Good recommendations play an important part in our purchasing decisions-- from restaurants to medical providers. Trust is the key word here and that’s why we tend to favor opinions from our network of friends and family. Now, thanks to the Internet, that network has expanded to include people we will never actually meet. And yet we trust their opinion over the very best paid advertisement. Why? Because the online network is full of people sharing their own personal (read ‘real’) experiences—the good ones and the bad. We perceive their online reviews as potential shortcuts to what we’re really after—a positive experience! A 2014 BrightLocal Survey found that 88% of Internet users trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
Think of how that can impact your ECP.
Yelp reports that their average monthly visitors (combining desktop and mobile device unique visitors) average more than 161 million. As of early 2016, Facebook’s daily average user count had reached beyond 1.04 billion.
And here are two more staggering statistics (Are you dizzy yet?):
- 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a business.
- 80% go online first when evaluating a medical provider.
Now, what does all that mean to you? Lots.
Bad Over Good
People are more likely to share a negative experience than a good one, simply because they usually expect a positive interaction and are angry when they don’t get it. Airing a bad experience via an online review can be a release of frustration and resentment as well as a way to retaliate for a bad product or service. Just seeing the bad review in print and knowing that it’s “out there” is satisfying. Especially considering how many people are likely to see it. Not to mention that your review can save someone else from having a similar negative experience. This is why it’s so important to monitor what people are saying about you online. Just one bad review can be “contagious” and keep patients from coming to your practice.
Good Over Bad
Nothing grows your practice more than happy patients spreading the word—in person and/or online. So you want to encourage those positive reviews and find ways to make it easy for your patients to post them. But even when you receive the occasional negative review, the trust that people have in what they read online can still work to your benefit. You have the opportunity to respond (quickly) with an apology and/or explanation, maybe even a peace offering (a refund or credit). Often, all it takes to win back a patient’s trust is to make them feel they’ve been ‘heard’ and taken seriously. Keep in mind that many people are likely to read the review and your response. This kind of human exchange can reverse the negative effect of a bad review by demonstrating your engagement and genuine desire to make things right.
EyeCare Prime Reach can help you manage your online reviews.