Reviews aren’t just for restaurants and Amazon purchases anymore. Searches for terms like “podiatrist Miami reviews” have been steadily increasing, as has consumer awareness of doctor-specific review sites such as ZocDoc and Healthgrades.
Reviews have become the way potential patients pick a doctor; they’re the modern version of word-of-mouth. If you expect to keep up with the competition you need to understand the importance of reviews and implement a review-gathering process…now!
A Step-By-Step Review Strategy for Doctors
Three Steps to Online Review Success
Without a review-generation plan in place, there is little chance you’ll be successful in getting good quality reviews for your practice; without a plan you’ll be taking a shot in the dark. To help you find and enact a plan that works for you we’ve created a three-step review acquisition strategy tailored specifically to doctors:
Step One: Identify the Best Review Sites for Your Practice
One of the best and simplest ways to find review sites to focus on is to search your medical practice with the word “review” added in. To get the best, non-personal-search-history-influenced results, you need to open an “incognito window” in Chrome or Firefox or “hide personal results” in Google. Also, be sure to change your location settings in Google to your local city (which may not be where you’re searching from).
Once you’ve done this, make a list of all of the review sites that pop up on the first page or two of the search results. This is important because there may be niched or local sites that are important only in your geographic area or specialty and you don’t want to miss these!
Another way is to dig into Google Analytics. Here you can see how people are finding your site. It’s possible that at least a few site visitors have gotten to your website through a review site; add these to your list as well.
You’re almost done with step one! All that’s left is to check your list against our list. For a full list of every physician-centric review and listing site you should be a part of, read our article “The Six Best Directories for Doctors and How to Take Advantage of Each One.”
Step Two: Do Some Recon
With your list in hand, visit your medical practice’s page on each of the review sites. Have you claimed the listing? How does your page look? Is it missing information? Have you added images? Is your profile image a professional headshot or your practice’s logo? If not, it’s time to claim your listing and make it as robust as possible. It’s especially important that your name, address, and phone number are identical on each site. If any of these are off by even one number, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on new patients.
Now that you’ve claimed all of your listings—most are simple and free to claim—you need to take a closer look at any reviews you’ve gotten. If the reviews were written a year or less ago it’s a great ideal to respond to each review; good or bad. To help you respond to negative reviews we’ve written a helpful article, “Your Medical Practice Got a Bad Review: Here’s the Best Way to Respond.”
For good reviews a simple, “Thank you for your kind words. We are so happy to hear we helped you and if there is anything else we can help you with please do not hesitate to call!” will do.
Step Three: Make a Plan and Set it Into Motion
Before you chart a course for getting more reviews, you need to understand the basics of ethical review acquisition. You want your reviews to be spaced out over time, to come from different locations (hint: not in a computer you set up in your office) and to be written by a real patient (never by a company you hired to get better reviews) If you don’t play by these rules you run the very risk of getting your reviews—legitimate or not—being removed by the website. Before you proceed, be sure to read more about this in our popular article, “How do I prevent reviews for my business from being removed from Google, Yelp and other review sites?”
Now it’s time to make your plan—yes, finally! This should begin with excellent patient service (most reviews will review based primarily on wait times and the way they were treated by your staff, not your medical skills) and end with your asking for reviews.
For most doctors this can be an uncomfortable process. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips to help you ask for reviews with grace and class:
- Make asking for a review (on your patients’ favorite review sites—let them choose) part of your outtake process.
- Include a request for reviews in any mailings and newsletters you send out. Include links to several of your targeted review sites so that patients are able to pick the one they are most comfortable with.
- Be sure your website has a “Rate Us” page. See our tips for creating an effective “Rate Us” page, along with examples, here.
Ready to Get Started?
I hope that I’ve given you the tools you need to determine what sites you need to target and get the reviews you need to succeed in your local market. If you need further advice, read the articles listed below or call our 100% U.S.-based team at 888-886-0939. And to ensure you never miss a blog, article, or big change from Google, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.