Recently we have had myriad questions from our medical clients about patient reviews and review companies. Recently, the influence of reviews has moved from other industries such as travel and leisure, into medicine as well as insurance and real estate. By some accounts 80% of people have chosen a different provider based on online reviews. This means even if you had a strong referral business in the past, people are now going online to see what other patients thought before calling to book an appointment. And that is just for a consultation. Imagine the research your patients are doing to select someone to cut their body open! But reviews are more about converting leads. Reviews can significantly strengthen your overall web presence and therefore get higher rankings and more leads. As well as provide you with real patient feedback to improve the patient experience.
If you do a direct search and type your name or practice name into Google the results are telling, and not only because of your Google Reviews. A strong web presence would be owning the first page of results. With not only your own site ranking high, but also review sites with a lot of positive reviews, including a strong showing in Google Reviews (the stars and reviews that show up in search results). Then in no particular order, your Facebook page with a bunch of positive reviews and testimonials. Thereafter, positive reviews on sites like Realself, LocateADoc.com and maybe Yelp below that, followed by a good number of positive reviews on Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. You can see how a patient would feel confident in selecting you as their Doctor once they immediately see how many positive things your former patients have to say. Having a lot of strong reviews will also help with your search engine optimization.
How Do I Get More Reviews if I am a busy doctor or business owner with limited time?
So you know you need them but how do you get them? On most public review sites such as HealthGrades or RealSelf, doctors get a free profile just by registering. Patients can go online to one of these sites or any other site like Facebook or Yelp and say pretty much whatever they like. You could train your staff to ask patients to go online when they get home and leave a review when a patient seems satisfied, though it is unlikely by simply requesting reviews you will get very many. Most people are driven to leave a negative review, not a positive one. After they leave your office, pick up the kids, cook dinner, clean the house, and finally have a chance to go online, are they going to remember or even care about leaving a positive review? Probably not.
If you are looking to harness the power of the review and get a good amount pretty quickly you may consider paying for a company to manage and drive reviews for you. But with new companies coming into this space every day it can be difficult to understand what you are paying for.
What Do Review Companies Do to Get Me More Reviews and Manage Negative Reviews?
Picking a review company is similar to picking a web team. Google is watching so your selection could matter. In the case of reviews there are two general things to consider. First, everything from collection, posting, and your responses, must be HIPAA compliant if you are working as a doctor or in medicine. If you are a small business owner of any other sort, there are still rules as well that one must follow when trying to increase positive online reviews. On the tech side, it is important the reviews come from real patients who submit the reviews themselves. If you have a staff member entering handwritten reviews on the same computer into different review sites, Google puts very little weight. Because it knows all of the reviews are coming in from one computer. It immediately thinks you are just putting in fake patient reviews. Review companies, however, have found various ways to drive patient reviews in a fair and balanced way. Which is why, if you want a lot of reviews and pretty quickly, you have no choice but to hire a review company. You could spend thousands of dollars a month or $60, the difference is in the method of collection.
Which Review Company Is Right For Me?
Each review company will tell you they are unique and innovative. After comparing a few major players, we have established the main area of difference is the method of review collection. Most companies monitor the major public review sites for negative reviews and will help you address them. Most companies have software to publish reviews to various sites, spreading around the reviews to give you a balanced web presence. The difference is whether the company gives you the platform to drive reviews, has patients fill out the review point of service, or calls and emails the patients and transcribes their review on your behalf.
Providing a text option for point of service reviews as well as email links to follow up with the patient later. But they do not contact the patients on behalf of the office.
If you are looking for a more full service option, there are a bunch of good companies who will help drive patient reviews on your behalf. The caveat is that you will pay more money the more full service the company is. Some companies will call your patients and transcribe their responses. You will also pay for every review posted. Whereas in between there are companies who provide an iPad to help with point of service reviews and will email links out to patients who have not completed the survey. Taking the work of following up with patients for a review out of the office staff’s hands.
Things Will Change in the World of Online Reviews
Although reviews and public review sites have been around for a while, they have become an industry unto themselves recently. Which means Google will undoubtedly make changes down the line. One of the changes that had come through recently is Google’s weight on the date of the review. This means that you will need a constant stream of new reviews to keep earning the SEO power from the review. As changes occur, SEOversite will be on top of them to help be the guardian angel watching over your web presence. Indeed, likely reading this blog in a few years may mean reviews online are no longer given weight by Google, or who they are gathered or posted may change. What we know right now is you must “keep up with the Joneses” or risk losing leads and inquiries and part of that equation is leading with online review companies.
For more information regarding which Review Company is best for your needs or for help overseeing or finding a new web team check out www.seoversite.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org as we often can achieve better pricing for our clients that calling the company directly, plus we can help guide you on the best option for your budget and business.