We spend a lot of time here speaking with healthcare providers about the importance of being proactive in managing your online presence. With more patients and caregivers relying on Dr. Google and social media for recommendations on where to go for health care, what patients see about you online is more relevant than ever before.
One aspect that many healthcare providers often overlook when taking control of their online presence is monitoring their professional ratings and reviews. The reasons for this are varied, but they’re never good reasons for neglecting such a large component of why a patient decides to call in or book an online appointment.
Last week, our friends at BrightLocal released their 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey. The survey, running for the sixth consecutive year, looks to understand how a consumers choice in a business are affected by the business’s online reputation and reviews.
Taken by 1,062 US adults, many of the findings have scary consequences for doctors, healthcare providers and other medical professionals who aren’t taking their online reputation seriously.
1. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
More and more consumers are trusting the online reviews they read. Part of this is due to the work of rating and review websites have done to clean-up astroturfing, moderation of negative reviews and other filters that have removed many spammy or malicious reviews. With more and more data available to consumers, they are finding that they’re increasingly able to make purchase decisions without “phoning a friend.”
2. 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” We often say that the only way to prevent the impact of a negative review is to consistently be getting new ones. Given only 10% of patients leave reviews naturally, it seems there’s a huge opportunity for doctors and physicians to integrate asking for a rating or review during the examination or right after, by having the front door ask or using a piece of software to automatically solicit a review via text.
3. 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
Although consumers and patients have more information than ever before, first impressions still matter! Since the average consumer is reading less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion, it’s important healthcare providers are not just monitoring their ratings, but doing something to improve them. Even if you still believe word of mouth or referrals are your number one source of new patients, know that patients are checking your ratings and reviews, before they decide to contact you and if they received more than one recommendation, comparing what they see to your competitors.
If these three facts about online reviews don’t scare you into actions, we don’t know what will! (Actually, we do. It’s usually a couple of nasty negative reviews.)
Don’t ignore the current pain of generating new reviews or let your less than stellar online reputation become a chronic issue for your practice. Patient reviews are more important than ever!