mConsent

The Power of Reviews: Managing Online Reputation for Optometry Offices

mConsent

January 18, 2024

online-reputation-optometry-offices

In today's digital age, online reviews have become make-or-break for healthcare practices. Positive patient reviews boost optometry offices' visibility, credibility, and new patient acquisition. Negative reviews can seriously damage reputation. Savvy practices need to proactively manage their online reputation through reviews. Here's how:

1.List Your Practice Properly 

The first critical step in managing your online reputation is to ensure your practice listings on major review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Healthgrades are completely filled out. These profiles serve as a foundation for collecting reviews, so having accurate, detailed information is essential.

 

Start by claiming and verifying your practice on these sites if you haven't already. Provide your full address, phone number, website, hours of operation, insurance accepted, bios and photos of your optometrists, list of vision services offered, and anything else relevant to patients. 

Keep these listings updated regularly as details change. For example, if you add a new optometrist or service, update that. If your hours shift due to holidays, reflect that too. The more comprehensive your profiles, the better prepared patients will be to leave detailed, meaningful reviews of their experiences.

Proper listings also make you easier to find online. Patients searching for an optometrist in your area are more likely to click and engage with full, accurate profiles. This brings more eyes to your practice and review platform. Maintaining robust profiles is the critical first step to proactively managing your online reputation through reviews.

2. Monitor Review Sites

Monitor Review Sites

Once your practice profiles are properly established on major review platforms, the next important step is to regularly monitor these sites for new reviews. This allows you to quickly identify and address any concerning, inaccurate, or fraudulent reviews before they have a chance to negatively impact your online reputation.

Set aside time each week to proactively check all the sites your practice is listed on. Look at both high-traffic platforms like Google and Facebook as well as lesser-used sites like Healthgrades, RateMDs, and others. Sort by recent reviews first so you can spot any problematic ones while they are still fresh.

Watch for reviews that seem dubious, overly emotional, mention issues not relevant to eye care, or could be from a competitor masquerading as a patient. Also be on the lookout for duplicate reviews posted across multiple sites, which violates policies.

Flag suspicious reviews for the site’s moderators to investigate - most major platforms have procedures for reporting questionable content. Acting quickly increases the chance of getting detrimental reviews removed before they accumulate and sway potential patients.

Staying on top of new reviews as they come in allows you to respond, report issues, and protect your online reputation in a timely manner. Checking all review sites consistently is critical for monitoring what patients are saying about your optometry practice.

3.Respond to All Reviews

The third key strategy for managing your practice's online reputation is to respond professionally to every review in a timely manner - both positive and negative. Actively replying demonstrates you are listening, care about patients' experiences, and are committed to continuously improving.

For positive reviews, be sure to thank the patient for taking the time to write something nice. You could also highlight what specifically they complimented and say you are proud of your team for providing that great service. This reinforces positives and encourages more praise.

For negative or critical reviews, never get defensive. Instead, apologize for their unsatisfactory experience and say you will follow up with them directly to make it right. This shows other readers your responsiveness to feedback. You can also mention steps your office takes to prevent similar issues in the future.

Set a goal to respond within 1-2 business days of any new review. Quick, caring replies give the impression you are an attentive business that values patients. An unanswered negative review looks much worse than an addressed one.

Replying publicly provides visible proof you listen and quickly address problems. This conscientiousness about online reputation management earns patient trust and loyalty.

4.CLAIM Your Listings

Once your practice profiles are set up on review sites, the next vital step is to formally verify and claim ownership of these listings. Every major platform has a process that allows businesses to confirm they are the official owners of their profiles.

 

Claiming your listings provides important benefits when managing your online reputation. It gives you more control over editing basic information, photos, services, hours, and other details on your practice's profiles. This helps present accurate, up-to-date information to patients.

Claiming also gives you access to enhanced analytics like review monitoring alerts, private messaging with reviewers, and review gathering campaigns. You can utilize these tools to better understand patient feedback and proactively gather more reviews.

The claiming process involves confirming you represent the business through steps like entering a verification code, providing identifying details, or having a postcard with a special code mailed to your practice's address.

Take the time to formally claim each of your listings on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Healthgrades, and anywhere else relevant. The increased functionality and insights will help you better manage your online reputation through reviews moving forward.

5. Encourage Satisfied Patients

Encourage Satisfied Patients  

An essential part of managing your online reputation is proactively encouraging reviews from satisfied patients. Positive reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook can counteract any negative feedback and showcase your practice's strengths through real patient experiences.

