Dictionary.com defines a review as a judgment or discussion of the quality of something or a critique of something looking at its good and bad points.
- Important Facts Regarding Online Reviews
- Online Patient Reviews
- The Psychology Behind Reviews
- The Importance of Google Reviews for Healthcare Practices
- How Google Reviews Boost Local SEO for Healthcare Practices
- Online Patient Review Strategy
- Final Thoughts
Important Facts About Online Reviews
Online reviews play a significant role in the consumer’s purchase decision. According to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers intend to read reviews before making a purchase online.
Even though word-of-mouth recommendations still hold the most value, an increasing number of people every year are starting to trust online reviews. It can be proved from this statistic as BrightLocal reports that 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Online Patient Reviews
And that being said, patient reviews for healthcare practices are no such exception. People look for online reviews before visiting a physician or a healthcare provider to learn more about them and believe that those providers can help them with the proper treatment they need.
Online reviews have a significant impact on the local search engine rankings as they act as social proof. Hence, healthcare providers should not ignore online reviews for their practice and need to develop an effective marketing strategy for collecting patient reviews to boost their local SEO practices.
The Psychology Behind Reviews
Customer opinion has become a significant part of building trust with brands, from word-of-mouth practices to leaving reviews on online sites.
Consumers mostly rely on other people’s feedback and make decisions based on other people’s choices or have not made.
Reviews offer a story about a particular product or service and stimulate a conversation between the reviewer and the reader.
These stories that customers tell others are more influential when compared to other branding and marketing tactics that the business undergoes.
“But why do customers write reviews? Have you ever thought about what motivates us to leave our opinion for a
particular product or service?”
- The most apparent reason for leaving reviews is that customers want to help others by letting them know about their experience.
- We like to express our view about something and feel glad if our opinion is read by hundreds or thousands of other online consumers.
- People want to reward businesses for their great products, services, or customer experience to share their gratitude and help the business gain more customers.
- When it comes to negative experiences, people write reviews to let go of their frustration. Some people share their negative experiences to warn other customers about the product or brand, and others aim to get the attention of the company to get a solution for their problem.
- Some people prefer to write reviews or express their opinions to help the company or brand to make improvements in their product or service.
The Importance of Google Reviews for Healthcare Practices
Google values and trusts people’s reviews and opinions. Google reviews allow the public to share their opinion, add images, and tell others about their experiences, whether they are good or bad.
Google reviews provide customers with valuable information about businesses. These reviews help businesses stand out in Google and appear next to the business profile in Google Maps and Google Search.
Some healthcare providers may think that they offer the best service in their locality, so they do not need to care about online reviews. But that is not the truth in this advanced technological world.
Even though you may be a great healthcare provider, patients still look for online reviews to build and increase their trust. Patients look for not only the best treatment services but also excellent medical care from the doctors, well-treating staff, and a hygienic facility. These are the things that patients review the most:
- Google reviews help your potential patients to find you on Google.
- They help in building a reputation for your medical practice and establishing your credibility.
- Most importantly, online reviews help improve local SEO.
How Google Reviews Boost Local SEO for Healthcare Practices?
Since patients rely on quality ratings and reputation when choosing a healthcare provider, Google designs its algorithm to consider reviews as one of the significant ranking factors.
The other primary search ranking factors include inbound links, on-page SEO optimization, Google Maps star rating for that business, etc.
The following reasons help to boost your rankings on the search engine:
1) Patient Reviews Boost Online Visibility
The invention of easily accessible mobile technologies and other advancements increased the number of patients turning to the internet to search for healthcare practices online. Hence if your practice has more positive reviews, it increases the visibility and online reputation of your healthcare practice online.
2) Patient Reviews Reduce Bounce Rate
Adding patient reviews to your healthcare service’s website is one of the best practices to improve your search rankings. Patients visiting your healthcare website spend time reading those reviews, navigating your website, and trying your services. All these browsing activities lower your bounce rate and improve your search engine rankings.
3) Patient Reviews Act as User-Generated Content
Search engines look for unique and fresh content when ranking websites, and patient reviews are a great way to keep your website active with new and relevant content. These practices help you connect with your target patients, build brand image and grow your healthcare business.
4) Reviews Can Be Displayed in the Search Results
Search engines allow rich snippets like reviews to be shown on the result pages with the help of schema markup. We have to show Google where the reviews are on our website with schema.org markup. By displaying star rating snippets on the Google search results page, healthcare providers can attract more potential patients to their website.
Now you might have understood Google reviews and their importance in boosting SEO rankings for healthcare practices. The next step is to develop an online patient review strategy that is necessary for every healthcare marketer.
Online Patient Review Strategy
Before developing the online patient review strategy for your healthcare practice, you need to know what people look for in a review. The following are the most significant patient review signals for your healthcare practice.
