If you think online reviews aren’t something to be concerned about, you may want to reconsider. In fact, not only do 92% of today’s consumers read online reviews, but 84% say they trust the reviews left by others online as much as they do personal recommendations from friends or family. Like it or not, your prospects are checking to see what others are saying about you online and what they find could very well determine whether or not they pick up the phone and schedule that appointment. Simply put, more good reviews means more paying clients which means greater profit and growth for your practice.
Not sure where or how to begin with online reviews? Here’s a quick overview to get you pointed in the right direction.
First, give your clients good reason to leave you great reviews. Don’t expect people to take time out of their busy schedule to write a glowing review about your veterinary practice, particularly if they haven’t received exceptional service. The first step in gaining traction in the online review front is to make wowing your clients at every turn a top priority. The more satisfied they are, the more they’ll want to share their positive experience with others.
Next, make it super easy for them to do so. Ultimately, when a happy client goes online to write a review about your practice, they’re doing you a favor, so keep this in mind. Make leaving positive comments as easy as possible by including links or icons to third party review sites – like Yelp, Google+ and Facebook – right on your website, in your email communications and anywhere else you interact with your clients.
Don’t be afraid to ask and even remind them. Sometimes something as simple as posting a “Please Review Us” sign on your front desk can be enough to encourage your happy clients to take that next step and share their good experience. (Just remember not to be pushy about it and never offer anything in exchange for a review, as these questionable practices can and probably will come back to haunt you.)
Finally, whenever a review is posted – regardless of whether it’s positive or negative – you should respond swiftly and professionally. A personal ‘Thank You’ for kind comments can go a long way toward further solidifying your relationships with existing clients. Meanwhile, apologizing, taking ownership and offering a solution for negative comments can help mend fences. It will also demonstrate that you’re listening and that you care about the experience people have when they visit your clinic.
Given the fact that 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more and that these online comments are often the first impression many prospects will have of your veterinary practice, the message is clear. Are you doing enough to get more online reviews for your practice? If not, the time to start turning things around is now. The above tips should provide a solid foundation on which to get started.