Online reviews are trusted as much as personal referrals. In fact, Wall Street Journal says that 89% of people ages 35 to 54 trust reviews. So, it is important to manage your online reputation. Let’s look at why reviews are trusted and how people may interpret them.
Verified Online Reviews Are Trusted More
Anonymous reviews were common when review sites started. However, fake reviews and spam were easy for anonymous reviews. Thus, most sites now validate reviews via site login, Facebook or Google accounts. Sure, you will see some fake names, but most accounts today can be traced if you are targeted by spam. This makes it more challenging to get patient reviews about plastic surgery because many don’t want others to know. Look for sites that allow you to use first name and last initial or accounts that allow more than one name.
Number of Stars Sets Perception
It is easy to see your average overall rating at a glance. Your Google My Business rating shows up in Google maps and search results. Medical review sites show you average rating beside your name. If your overall rating is low on a review site, the initial perception is poor. Potential patients may choose to go elsewhere. Here are some ways you can help this perception.
- Respond to all reviews by thanking them for taking time to share their experience. Invite negative reviewers to contact the office to resolve their issue. If you can resolve the issue, ask the reviewer if they will update an existing review. You can also answer the review by saying that you have spoken with the reviewer and resolved the problem.
- Sign up for an automated system to manage your reviews and showcase your best online reputation. Check out PUMC’s Global Online Reviews for more facts about how these systems work.
- Flag erroneous reviews that don’t meet guidelines of review sites. In some instances, the review site will remove a review.
Ask for Reviews With Details
Most people trust reviews that they relate to more than vague comments. For example, a person thinking about a facelift will read more reviews on facelifts. Search makes it easy to find “facelift” on a review web page. Ask your patients to include the procedure name and/or a few details if they are comfortable doing so. This will help potential patients identify reviews that pertain to them.
Tip: When you automate managing your reviews, regular notification makes it easy to pull together reviews on your key procedures. Note the review site and date of each review for validation. Then, you can share a “What Patients Say” page with a new patient that is considering the same procedure.
Managing your online reputation takes some time and expertise. If you have doubts or your reputation isn’t what you want, contact PUMC. Remember, online reviews are trusted by almost 90% of the population.