When it comes to managing your online reputation, reviews are critical. Customers say that they trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation for a product or service from a friend. Wow! That is a lot of influence for an online review.
In addition, a single negative online review can be quite devastating when there aren’t any other reviews to counteract it. When your only review is a negative one, it has much more of an impact than a single negative review in a sea of positive ones.
So what can you do to collect more positive reviews and counteract the effects of negative ones? We’ve said this before but the answer is very simple: just ask. Send out emails to your customers linking them to the review sites your practice is on, whether that’s your Yelp profile or Google My Business, and ask them to give your practice a quick review.
But wait! Before you start asking for reviews, there is one important step you should be taking first…
The Missing Step
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered and received a product from Amazon. A few days after I received said product, I got an email from the product manufacturers. In this email, they stated that reviews on Amazon are very important to their business, requested that I review the product, and sent me a link to the product review page. It was all very polite and non-intrusive, the perfect way to ask for a review.
The only problem? I didn’t like their product.
That’s right. These manufacturers had just sent me an email asking me to review a product that I was not very pleased with. They had made it incredibly easy for me to write a review, and even requested one. I’d already set the product aside as a “do-not-buy-again” item, but it hadn’t even occurred to me to write a review until they sent me this request. And now I was considering giving them 1-2 stars. Oops.
I don’t have a problem with the fact that the manufacturers asked for a review. In fact, I fully approve of it. I didn’t find it to be intrusive, and the truth is, if I had liked the product, that email would have made it very simple and convenient for me to quickly pop onto Amazon and give it 5 stars.
The issue is that the company didn’t check beforehand to make sure that I liked their product. There was no pre-emptive email to ensure that I was satisfied. The manufacturers never took the time to weed me out as a bad choice for an online review.
And that’s the key to asking for reviews – make sure that you’re asking the right people! Contrary to the popular saying, not all publicity is good publicity, and asking unhappy customers for reviews can ultimately do more harm than good.
So how do you make sure that you’re asking for reviews from happy clients? The answer is client satisfaction surveys. These simple surveys are sent out to clients following a visit to determine their level of satisfaction with their appointment. You can send out a general one, or if you want to get more detailed, you can make the survey more specific to the type of appointment.
When someone responds positively to the survey, that’s your opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. Respond with an email telling them how glad you are that they had a great experience, include links to your online accounts, and ask them to write your practice a great online review, This ensures that you don’t ask any disgruntled customers for reviews that could ultimately hurt your practice, and you’ll make sure your biggest fans have the opportunity to share how much they love you.
The beautiful thing about client satisfaction surveys is that they don’t just allow you to identify great experiences. They also enable you to immediately know when someone has had a poor experience. A negative response to a survey is the perfect opportunity to reach out to that client for further information, discover why the visit went poorly, and rectify the situation before it results in a bad online review, or worse, a lost client!
You can send out these client satisfaction surveys and review request emails manually after each visit, or you can use a reputation management system like VSmart Alert to do the legwork for you. It comes built in to our WebDVM websites, and automatically sends out surveys based on the visit type, identifies positive responses and sends a follow up email requesting reviews, and notifies you about negative experiences so you can rectify them.
Getting great online reviews can be as simple as asking for them. Just make sure you’re asking the right clients with this easy extra step!