How to maximise your online reputation with online reviews
Do you remember the last time you were frustrated with a customer service experience? Chances are, your first reaction was to vent your anger to a family member or friend. Maybe you even felt an itch in your fingers to type a negative review. Sounds familiar? You’re not the only one.
Did you know that the average unhappy customer tells 9-15 others about a bad experience with a company?1White House Office of Consumer Affairs On the contrary, happy customers are much less likely to share their satisfaction, especially online2The Secret Ratio That Proves Why Customer Reviews Are So Important https://www.inc.com/andrew-thomas/the-hidden-ratio-that-could-make-or-break-your-company.html . Therefore, businesses have to put active measures in place to ensure their brand reputation online accurately reflects their real-life customer satisfaction.
Why online reviews are important for surgeons
Most of your patients are local, so maximising your local exposure is important. Furthermore, online reviews can reassure your patients that you have a solid reputation in the marketplace.
You can maximise local exposure with online reviews
If you have a local business, you’ll want to show up on local search results. Google ranks business listings for prominence, i.e. the number, average rating and quality of your online reviews. Your patients’ opinions and their willingness to share them with the world determine how popular your clinic seems compared to your competition.
A sufficient number of reviews (50-100) and an excellent average rating are essential if you want to be featured in Google’s local search results. But the search engine does not only filter for how many reviews a business gets. In April 2021, Google launched the product review update making the content of reviews a ranking factor. As a result, businesses with more quality, in-depth reviews are favoured3What creators should know about Google’s product reviews update https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/04/product-reviews-update . Now, Google is even showing relevant snippets of reviews that are based on search queries in their local pack (see image below).
Increasing the number and quality of online reviews is crucial when it comes to local search visibility. I wrote about how to find more ways to gain local exposure online with Google Business Profiles here.
You can provide reassurance with an excellent brand reputation
Think about your last big buying decision. You likely talked to your spouse before buying an expensive car or consulted a friend when you couldn’t decide whether the new iPhone justifies the splurge. It’s human nature to seek reassurance when making decisions.
Our clients regularly report that referrals by friends and family make up a significant portion of new leads every month. But it’s not only word-of-mouth that has the potential to increase your patient volume. With Millennials making up a big portion of laser eye surgeons’ target customer avatars, what’s written about them online is more important than ever before.
Did you know that 93% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase?4Online reviews statistics to know in 2021 https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/online-review-stats/ A 2020 Consumer Review Survey suggests that 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – with “Medical” being named one of the top 3 industries in which consumers are most likely to have read reviews5Local Consumer Review Survey 2020 https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/. Your reputation online is directly linked to how likely potential patients are going to enquire with your clinic when they are researching their options.
(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).
How to increase your clinic’s number of online reviews and rating
A common mistake surgeons make when it comes to online reviews is waiting for them to come in without proactively stimulating patients to give them. Who seems most popular on Google often is not the surgeon with the most skills but the one who makes it a priority to get feedback from patients. As I explained above, happy patients need active encouragement to share their satisfaction online.
Here’s how you can get more reviews and keep your average rating high:
- Be accessible: Create and maintain multiple listings on platforms such as Google, TrustPilot, Doctify and Facebook. Not all of your patients will have an account on each of these – but the possibility of them writing a review is higher the more options you offer.
- Make it easy: Generate a QR Code for your URL and make sure the links leads directly to your review page. Learn how to get your custom short URL for Google reviews here.
- Be proactive in person: Your patients will be most likely to follow through with your request if you ask them in person. Encourage happy patients when you see them for a follow-up appointment.
- Follow up: Ask for reviews when digitally following-up after surgery. You can include links to your review page when sharing valuable after-care instructions or send them a video asking for feedback when you congratulate them on their 1-year vision correction anniversary.
- Avoid negative reviews: Google won’t let you hide negative reviews. One way to avoid getting them is to filter out unhappy patients by asking them to fill out a survey first. Then, only direct patients that give positive feedback in the survey to your Google My Business listing and deal with negative experiences offline.
- Reply to all reviews: This encourages patients to share their feedback because they feel seen and heard. Thank patients when they leave warm words and react professionally when dealing with complaints. Learn how to respond to a negative review on Google here.
If you’re a surgeon looking for more reviews online to increase your patient volume, the best place to start is with local exposure. Use social media and SEO strategies like blog posts or web pages that are optimised for Google Maps listings so potential patients in your area can find out about your clinic when they search on their phone. You should also be making sure that you’re answering any questions people might ask on your Google Business Profile before booking an appointment. And finally, make it easy for customers who want to leave feedback by providing them with somewhere easy to do just that – whether it’s in person or right after surgery via email or SMS surveys. It won’t take long before review sites will rank you higher than your peers.
PSST… Reviews and ratings are one of the key metrics we look for when assessing how well a clinic is performing in the marketplace. Do you want to know how well you’re doing? Take our easy online quiz and get your Practice Marketing score. Take the test today and see how you stack up against your competition.
About the author
Elisa Friedl is one of LiveseySolar’s Account Consultants. As a Customer Value Optimisation specialist, Elisa has learned how to develop meaningful relationships with your customers and automate the customer acquisition process by designing strategies to utilise entry point offers to increase sales. She works as a junction between our clients’ desire for exponential growth and our teams’ eagerness to work towards this goal. As an Account Consultant, Elisa aims to raise her customers’ target market awareness by optimising organic and paid traffic to on-brand online appearances. Her involvement in website production, lead magnet implementation and follow-up strategies engage clients’ target markets and turns leads into conversions.
Meet our Founders
Founder & Fractional CMO
Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.
LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.
— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO
Founder & CEO
Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.
Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.
— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK