For every small business, regardless of your industry or specialty, people are talking about your business online. Whether it's on Facebook, Yelp, Google, Snapchat, or a personal blog - there is information about your business online, and this information can have a significant impact on your business.
When many people search for anything online whether it's a new product for purchase or a restaurant they want to try, it's natural to look at customer reviews before making a decision. And, new patients are doing the same thing when looking to make an appointment at a new practice. Before we get into a few tips for managing your online reputation, let's look at some of the benefits online reviews have on your business.
It's a great way to find new customers.
Online reviews act as word of mouth referrals. It's one thing for your practice to call yourself great, but it's so much more powerful when it's coming from a group of unbiased patients. In fact, 65% of new business comes from referrals.
It benefits your local SEO.
Good SEO rankings are another big factor in gaining new patients. If your practice is showing up before your competitors when someone searches for local optometrists, you'll likely get more business. And, online reviews are in the top 20 ranking factors which means they have a big impact on your practice's SEO rankings.
It strengthens your brand.
You may not think of your eyecare practice as a brand, but it is.The more positive attributes associated with your brand, the more likely people will remember it and associate it with confidence and trust. But, the same goes if your reviews are negative, it can have the opposite effect on your brand.
5 Tips for Managing the Online Reputation of Your Optometric Practice
- Monitor What People are Saying
If you're ignoring popular review sites like Yelp, Google, or Facebook then you won't have any idea what people might be saying about you. Assigning someone in your office to check review sites daily is important for keeping up with the latest feedback from your patients.
- Be Transparent
When there are negative reviews out there, it's important to respond and be transparent about the specific issue. Don't get defensive, but recognize how the reviewer feels and how you can come up with a solution to make their experience a more positive one.
- React Quickly
Responding quickly to a negative review is also important, which is why daily monitoring needs to be on your to-do list. A quick response shows that you care about the situation and want to make things right with the patient.
- Learn from Mistakes
While negative online reviews aren't what you want, it's important to learn from each complaint. While in some cases there will be disagreement to the degree and details of the issue at hand, there is likely something that your practice can improve upon to ensure the same situation doesn't happen again.
- Promote Reviews
One way to help combat any negative reviews of your business is to pay attention to the patients who express how happy they are with you and your office, and ask them to share their experience online. Not every patient is the right candidate for this, but if you pick and choose your most loyal and positive patients many of them would probably be happy to share their appreciation.