By Maddie Langston, IDOC Practice Marketing Consultant
If you own or manage an optometry practice, you realize online reviews matter – not only for marketing, but also in staff recruitment. People may easily share their opinions about you and the practice on many different websites, including your Google places listing, Facebook, Yelp, Healthgrades and Glassdoor.
Online Reviews for Independent Optometry Marketing
Most independent optometry practices strive to deliver personalized care and want to build trusted, long term relationships with patients, so they’ll make those claims on their websites and in marketing collateral, but people are naturally skeptical of marketing language.
It’s for that reason online reviews from patients are so effective – for good or ill. When you have a good plan in place to acquire feedback from your patients on Google, Facebook and Yelp, it will amplify your reputation for good patient care and exceptional customer service in your area. You will see the number of new people coming into the practice increase.
If you choose to ignore how you appear to people on Google, Facebook and Yelp, you may begin to see a negative impact on the number of people coming in, especially if you’re in a competitive area. Few reviews or mostly negative reviews will lead people to believe that choosing you for care is a bad idea.
When it comes to marketing, acquiring online reviews from most (if not all) of your patients should be a high priority.
There are good patient relationship management systems which enable you and the team to send out texts directly after a patient comes in for an exam, and I recommend using one of these systems because it’s more sustainable for you in the long-term.
Asking people in the practice for reviews and then sending them the text will generate results. Don’t worry too much about picking up less than perfect feedback if you use this method. Believe it or not, a few of these poor reviews increase the credibility of your positive reviews – with the people who read them, and with the websites.
Acquiring reviews on your Google places listing is the most important objective because of its visibility. If I am searching for eye care on Google in your area, I’ll probably see your Google places listing. That said, don’t minimize the importance of your Facebook reputation. Seeing one of my friends or neighbors recommend you on Facebook has a very positive impact.
Online Reviews for Staff Recruiting
If you think about it, when you’re recruiting for team members you are marketing the prospect of working at your practice.
Now that reviews are so prevalent, it’s not only prospective patients who will read them, but also prospective employees. No matter how good the job description looks, if you have few reviews or mostly negative reviews, this will impact my perception of how working at your practice will be.
Candidates will look at your Google places listing, your website and social media and may search for you on Glassdoor to get a sense of what their actual experience would be like if they worked for you. This process is the same for any new hire, including associate optometrists. It’s important to set up and then review these places on a regular basis so that you can shape the perception potential employees form of you and your practice so that you attract the best candidates in your area.
Consider implementing an automated text for reviews, particularly Google reviews, and send them to most (if not all) patients along with a verbal request in the practice. This will greatly increase the number of reviews.
Don’t ignore your Facebook reputation. An endorsement from a friend or neighbor on Facebook will go a long way to influence people in a local area.
If you haven’t already, set up your Glassdoor profile and remember that your online reviews matter not only for new patients but also prospective employees, including associate optometrists.
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies to drive sales for various industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Liberty University. Maddie and her husband Jim have a teenage son and two beagles. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries and hiking in her spare time. For questions or comments regarding this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.