Pet owners no longer keep their opinions about your veterinary practice to themselves. They now share their feedback online for everybody to see. Negative online reviews from customers or a less than four-star rating can send potential customers to your competition and cause current customers to reconsider your practice.
Online reviews have the power to make or break your veterinary practice. According to Nielsen’s report, more than 70 percent of global customers trust online reviews, which makes them the second-most trusted source of information. That is an increase of more than 15 percent in just four years. Another study from Maritz Research proves that 75 percent of customers think online reviews are generally honest.
Whether you agree or not, your prospects are searching the Internet to see what others are saying about your veterinary practice, and what they find could determine whether or not they will schedule an appointment with you. Simply put, positive reviews attract more customers, which means greater profit and growth for your veterinary practice.
If your veterinary practice has negative online reviews, it can damage your online reputation and might discourage new clients from choosing your practice when searching for a provider. Therefore, maintaining a positive online reputation is essential to the success of your veterinary practice.
Here are some of the main reasons why online reviews are important for your veterinary practice:
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
- Improved search rankings: Online reviews play a significant role in improving your search engine rankings. Currently, search engines like Google show the top three practices for any search. When many practices meet the search criteria, Google considers online reviews to determine which brand names to display. Therefore, practices with a greater number of online reviews are more likely to appear in the top three spots. Also, online reviews improve search visibility and drive traffic to your practice website through search engines.
- Better conversion rate: It is possible to drive sales of your products and services just by including customer reviews on your website. According to research, 61 percent of customers read online reviews before choosing a veterinary practice for their pet care, and 63 percent of customers are more likely to consult a veterinarian who has online customer reviews. According to Reevoo, practices can potentially increase their revenue by 18 percent just by including online reviews on their website.
- Increased credibility: Having online reviews on a third-party review site can add more credibility to your practice than having reviews on your own website. Google’s search algorithms include data from third-party directories and sites such as Healthgrades and Vitals. Review sites have a significant impact on customer decision-making.
- Impact on your bottom line: In addition to increasing traffic and enhancing credibility, online reviews impact your practice’s bottom line. Even the smartest customer will be willing to pay a bit more for a product with positive reviews. Considering what a revenue hike could do to the bottom line of your practice, it makes every sense to include online reviews in your marketing strategy.
- Help in understanding customers: If you do not encourage reviews from current customers, there is no way for your potential customers to learn about your practice. Through online reviews, you get to know the positive and negative influence of your service, and this helps provide a better customer experience. You will be able to understand the needs of your customers and to custom-tailor your service accordingly.
By now it is evident that online reviews are important for your veterinary practice, and incorporating customer reviews into your marketing plan is essential. However, the most important thing you can do to attract more positive reviews is to deliver an unmatched customer experience. Focusing on the customer experience is critical, especially if you want your customers to say great things about your brand.
For increasing brand mentions and driving traffic to their website, most medical practitioners invite their patients to leave comments about their service. Though requesting your customers to spend their valuable time writing a review is not too much to ask for, if done wrong, it can make your practice look bad. While there are many ways that you can go about asking for reviews, here are the four most useful ways:
- Request a review: You can ask your regular customers to leave an online review for your practice on one of the popular review sites, such as HealthGrades. Do not push them or direct them on what to write in their review and if they refuse, do not take it personally.
- Simplify the review process: No matter how great the customer service you provide, not many customers will try to find out where to post a review for your practice. Therefore, make it as easy for them by sending a direct link to your review site. You can encourage your customers to rate your practice on social media pages. You can also send a post-visit email or hand out postcards that list URLs to review sites as customers leave your practice.
- Offer incentives for posting a review: Though it is not considered ethical to bribe a customer to post a review, you can show your appreciation for their efforts by offering them discounts on their next visit to your practice. This may encourage your customers to share their feedback in exchange for a gift card or free lab tests. You can extend discounts to all the customers who rate your practice on social media or post a review and rating on review sites.
- Provide excellent customer service: The first and last impressions will leave a lasting effect on your customers. Train your staff to properly welcome customers and make them feel special even when they leave your practice. These little gestures will help a patient feel connected to your practice and may generate a positive review.
Online reviews are an important part of your veterinary marketing strategy. Make sure your online reviews are compelling enough to convince more pet owners to choose your veterinary practice. MyPracticeReputation can help you safeguard and improve your veterinary practice’s online reputation. We offer a broad range of solutions tailored to meet your needs and budget. Contact us for more information.