If you’ve been in practice for any length of time, you already know that the insights your patients share online are the modern-day equivalent of personal referrals. And because they’re easily shared with countless others, rather than one-on-one, their reach is potentially unlimited. To borrow the familiar line about social media, online reviews really are “word of mouth on steroids.”
But online reviews do a lot more than just spread the word about you and your practice. As this infographic from ReachLocal shows, reviews can also boost your search rank, provide business insights, and ensure you have a presence on the sites (e.g., review sites) where web searchers spend a lot of their time:
Equally important, perhaps, the common concern that online reviews are more likely to hurt, rather than enhance, your reputation is overblown. According to RealSelf research, average star ratings for plastic surgeons are 4.0 on Yelp, 4.2 on Healthgrades, and 4.7 on RealSelf. Add in the fact that 88% of consumers researching an aesthetic procedure won’t even consider a doctor that doesn’t have patient reviews and it’s clear that keeping them hidden will do more harm than good.
If you want to showcase your practice, highlight online reviews
As the above data suggests, if you ask patients if they’re happy with their results, the vast majority will say yes. At that point, there’s no harm in asking if they’ll “do you a favor” and share their feelings via an online review. The easier you make it for them to follow through — via a pre-printed form, follow-up email, or tool like RealSelf’s Patient Engage — the more likely their word of mouth will inspire action in others.