Marketing | September 2016 Hearing Review
Turn your hard work into gold by enlisting the help of your best advocates: Your clients
Consumers are seeking out online reviews on everything from car stereos to medical doctors. Hearing aids and hearing care practices are not immune to this trend. Here are 10 easy and ethical ways to get the reviews you need to bolster your online reputation.
In increasing number of consumers are reading online reviews before making major purchasing decisions. Hearing aids and hearing practices are not immune to this phenomenon.
Now more than ever, your prospective patients trust the online reviews they read about your practice, and they’re influenced by them. If you want new patients to find your hearing care practice, you need to learn easy and ethical ways to encourage patients to write online reviews.
Building Your Online Reputation
Your first step is deciding which online platforms you want to leverage. There are hundreds of places online where people can write reviews, but it doesn’t make sense to focus your energy on getting reviews in places your prospective patients may never see. The easiest way to decide where to encourage patients to write reviews is to learn where your customers are already doing so. Are they writing positive notes for you on Facebook? Are they using Yelp? Are they using specific hearing-related directory sites?
You can also find your answers by asking patients how they found you, asking trusted patients if they have used any online review sites, or by setting up a short survey about Internet use for patients to fill out while they wait. The survey should include a question such as, “Where do you look on the Internet when you want to find health-related information?”
You should also look up your practice name in an online search engine (eg, Google) to see if you already have some consumer reviews for your business. Once you’ve chosen two or three places to focus your review-getting efforts, you’re ready to make it happen.
10 Easy and Ethical Ways to Elicit Consumer Reviews
The following list of ideas is extensive and it’s okay if you don’t do everything at once. Find and follow a few tips first, then come back when you need more ideas!
1. Just start with one.
If you’ve just opened your doors or you don’t have any online reviews, the first thing to do is invite a happy patient to write a review of your practice. You can’t tell them what to write, but you can ask them if they would consider writing a review of their experience on a certain site. After you have the first one, the rest will come easier.
2. Involve your front office staff.
Foster an environment in your hearing care practice in which all staff feel responsible for your clinic’s reputation. When a patient is leaving your clinic, your front-office staff can ask if they have taken the time to review your clinic online yet. This is a gentle reminder for patients and a great way to get everyone accustomed to seeking reviews.
3. Post a sign.
Visual reminders are great for everyone. You can create a simple sign for your waiting room thanking patients for their patronage and letting them know where they can review their experience. If you put it near the exit, it will be the last thing they see on their way out.
4. Update your business cards.
The review sites you’re targeting could easily be added to your business cards and included in materials sent home with patients.
5. Customize your receipts.
Most practice management software programs allow you to customize your invoices and receipts. Add a note to the bottom such as, “Please consider writing a review of our clinic,” and list the online sites you are targeting.
6. Link your clinic website to your online reviews.
Your website is often the place prospective patients will land when they are deciding whether to call your office. Prominently place links to your online reviews on the homepage. Use text that catches the attention of current patients in order to get more reviews, “Did you visit us recently? Tell us how we did!” Or target prospective patients with, “Why choose us? Read what others have said about their experience!” (Note: Reviews posted on third-party websites are more impactful than patient testimonials posted on your own website. You can have both, but reviews on a neutral platform are the “gold standard.”)
7. Leverage your social media presence.
A huge portion of a typical patient base is active on social media, primarily Facebook. Add links to your targeted review sites from your clinic’s Facebook page and encourage current patients to share their experiences with others.
8. Add a link to your email signature.
If you communicate with patients or their family members via email, add your targeted review sites to your email signature. Use a sentence like, “Did you enjoy your experience with us? If so, please consider writing a review of our clinic here: [insert link to site]. If not, please call us right away so we can make it right.” Be sure to include your phone number in your email signature.
9. Don’t leave anyone out.
A common mistake hearing care professionals make is believing they can only ask for reviews from people who have purchased hearing aids from them. This is not true! Any patient can write a review about their experience at your clinic. Whether they came for a hearing test, a repair on a hearing aid purchased somewhere else or a new hearing aid fitting, they have experienced your stellar service and their review can help others choose your clinic.
10. Celebrate your positive reviews!
Make a bulletin board in your waiting room where you hang up print-outs of positive reviews for staff and patients to read. This will reassure new patients they’ve chosen the right place and remind current patients to add their happy experiences to the mix. For the staff, this board will build engagement, boost pride, and serve as a reminder to make suggestions to patients about writing online reviews.
We know you’re busy. Pick a few tips to implement first, then try more ideas after the first ones become habits. Soon, you will have bolstered your positive online reputation. You will reap the benefits of greater staff engagement and accountability as you help new patients find their way to your practice!
Correspondence can be addressed to HR or Susanne Jones at: [email protected]
Original citation for this article: Jones, S, Mroz MC. 10 Easy and Ethical Ways to Get Online Reviews for Your Hearing Care Practice. Hearing Review. 2016;22(9):34.
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