Star ratings are nothing new to most consumers. It has taken healthcare a little while to catch up to other industries, but today Google ratings play a significant role in your ability to attract new patients. Some physicians are unaware of just how important online reputation management is, while others may know they should be paying attention, and just not know the best way to do it
The Rise of Online Ratings in Medicine
Before you try a new restaurant, you probably search online and take a look at how many stars the restaurant has on Google or Yelp. These platforms, which began mostly in the retail and food industries, are an attempt to provide an unbiased view of a business and its products or services. While they aren’t perfect, they are an important part of consumers’ behavior when seeking out new products and services. The same is true in medicine.
An annual survey conducted by Software Advice shows in 2013, only 1 in 4 patients were using online reviews as part of their search for a provider. Today that number has skyrocketed. Over 90% of patients use online reviews when looking for a medical provider—and 7 out of 10 use reviews as their first tool. It’s clear that this is an important tool for every practice, especially small practices that need to find ways to compete with large hospital systems with large marketing budgets.
The Challenge for Medical Providers
Many providers struggle with knowing how to gather reviews. If you are not actively managing your online reviews, they tend to follow one of two patterns:
- You have very few reviews or none at all, so if you get a single negative review, it can significantly skew your data
- You are only getting feedback from disgruntled patients who feel motivated to go online and tell everyone what they didn’t like about you or your practice
In both cases, what’s missing are the opinions of all the happy patients who know you are a great provider. Most of them probably don’t think to go online and tell people about it, so you end up with no rating or a very low rating that doesn’t truly reflect your patients’ feelings.
What You Can Do About It
You may be tempted to have your friends, family, and employees post reviews to boost your ratings, but this is actually counterproductive—most consumers today are savvy enough to spot fake reviews or artificially inflated ratings. The best thing you can do is use tools like these available through AdvancedMD practice management software to proactively request reviews from satisfied patients.
Learn more about the tools we have to help you manage your online star ratings by contacting AdvancedMD today.