Online reviews stimulate practice growth.

Ninety-two percent of online consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Of those, 90 percent claim that they are strongly influenced by positive reviews when it comes to making purchasing decisions. If your practice has negative online reviews or reviews you have not yet responded to, this can be harmful to your online reputation and might deter new clients from choosing your practice when searching for a service provider. These statistics alone demonstrate that maintaining a positive online reputation is instrumental to your practice success.

Use the following tips to cultivate more five-star reviews and attract new patients to your practice doors.

1. Give Patients a Reason to Help You
Give new and regular clients a compelling reason to review your business. By regularly introducing new specials, offering incentives and delivering fresh, informative content to your online followers, your clients will be happier and, therefore, are more likely to write a positive review about your business.
However, it is important to remember that bribing or rewarding clients to write positive reviews of your practice is not allowed on third-party review sites and can actually be detrimental to your star rating. Instead, you might offer new patient specials on your social media networks or encourage honest reviews of your services in exchange for an ongoing raffle entry, limited-time discount or something similar.

Woman at computer2. Simply Ask
Ask your highly satisfied or regular clients if they would feel comfortable writing a review for you on one of the most-trusted third-party review sites, such as Google+, Facebook or Yelp. Do not instruct them on what to write in their review and, if they decline, thank them for considering it and don’t take it personally.

Although it may seem tempting to ask as many people as possible to review your practice, it is not in your best interest to do so. Most third-party review sites penalize pages that receive a high volume of reviews at one time, assuming that many of them are fake.

3. Simplify It
Unfortunately, only a fraction of satisfied patients will post on third-party review sites of their own volition. Encourage more of your clients to leave positive reviews by embedding icons that link to your social sites — such as Yelp, Google+ and Facebook — on your practice website to make accessing these review sites as simple as possible. For example, link a “Review Us Now!” button on your homepage to guide highly-satisfied clients to review your practice with the click of a button.

4. Say Thank You
Clients do not owe you online reviews. Whenever possible, take a moment to acknowledge the time someone took to review your practice and thank them for their words and patronage. Although it may seem overwhelming to keep track of and respond to every review left for your practice, simply saying “thank you” can go a long way in building and sustaining relationships with satisfied clients. This will, not only make the initial reviewer happy, but it will also show potential clients who are reading your online reviews that you are polite, professional and value the input and experience of all your clients.

5. Respond to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews happen to even the best businesses. When they do, your practice’s response is almost as important as the review itself.

Before posting your response, investigate what happened and verify the information mentioned by the reviewer. Take time to formulate a thoughtful response and demonstrate how much you value your patients, how engaged your practice is and how you actively solve problems for your clients. You may not be able to resolve things with this one particular customer, but showing integrity and a sincere attempt to resolve the issue at hand will show other potential clients you care about their experience at your practice.
Not all clients will tell you directly what they think you could improve or what would make them more likely to return to your practice — be thankful for the ones that do! Online reviews can offer a wealth of information that you or your staff can use to improve your patients’ overall experience.


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