Taking Control of Your Optometry Practice’s Online ReputationPosted: July 17, 2019 - By Kalena McElroy
According to Status Labs, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Additionally, positive online reviews make 73% of consumers and patients trust a local business more. In fact, the majority of people don’t even feel comfortable patronizing a business or practice that doesn’t have any online reviews. However, research has also found that companies risk losing almost a quarter of business when customers find just one negative review or article on the first page of search results. Having more than one negative review increases this loss exponentially, so patient satisfaction is paramount to your optometry practice’s success, even more so than in the past.
As a consequence, your practice’s online reputation needs to be taken very seriously, due to the financial repercussions of both positive and negative reviews.
The following tips can help you take better control of your optometry practice’s online reputation.
Ask for Reviews
Asking for reviews from current satisfied patients can help you take control of your online reputation by giving it a boost. Reviews are one of the most important aspects of online reputation because that’s what most people look at when deciding if they want to do business with a company.
Explain to your long-term patients how important reviews are for your practice, and make sure to showcase your glowing patient reviews or testimonials on your website. If you have any local celebrities or influencers as patients, asking them for a review would definitely help give your practice’s reputation a lift.
Respond to All Reviews
When patients write poor reviews about your business online, it can be tough to deal with on both a personal and professional level. But 30% of consumers view businesses that publicly respond to online reviews positively. That’s why it’s best to address the problem head-on without sounding defensive and respond to any patients who leave a less-than-stellar review of your practice. While this can be difficult, responding to unhappy patients proves to others that you care about rectifying the situation and preventing it from happening again. This shows your integrity and potential patients viewing these interactions online will respect that a lot more than if you don’t respond at all.
Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews
Responding to online reviews can be a healthy move for your online reputation, but doing it the wrong way could make things worse. If you want to increase your star rating, check out these tips for responding effectively.
1. Address the issue
Before you do anything, acknowledge the reviewer’s issue and let them know you understand that their experience hasn’t been the greatest. Starting out this way shows that you’re serious about their concerns and you’re working in their best interest. Then, you can ease into an authentic apology.
Apologize to the patient in a sincere and genuine way, but don’t overdo it. Being overly apologetic can make it seem like you’re guiltier than you are or it can make the incident seem worse than it was. So make your apology sincere without going into too much detail.
3. Don’t forget about HIPAA Compliance
Thanking a reviewer for their feedback expresses your intention that you’re looking to help and lets anyone else who reads the review know just what kind of company you are. However, you should be careful not to disclose any details about the patient or the situation, and ask the patient to contact your office in order to get any personal or medical information. Their name, details of the situation, and even the employees the patient dealt with, all should never be discussed online but rather over the phone or in person.
4. Offer to fix the problem
If the problem is something that can easily be fixed, fix it. However, in order to be HIPAA compliant, you can’t acknowledge that the reviewer is necessarily a patient, so while on the phone or in person, you might want to offer something to appease them and let them know that you’re doing everything in your power to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. You should never discuss any details of a patient’s particular situation online. You can however let them know some general information that you want made public, if applicable and true, such as plans to increase staff in order to decrease wait times, upgrade technology (patient portal, text appointment reminders, etc.), or renovate the waiting or examination rooms.
Use Tools to Monitor Your Reputation
If you haven’t been monitoring your online reputation, you might not even know how your practice looks to other people online. But these days, there are all sorts of tools to help you track your online reputation and improve your star rating. First, check the health of your listings and reviews with our free scan in order to truly know where you stand.
Next implement tools like Review Alerts, which sends you notifications any time you’re mentioned online so that you can deal with a reviews quickly and efficiently. If you want to get more sophisticated with your tracking, consider using our Competitor Dashboard, which compares your optometry practice’s reviews and star rating to the local competition.
Your online reputation is extremely important nowadays because people are relying on reviews and online ratings to judge companies before they even make an appointment. Using this information, you can take charge of your reputation, gain new patients, and also catch issues before they spiral out of control. Tackling the latter head-on is the best approach and the tips above can help you do just that. With the right tools, managing your online reputation can be a breeze.