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.
Let’s say one day after an exam and a visit in your optical, a patient reviews their experience on your Google business listing and Yelp.
The review includes many details which makes it clear to anyone reading that they visited the practice, had an exam, and worked with an optician.... Read more
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If you’ve temporarily closed or truncated the hours of operation at your optometry practice after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people delay routine eye care exams, please update your community by communicating the short-term changes through these... Read more
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It’s primarily a visual medium where you can tell your independent brand story through images and videos, and it’s a very popular daily... Read more
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Before you read this article, take three seconds and Google the name of your practice.
If you’re on a desktop computer, don’t click on your website in the search results; instead, look at the image and name of your practice on the right-hand side of the screen. That’s your free... Read more