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Maddie Langston | 9/24/2020

By now, most of us are familiar with online reviews and understand their reach and influence, particularly on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. As a marketing consultant at IDOC, I work with optometry practice owners and managers to increase the number of new patients at the practice, retain existing patients, and build a strong local brand in their communities.

Whenever I consult with a practice which has seen a significant increase in the number of new patients YTD versus the same time period last year, I always ask how they achieved the growth, and usually hear that they worked to increase the number of reviews on their Google listing and have seen new people coming into the practice as a direct result.

The first step to using online reviews to attract new patients is to ensure patients receive excellent care and service so that they want to tell other people about their experience. The practice must provide remarkable service which stands out and is memorable. Providing a great patient experience is the foundation of your practice marketing, and you won’t see success in acquiring reviews from patients without providing them with excellent service first.

The second step to using online reviews to attract new patients is to build a seamless process inside the practice, making it easy for people to provide feedback where other people can read it. Most practices have a patient relationship platform provider that enables them to send appointment reminders via email and text to patients. These platforms usually have a survey you can distribute to people after they visit you for an exam. While surveys are essential to determine how patients feel about the service they received at your office, they are only available for you to see or are published on a link separate from your Google listing. Therefore, these survey results aren’t as powerful as Google reviews to attract new patients because people can’t easily access or read them.

The process I recommend is letting patients know they’re going to receive a text or email from you asking for their feedback and that you’d appreciate it if they’d take a minute to review you. Use the patient relationship management platform to distribute a link to your Google listing to make it easy for them to share their review in a place where other people may easily read it (your Google listing).

Go ahead and send the link to your Google listing to everyone, and don’t worry too much about receiving a “bad” review. Not all patients will accommodate your request, so you need to send out the link to as many people as possible to increase the number of reviews. As long as you maintain a 4-star rating, and above, most people will understand that no company is perfect, and there are times when challenging situations arise in customer service.

Put a sustainable process in place like the one I’ve outlined. You should start acquiring considerably more reviews on your Google listing, and you will attract new patients to the practice who are impressed with all of the feedback online about your practice.

Maddie Langston
Associate Director, Marketing Services
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies and platforms to drive sales for organizations in the fitness and business services industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. This is where she developed her passion for partnering with small business owners to help them compete with franchises and big box retail chains. Maddie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liberty University. She is excited to be a part of the IDOC team, and to help you utilize marketing to brand your practice, retain patients, and drive new patients to you.
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