Every medical practice owner knows a positive patient experience is essential to the success of their business. But word of mouth is no longer a viable marketing strategy — If you want to grow your practice, even the most satisfied patients won’t bring back enough business to make an impact on your bottom line.
Consumer habits have changed, and if your competitors haven’t already adapted their marketing strategies to fit these shifting trends, you can be confident they will soon. Your potential patients still place high value in social trust, but their information-gathering process has largely moved to the Internet — particularly through online reviews sites and social media.
To improve your practice’s online presence, you must first understand how important reviews are to consumers. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:
Nearly all of your potential patients read reviews.
90% of all patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians.
Potential patients immediately turn to reviews for guidance.
Nearly three-quarters of consumers (71%) say they use online reviews as the first step for finding a new doctor.
People trust reviews just as much as word of mouth.
76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and trust is highest among consumers between the ages of 35 and 54 at 89%.
Consumers check multiple sources for reviews.
- 84.5% of people who read reviews visit at least two different review sites before making a decision. (Source: Scorpion “Consumer Online Search Preference” Survey, May 2020)
And even if they recognize the value of online reviews, practice owners often fall short in their pursuit of a stronger reputation. You cannot hope to bolster your reputation if you are not...
1. Ensuring that your client interactions, both online and in-person, are as positive as possible.
Naturally, happy patients are more likely to leave positive reviews. But when you approach every touchpoint with a five-star experience in mind, you’ll find new opportunities for improvement.
2. Responding to negative reviews properly.
Report negative reviews that you suspect to be inaccurate or fraudulent, respond to them if you feel like you could salvage a patient relationship, and address any shortcomings that unsatisfied patients bring to light.
3. Properly equipped to manage and improve your online presence.
This can simply include polishing your profiles on directory sites and making sure you regularly check them, or you can work with a marketing partner that offers specific tools to help improve your ratings.
The recommendations above are only a few of the ways you can take action to strengthen your medical practice’s online reputation and bring in more new patients.