Most of us entered the eyecare profession not thinking of healthcare as a part of the customer service industry, but something separate and more nuanced. In eyecare, our patients are also customers, but we are careful to call them patients because we believe that’s more elevated. The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust; respectful of our knowledge, patients accept prescriptions and advice.
The reality? To the average patient, the patient/customer distinction doesn’t exist. A 2015 survey showed 54 percent of millennials “shop” for doctors online the way they would for a restaurant. Some 84 percent of patients used online reviews to decide whether to schedule an appointment! And they’re not just reading up on doctors recommended by friends to reassure themselves; 77 percent used online reviews as a first step in choosing a provider.
Search engines heavily weight user-generated content like reviews to rank websites based on search items. If you’re a doctor in Greenville, SC, and someone searches “eye doctor Greenville,” the doctor with more online reviews, and more positive reviews, will get the biggest boost. For every star a business averages on Yelp, studies show an increase in revenue of 5 to 9 percent.
So how do you encourage patients to write more (good) reviews? Many software companies offer ways to increase positive reviews, and this is how most of them work:
- Patients are sent a short survey after their visit.
- Patients that give positive feedback are sent a link to Google Reviews or Yelp and asked to post their review online with one click. This improves the chances of good online reviews.
- If a patient gives a negative review, they aren’t sent a link, but the doctor’s office is alerted.
This method insures good reviews are posted, and bad reviews are not. Make the investment to generate more reviews and reap the benefits!
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 edition of INVISION.