The importance of positive online reviews to promote and grow your optometry practice cannot be overstated. Although word-of-mouth used to be the main way consumers found out about and established trust in small businesses, in today’s world they rely primarily on online research, customer reviews and ratings. In fact, studies show that the vast majority (more than 90%) of consumers now read online reviews before deciding to visit or support a business. Furthermore, at least 88% of consumers report that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With these impressive numbers in mind, there is so much potential to reach new patients through glowing optometrist reviews. Do not let this wealth of opportunity go to waste!
3 Creative Ways to Get Optometrist Reviews for Your Practice
It is clear that online reviews are important, however, they very rarely evolve organically. So the key question is: how can you make optometrist reviews for your practice happen? Below you will find a few practical and creative ideas to foster positive online reviews for your optometry practice.
We understand that running your own optometry practice is no walk in the park — you probably have enough on your plate as it is, without adding marketing to the never-ending list. If focusing on your online reviews seems daunting to handle on your own, keep in mind that there are great marketing services for optometrists that can help guide you through the process, improve your online reputation and bolster your online presence. With optometrist reviews playing such a key role in the success of your practice, you may find it’s worth additional focus and investment. Professional, strategic management on your online reputation can go great lengths and help you stand out from your competition.
#1: Send Patients Home with a Reminder
The most obvious way to encourage your patients to leave a review of your practice is to simply ask them to do so. Unless you suspect that the customer did not have a positive experience, your receptionist should thank them and politely ask them to leave you a review when they check out or leave your office. To make follow-through more likely, rather than just asking them verbally, you could send them a text message or email thanking them for coming in and providing them with a link to conveniently leave an online review. Alternatively, you could send them home with a small thank you or business card that reminds them to leave a review and directs them to the appropriate webpage – whether that be Yelp, Google, Facebook, or another site. It is estimated that a minimum of 10-20% of people will follow-through with a review after being asked. Though this may not seem like a huge percentage, the reviews will certainly start to stack up over time. The easier you make it, the more likely they will be to complete a review. Keep in mind, the likelihood of them leaving a review only decreases with time, so make sure to present the ask immediately after their appointment or purchase.
#2: Offer an Incentive
To amp up the rate of follow-through, you may want to consider incentivising your customers to leave you an online review. Think about what optometrist reviews are worth to you and what you could offer — perhaps a 10% discount on eyewear, a free eyewear consultation with their next appointment, or something similar. Another idea is to arrange a raffle that patients can enter by leaving a review. If you have reviews on multiple sites or platforms, multiple reviews could equal multiple entries in the raffle. Whatever you choose as an incentive, simply ask that they show you their completed review to claim the discount or enter to win. Be sure to put a sign up by the receptionist so that the offer is clearly visible when they are ready to check in or out. You can also promote an offer like this on your website or Facebook page.
#3: Create an Email Campaign
As mentioned above, providing customers with a direct link to leave a review of your practice will dramatically increase their likelihood of doing so. Thanking your customers after they come in for an appointment or purchase is an important step, one that you are hopefully already doing. Why not get two things done in one email and ask your customers about their experience after thanking them? Ask them to leave a review and provide the link to make it as quick and convenient as possible. In terms of design, you should embed the link as a clear and eye-catching button. To simplify the process on your end, you can create an standard email template and have it automatically sent out immediately after the customer leaves your office.
The above ideas are just a few of the many ways to encourage optometrist reviews of your practice. For the best possible results, we recommend partnering with an optometry marketing expert that can help you develop a robust, thorough and creative plan to garner reviews.
The Importance of Monitoring Reviews of Your Optometry Practice
Opportunities to leave online reviews are now popping up everywhere – from social media pages like Facebook, to Google Maps, to sites like Yelp that are centered around customer reviews and ratings. There are also several search and review sites specific to the medical field, such as HealthGrades and ZocDoc, that allow viewers to book an appointment online and can help you attract new customers. It can be time consuming to monitor and manage all these different platforms, but staying on top of your reviews is absolutely crucial. Responding to and thanking the customers who do leave you a positive review will not only help you maintain and build your relationship with that customer, but also make a good impression on other potential customers who may be reading. Handling negative reviews is equally, if not more important — read more on this in the section below.
Once you have built up a collection of positive reviews, don’t just let them sit there — use them! They make for great, ready-to-use content that you can share to promote and market your practice. Think about how you can share them on your website or via your social media platforms.
How to Handle Negative Online Reviews
Of course, not all reviews you receive are going to be stellar, but don’t be discouraged! You don’t have to have perfect, five-star reviews to attract new customers. In reality, studies have found that 92% of readers will still use a business with four-star reviews. Furthermore, the majority of readers will only look at the first 4-6 reviews, so if you get one negative review, you can essentially “bury” it overtime with positive ones.
Additionally, remember that even negative reviews are valuable to your practice, as they may bring to light issues that need to be addressed or areas for potential improvement. The key with less-than-positive reviews is to respond to them, and to do so quickly. Let the reviewer know that their complaint has been heard, how you are working to address the issue, and if appropriate, offer up an apology. How you respond is a reflection on your business and your customer service, so make sure your tone is kind and caring, rather than defensive. Other customers looking through your reviews will likely pay attention to how you respond to complaints and take into account both sides of the story before making a judgment of your practice — so think of the option to respond as an opportunity for damage control.
Marketing Services for Your Optometry Practice
Encouraging, monitoring and responding to online reviews on a wide range of platforms and websites definitely takes time and investment, and can easily become overwhelming, especially for a small optometry practice. Partnering with a specialized optometry marketing support service can help ease the burden on your practice and give you time to focus on what really matters: assisting your patients and delivering the best quality care and customer service possible! With the right support that allows you to prioritize your customer care and experience, getting enough positive reviews will be a breeze. Our Membership Marketing Program at Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) will help you brand and market your optometry practice in a variety of strategic ways – from social media management, to design and print services to encourage reviews, to unlimited customer support, to Yelp account setup, and much, much more. Whether you are looking to simply revamp your marketing efforts or build a complete plan from scratch, we will meet you where you’re at and provide personalized support to help you grow and achieve your goals.