Why patient reviews for your healthcare business are vital
These days, patients everywhere are incredibly savvy and knowledgeable – I’m sure we agree on that!
They’re shopping around online, doing research about your competitors and making comparisons. If they didn’t have a great experience with your healthcare business on their last visit – they’re going to leave you a patient review and tell everyone all about it and then leave you!
Getting more positive reviews is an increasingly important part of your reputation management and can help you build trust, credibility and authority with prospective patients.
A negative review can be exceedingly hurtful to your healthcare practice. They not only damage your online reputation but can also hurt your bottom line when patients start to avoid you.
Everybody would prefer nothing but glowing 5-star online reviews, but negative interactions and reviews are valuable for your business too.
The trick is to treat those negative reviews as valuable feedback about how to improve your patient experience so you can increase patient satisfaction as a result. It’s also essential to have a system and process for logging positive and negative reviews so that they’ll be easier to find and use in the future.
Why do you need a strategy for patient reviews?
Now, every healthcare business owner understands that online reviews are critical, but very few have created an actionable strategy for getting more great patient reviews.
Building a patient reviews strategy starts with supporting and empowering your team. Make sure you’ve taken the time to communicate that if they want the business to thrive and keep providing security for everyone working at your business, then they need to collect as many pieces of patient feedback and positive reviews as possible.
Being proactive and reaching out to contact patients to ask for reviews is key and should be built into your marketing strategy.
Healthcare providers need to encourage their teams to collect reviews and stop feeling embarrassed or self-conscious about asking for them.
Your team needs to confidently explain to patients how they can quickly and easily leave a review, so train them on how to do that.
The absolute best time to ask a patient to leave a review is when they’ve just finished a treatment received the wonderful transformation they wanted in the first place.
But any time the team feels a patient is happy with their experience is a great moment.
The increasing impact of online reviews on reputation management
Over the last decade, as the internet has taken over our lives, online reviews have become more and more prevalent, growing from 67% back in 2010 to 87% in 2020.
Bright Local has conducted a survey to understand the customer reviews trends in 2020. Click here for the full article.
These trends have a high impact on your healthcare establishment.
Some of their key findings were that:
- Consumers are more likely to read reviews for – 1. Healthcare 2. Restaurants 3. Hotels
- 87% of consumers read online reviews – a huge increase from 67% back in 2010
- 57% of consumers read reviews on a desktop – a 9% decrease from 2019
- 92% of consumers, after reading negative reviews are less inclined to use that business
- 67% of consumers wouldn’t use a business that does not have covid-19 health measures in place
- 73% of consumers only read reviews written in the last month
- Only 40% of consumers would consider using a business that has under 4 start reviews
- 76% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations
- On average, a consumer reads about 10 reviews before deciding to trust a new business
- After reading positive comments on review sites, a consumer will most likely visit the businesses website
- 72% of consumers that were asked to leave a review went on to do so
- 32% of consumers have written a negative review – growing from 25% in 2019. This is the biggest increase amongst consumer behaviour
- The top platform used for finding information on local businesses is Google, with 63% of consumers using it
Google recently announced they’ll be exclusively using google reviews for its search autocomplete feature, which uses a predictive search algorithm to figure out what the user is searching for, based on popular searches. As you type, Google will give you more options to find what you are looking for faster.
Click here for a great article about google autosuggest by Neil Patel.
Top 5 tips for building your reputation as a healthcare provider
Here are some ideas to help you get even more patient reviews
#1 – Be proactive in encouraging patient reviews:
Studies show that healthcare providers generally are not great at reputation management and getting patients to write online reviews.
Whilst they may not have as many online reviews as other businesses. Fortunately, they make up for it with the quality of reviews. So don’t be shy and double down on encouraging your patients to leave you a review by asking if they could add a testimonial on google my business, your socials or your website.
#2 – Respond to patient reviews fast, especially to negative ones:
Responding to your online patient reviews fast (positive or negative) is hugely beneficial.
It proves to the world that you genuinely care about your patients, and they’ll feel valued and listened to.
It also allows you to quickly learn from mistakes and improve your services based on what patients have experienced firsthand, increasing retention of existing patients and helping acquire future patients.
#3 – Manage your Google My Business Listing:
With all the changes in the world surrounding Covid-19 and the impact that has had on everyone’s lives, Google My Business has become an essential part of any healthcare business’ online reputation management.
If patients are looking for restriction updates from your practice, the new opening times or your number, they’ll go to Google to search for that information and expect to see it on the right-hand panel.
A recent report from Google has found that 60% of smartphone users have contacted businesses directly through Google My Business. That’s huge!
If you want to read the full report click here.
To help healthcare businesses, Google has launched a practical guide for setting up your practice profile on Google My Business. To read the guide click here.
Remember, Google has announced recently that they will be drawing more often from the review information. If you want your practice to show up in searches, you need to look after your Google My Business account and encourage patients to leave reviews there.
#4 – Adhere to industry legalities
Depending on the type of healthcare practice you are there will be different regulations about what you can and can’t include in the content you put online and when responding to patient reviews.
Make sure you follow the industry regulations for your area of expertise. This will save you a lot of trouble later.
#5 – Do this for all of your locations
If you have more than one location, you need to make sure you do this for all of them. Bear in mind you’ll need to have separate Google My Business pages, separate social profiles and so on.
Ways you can ask for patient reviews:
- Over the phone
- Through an SMS message
- By email
- Through social media messenger apps
- At reception through a QR code – redirect to Google reviews
- On your website
Monitoring and responding to patient feedback on review sites is an essential element of reputation management. Those reviews have the power to increase or erode trust, credibility and authority. That’s why you need a solid strategy and process to deliver a great experience, collecting online reviews and responding to every one of them online.
The better you make the patient experience, the better off you’ll be when it comes time for patients to leave a review about their visit with your healthcare business.