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There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a review platform.
We know the decision fatigue can be overwhelming – with so many options, it’s easy to be tempted to choose the cheapest option or just whatever option is in front of you.
But what if you could be certain that your review tool was right for your business? Nobody tells you these things, after all. Until now, that is.
We created this guide to help you understand what is important when it comes to reviews, and then we created a framework for you to use to assess your current review tool.
Read on, and don’t get fooled again!
Why are reviews important?
You probably already know that reviews are important, but you may be surprised to learn just how important they are! Reviews impact:
1) Your brand.
While branding is one of those buzzwords that is rather ambiguous and difficult to define succinctly, it comes down to the things that make your practice what it is. It’s the sum of the interactions, marketing, and conversations you’ve put out into the world. Your reviews are just as much a part of your brand as your logo.
2) Your trustworthiness.
Building trust is essential to gaining new clients. Reviews give your prospective clients a glimpse into how you operate and how you treat your clients. Negative reviews happen to every business - and they’re a great chance to showcase how your practice responds to unhappy clients.
3) Your new clients.
Time and time again, reviews have been proven to increase the rate at which prospects turn into clients. Chances are, you’ve used reviews to decide whether to purchase a product or dine at a restaurant. It’s no different for medical practices.
4) Your local search rankings.
That’s right. Search engines are paying attention to your reviews as much as your clients are. What are they looking for? We’ll discuss that more in the next section!
What makes online reviews good?
So, we’ve discussed a few things that your reviews have an impact on. But what exactly makes a practice’s reviews “good?”
Let’s start by looking at your reviews the way Google and other search engines do. Three big things determine whether or not your current reviews are good.
Not having enough reviews is a red flag both for search engines and prospective clients. The reason for this? Prospects are wary of “fake” reviews and generally won’t trust your reviews until there are at least 40 of them. And no, we didn’t just make that number up. Having a system in place to request reviews from clients without any manual work on your part can help solve this problem.
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but not entirely. You want the general sentiment of your reviews to be positive. However, having no negative reviews is also not considered a great thing, because how you respond to negative reviews is one of the most important things search engines and prospects are looking at.
Negative reviews happen. The important thing is knowing what to do. Here are some of our top tips for responding to negative reviews.
1) Don’t ignore them.
No business has perfect reviews all the time. clients expect a business to have at least a couple of less-than-stellar reviews. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the negative reviews. Showing prospective clients that you care about client concerns goes a long way as they decide who to trust with their care.
2) Remember to keep sensitive client information confidential.
If there’s one rule to follow, it’s this one. Don’t disclose sensitive client information in your response to a negative review. The massive fines you could incur just aren’t worth it. This is also a great reason to make sure you’re trusting the right person to manage your reviews. Are they fully trained in HIPAA compliance?
3) Don’t address the reviewer directly.
It might seem counterintuitive, but not directly addressing the reviewer helps keep your communication from becoming combative. Of course, you should apologize and acknowledge their frustrations, but directly attacking a reviewer rarely has a positive outcome. Addressing negative reviews is as much about responding to the review as it is about demonstrating professionalism and care to the other people reading the review. Keep the focus on the problem the reviewer brought up, and explain your policies.
4) Keep emotion out of the conversation.
Getting defensive when addressing a negative review isn’t going to help your case. Even if you feel the review is unfair, avoid bringing emotion into your response. It’s not about telling your side of the story. It's about showing potential clients how you operate and how they can expect to be treated if they visit your practice.
5) Learn what you can from legitimate complaints.
When you get a negative review, run through a few questions before formulating your response.
- Is this something we hear a lot of from clients?
- Could we have prevented this?
- Was the client warned of this potential outcome ahead of time?
6) Say thank you, offer solutions, and continue the conversation offline if needed.
It may seem counterintuitive, but remember that for every client who complains, an average of 26 others stay silent. A simple thank you to a disgruntled client for their feedback goes a long way. Offer solutions for their concerns, politely correct any inaccurate information, and offer to continue the conversation offline if necessary.
How do you know if your review platform is hitting the mark?
Managing online reviews is a ton of manual work for most medical practices. To make your reviews the best they can be, you need to make sure your review platform is performing at the level it should be.
Not sure what to look for? Here’s some Advice in the form of our REVIEW framework.
R - Rate
Are you getting at least a 10% response rate to review requests?
Many businesses see low single-digit response rates to their review requests, meaning they have to ask anywhere from 50 to 100 clients to get a single review. Your goal here should be to have a greater than 10% response rate. If you’re serving a large number of clients, that improvement will generate a significant increase in review volume to attract new clients and solidify a positive reputation. Automated review requests solve this problem while cutting down on the amount of manual work required. If your platform isn’t letting you automate this process across review and social media platforms, you’re missing out.
Is leaving a review an easy and convenient experience for your client?
Put on your “client hat” for this one. Is it easy for your client to share their outstanding experience? Are you sending them convenient reminders to take action via multiple channels such as email and text? Research shows that clients are more likely to fulfill your request when you make it easy for them to do so. After all, who wants to spend a bunch of time leaving a review? Generally, the answer is disgruntled clients. Making it easier for your satisfied and loyal clients to leave reviews helps make sure the overall sentiment of your reviews is positive.
V - Volume
Do you have a steady stream of new reviews?
Recency matters in reviews. Is your review platform generating a consistent stream of new reviews from your clients? When was your most recent review? Make sure your review platform is keeping a fresh coat of paint on your online reputation to give you an advantage over your competition. Not having new reviews coming in is a red flag to search engines and prospective clients alike. If your review platform isn’t bringing in a steady volume of reviews, it’s not performing well.
I - Investment
Are you getting the most bang for your buck?
It’s important to consider the return on investment. Review tools exist at different price points, so how do you know if your current solution is worth that investment? Do you see the response rates and new review volume you should expect? Has the platform made the review management process more efficient? Are you able to customize the request to clients as well as pick and choose who gets asked? We commonly hear from clients that they’re using their Electronic Medical Record Systems to request reviews. The lack of customization and targeting offered by these systems is frequently a pain point for our clients and a perfect example of a platform that doesn’t offer the ROI many clients need. Nothing is worse than paying a ton of money for a product that isn’t working. If you don’t see the ROI you need, it’s time to move on.
E - Efficiency
Could your team be more efficient in monitoring and responding to reviews?
How are you managing the process of responding to reviews? If you’re jumping across multiple tools and platforms to manage reviews, you’re likely spending unnecessary extra time on this process that could be better used on other important day-to-day tasks in the business. A single platform not only eliminates this back and forth but also brings the other pieces of the review process into one dashboard.Time is precious. If you’re wasting a ton of it on reviews, not only are you forced to neglect the other important aspects of running your practice, but you’re also opening yourself and your team up to mistakes and oversights within your review process.
W - Workflow
From alerts to responses, does your review management process need improvement?
Not responding to new reviews promptly looks bad, both to your clients and to search engines. Are you being notified about new reviews from clients today? Is it possible (or even probable) that some are falling through the cracks? Do you have the ability to respond directly from your review platform and note which reviews still need your attention? Evaluating your review workflows is another angle by which you should measure platform performance.
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If you’re ready to speak with a knowledgeable marketing professional, we are pleased to offer a free online demo and consultation.