the importance of online reviews

Each year the Edelman Trust Barometer polls thousands of people around the globe to find out who they trust and whose opinions they value. A major shift occurred when the answer was ‘someone just like me’ instead of experts, authority figures, or the media.

What caused that shift?  Social media.

The average person now has access to a platform where they can voice their opinions and we all have access to that content.

After years of having no voice or outlet for our opinions, we’re connected in a global village where we can ask our “neighbors” for their take on products, services, and businesses. Online reviews have become a powerful tool.

We have easy access to “people just like me” and we value their input.

  • Positive reviews are the top influence on consumer buying (SOCi)
  • 97% of consumers consult product reviews before making a purchase (PowerReviews).
  • 86% of consumers read local business reviews (BrightLocal)
  • Nearly half (45%) of brick-and-mortar sales start with an online review (BazaarVoice)

Reviews are also a major driver of healthcare decisions. Millennials research everything before making a decision and that applies to their health care providers too.  They trust online reviews and will pick their doctor, chiropractor, or other provider based on what they read online.

A survey of nearly 2,500 patients found that 82 percent of respondents said they use reviews to evaluate their doctors and health care providers. That’s a huge jump in the last six years – only 25 percent of patients said they used online reviews in 2013.

How Reviews Affect Your Revenue

Four out of five customers won’t buy from a company or work with a healthcare provider with negative reviews. According to a Harvard Business School study, a 1-star increase in your Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue. The study further states that the difference in revenue between a 3-star and a 5-star rating can be as high as 18%.

Consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more on a business with excellent reviews, and 92 percent will use a local business if it has at least a four-star rating.

So it’s vital that you take control of your reviews. Right now only 36 percent of small business owners use review marketing. As you can see from these numbers, if you take control of your reviews it can pay off handsomely.

How do you get these reviews?

People are busy and when the experience is good they often don’t write a review.  Help your patients help you. An automated review management system can email your patients after they have had an appointment. A good system makes it quick and easy for them to create a review with just a few clicks and post it on Facebook or Google.

You can read and respond to the reviews and you catch any unhappy patients fast.  It will also give you a way to track the performance of your staff, as each request for a review asks for feedback on the provider they saw.

Online reviews can have a significant effect on your practice.  Make sure that you are managing them proactively.

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