- If your healthcare practice has high star ratings, your chances of ranking higher on the search engine increase. It is one of the first things people see when they look up your healthcare business online.
- If you encourage more patients to leave reviews on Google and other platforms, it helps the search engines measure your reputation compared with your competitors to rank you higher.
- The quality of reviews is also essential. Long paragraphs need not be the characteristics of a high-quality review. It should be written in complete sentences with some type of keywords relevant to your healthcare service.
- If patients leave reviews frequently on your healthcare practice, it increases the visibility of your website in the search engine or local map listing.
- Getting reviewed on trusted and reputable platforms is vital as reviews published on the website may not be considered credible. For example, Google, Yelp reviews for healthcare practices.
Now, we shall dive into developing the online patient review strategy for your healthcare practice. It is the process of managing your healthcare business’s reputation online by monitoring reviews across various platforms, encouraging patients to leave reviews about your healthcare practice or service, and responding to any type of reviews effectively.
Step 1: Monitoring Reviews That Mention Your Healthcare Brand
It is crucial to search for and monitor your healthcare business on popular review sites. Conduct an audit and collect data regarding your healthcare business’ performance across various platforms.
- Make a note of the review platforms your healthcare business or brand is featured on.
- Record your average ratings across those platforms
- Notice the number of reviews your brand have on each platform
- Take into account how often your business receives reviews
Tools like Google Alerts and Zapier help you with the monitoring process.
Step 2: Encourage Patients to Leave Reviews
Your healthcare practice needs to receive regular reviews in order to rank high on the search engines.
But each one of us is busy with our lives, and our patients are busy too. They may forget to leave a review or don’t know about the review process.
Hence, we need to make some additional efforts that make them leave a review. To get more reviews, healthcare professionals can follow the below strategies:
- Ask for Google reviews in person from your successful patients.
- Show customers “how to leave reviews on Google Business profile” by explaining the process on your website.
- Create Google reviews link shortcut and shorten that link using free link shorteners like bitly.com
- Link out to your Google business page from your website so that patients find it easy to go to your Google business profile.
- Create a Google reviews page on your website to encourage visitors to become potential patients and inspire existing patients to leave reviews.
- Include a Google review call-to-action button on your website’s footer.
- Create “Help improve our practice by leaving reviews on Google” cards that contain the shortened link.
- Send a follow-up personalized email after an appointment to ask for an online review.
- Make a video thanking your patients for visiting your healthcare facility and asking for online reviews.
- Ask for reviews on social media platforms.
- Encourage patients to leave a review during a follow-up phone call.
Step 3: Respond to Reviews
Responding to reviews is more important for improving your healthcare practice’s online reputation. We all love to receive positive reviews for our business, but everything we do doesn’t end perfectly.
Patients may leave negative reviews for your business, and the most important thing is how you handle those negative reviews. Negative reviews can mostly be the result of miscommunication and are bad for your search rankings tool.
There may be some fake reviews too. Hence, as a healthcare provider, you should keep an eye out for negative and fake reviews and take effective measures to rectify them.
Another important thing is that you can’t delete negative reviews. The reason is, if your healthcare business has positive reviews alone, it questions your practice’s credibility among new patients and causes your existing patients to judge you.
4 Smart Ways to Handle Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are unavoidable. Follow these techniques to handle negative reviews for your healthcare practice.
1) Respond Soon
According to this study, 45% of customers are more likely to visit your business if you respond to negative reviews. Hence don’t ignore negative reviews and respond as quickly as possible.
Take time to reply to negative reviews. Do not reply privately. The response must be public since the complaint is public.
2) Don’t Make It a Never-Ending Conflict
Some patients might leave hateful comments and insult your healthcare service, ending up irritating you. As a healthcare professional, your responsibility is to stay calm and reply gently in this situation.
If you feel that the review is irrational or unreasonable, correct them politely. If the mistake is from your side, do not hesitate to apologize. Apologizing for your bad service and ensuring that you will rectify your mistake is a sign that you care for your patients.
This shows your priority for your patients than anything else and increases your credibility among potent patients and new visitors.
3) Thank and Appreciate
Thanking someone who underrated your service might sound different, but it is necessary for gaining trust. Whether positive or negative reviews, appreciate people for leaving a review on your service between their busy schedules because many will never do that.
4) Discuss the Issue Offline
Discussing the issue or mistake over a phone call with the patient or directly in the clinic might be helpful at times when you feel that the patient is still not satisfied. This is the best way to deal with a negative review, indicating that you are serious about the issue, care for them, and are willing to solve their problem.
Google reviews from patients are essential for the growth of your healthcare practice. They are social proof that assists people in making a decision by analyzing what other people have experienced by using your healthcare service. Online reviews are vital for SEO practices and bring your practice on top of the search engine results page.