If they were prompted to search for a local business, then they’re most likely in need of a certain product or service as soon as possible. Oftentimes, people’s first instinct is to go to Google and look for an eye care practice in their area. When your business appears in search engine results pages (SERPs), they’ll read about how other people felt when they left your establishment.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
If the review is good, it’s a win! But if it’s a negative review, what do you do? Well, you definitely shouldn’t panic or worry that it will deter all potential business from your practice. You also shouldn’t angrily respond to patients because you should always remain professional (even if they’re in the wrong).
Take this time to catch your breath and fully read what your patient had to say. Did they think your staff was uncooperative and didn’t meet their needs? Did they have to wait a long time before being seen for their appointment?
Once they have posted their review, it will be seen by many other people who are seeking recommendations. However, if they see a negative review with an even more negative response from you, they may reconsider.
There are multiple ways you can handle this situation:
- Respond to the review – Publicly apologize to the patient to let them know that you value their opinions and patronage. Other users will see your response and appreciate that you are open to patient feedback and when one of your patients does have a bad experience, you take the time to figure out a solution to the problem.
- Email them – You can also reach out to the patient via email and resolve the problem. It becomes more personal and you two have the opportunity to come to a resolution. If you communicate through email, you can send them a discount on their next visit or some sort of complimentary gift to encourage them to return. Then, you’ll have an opportunity to prove to that patient that you are the best choice for eye care solutions in your community.
- Call them – To take it a step further and make it even more personal, you can ask for their phone number and call the disgruntled patient. Oftentimes speaking over the internet can lead to misunderstandings. You don’t want your patients to misconstrue your tone or meaning, so speaking on the phone will help eliminate the possibility of that occurring.
Here’s an extra tip for you: timing is everything! Don’t wait two weeks to respond to a bad review. If you can, check your online reviews daily and reach out in a timely manner. If you can’t do it every day, a few times a week should be good enough to respond to any newly added reviews.
Reaching out to patients who have left negative reviews is extremely important, but remember you should acknowledge the good ones as well.
Let them know you appreciate their kind words and that you hope to see them in your office again.
2. Increased visibility for your practice.
Good reviews equal good visibility for your eye care practice. On review websites like Google and Yelp, the top-ranking or highest-rated businesses will show up first and ultimately receive more organic traffic.
About 33% of people will click on the first Google result and 75% of people won’t even continue on to the second page. The better your rating, the higher you are to the top and the more people will see your business.
If you have a great rating, it works like a magnet to attract patients. They see that others enjoy their office visits and have faith that their visit will be just as good. Who wouldn’t want to visit a business that has a 5-star rating?
3. You can capitalize on online reviews.
Your digital marketing strategy can build off of more traditional methods, like exceptional customer service, to drive more traffic to your practice.
Online reviews are a completely free marketing tool that you should use to your advantage. People are essentially marketing your business to other users when they leave you positive reviews because it influences others to visit you and also leave reviews. So, a positive interaction through your customer service can actually become an asset to your digital marketing strategy!
On Yelp or Citysearch, you can register your business and manage all your listings. On Google, you can utilize Google My Business to claim your practice and manage all the information about your business that appears in the SERPs.
When you create an account on either of these platforms, you can begin responding to patients and improve your brand’s online reputation.
Use online reviews to your advantage.
Now that you know the importance of online reviews, what are you going to do? Use this information to get active online and read the good, the bad, and the ugly reviews, then take the necessary steps to ensure people come back to your practice. This way, you can build a strong, trustworthy online presence that inspires loyalty in your patients.