After appointments where everything went smoothly and the patient seemed happy, send a follow-up email or text asking them to share a review online if willing. You can include links directly to your profiles to make it easy. Offering a small incentive like a free eyeglass cleaning kit can motivate reviews too.

Get strategic with your outreach by segmenting patients in different ways. For example, send focused questions to patients seen by a certain doctor, for a specific service, or at each of your office locations. This allows you to build up targeted reviews relevant to patients' needs.

 

When possible, customize your prompts using details from the appointment. Mention something specific the patient praised like short wait times, your selection of eyeglass frames, or the technician's care during an exam. This makes reviews more authentic.

With a steady, segmented approach to gathering feedback from satisfied patients, you can build a strong foundation of positive online reviews that boosts your practice's reputation.

6. Address Negative Reviews

Despite your best efforts, negative reviews are inevitable in healthcare. Even the best optometry offices will sometimes receive criticism about wait times, bedside manner, billing issues or other problems. Handling these gracefully is key to reputation management.

If a negative review does appear, first apologize to the patient for their unsatisfactory experience. Empathize with their frustration and acknowledge if something clearly went wrong. Never get defensive or retaliate - this will only inflame the situation online and offend potential patients.

Offer to connect directly via phone or email to resolve the issue or provide clarification if needed. Follow through to turn the complaint into a success story. After privately addressing concerns, you can politely request the patient update their review based on the resolution.

For less severe complaints, publicly respond explaining steps your office takes to prevent similar issues in the future. This shows you listened and are committed to improving. Be sure to maintain patient privacy and avoid specifics in public replies.

With patience and care, negative feedback can become opportunities to demonstrate how your practice fixes problems and makes things right for patients. Handled well, other patients will see your responsiveness and be reassured.

7. Dispute False Accusations

Dispute False Accusations  

In some cases, negative reviews may contain blatantly false information, fabricated accusations, or fraudulent claims about your practice. These outlier reviews should be formally disputed through the site's moderation process to request removal.

If a review alleges things that are demonstrably untrue or impossible, gather counter evidence like appointment records, emails, or staff accounts that contradict it. Screenshot the false review before submission.

  

Submit this counter proof through the platform's reporting tool to initiate a dispute. For example, on Google you would flag the review and select "Conflicts with facts" as the reason. Most sites also allow you to further explain the discrepancies.

The platform will then investigate to determine if the review violates policies against falsified or fraudulent content. If found to be false, the site will remove the damaging review so it can no longer impact perceptions of your practice.

While entirely fabricated negative reviews are rare, being prepared to dispute these through evidence-based moderation requests is an important last resort in reputation management. This helps safeguard against falsehoods unfairly tarnishing your optometry office's image.

8.Conduct Patient Surveys

A proactive way to generate more reviews is to conduct periodic patient satisfaction surveys. These provide a channel for recent patients to share candid feedback on their experiences.

Email brief surveys after appointments asking about quality of care, customer service, office environment and other aspects. Include open-ended questions for detailed comments. Offer a perk for completing like a gift card raffle entry.

For patients that give high marks, include a question asking their permission for pull-quotes from the survey to be publicly posted as an online review. This provides authentic positive content in their own voice.

Survey feedback identifies areas needing improvement too. If certain services or staff get poor ratings, take corrective actions and then follow up with another survey to measure progress.

Online reviews are most credible when they originate organically from real patients. Thoughtful surveys generate detailed insights that can then be converted into powerful reviews with the patient’s consent. This proactive approach further fills out your practice’s reputation profile.

9. Highlight Great Reviews

  Highlight Great Reviews

Once you have a solid base of positive online reviews, you can expand their impact by repurposing top reviews as testimonials. With the patient's consent, showcase glowing 5-star praise on your website, social media, printed materials, and more. 

For example, pull a rave review about your office's compassionate care or expertise treating glaucoma. Get permission from the patient, then feature their quote prominently on your website's testimonial page.

 

You could also share a top review on social media for Medical Appreciation Day highlighting your amazing staff. Make sure to tag and thank the patient for the kind words. Patients and followers will love the authenticity of real patient experiences.

For your office waiting room, print and frame your best Google and Facebook reviews to reassure prospective patients as soon as they walk in, and rotating the displayed reviews keeps content fresh.

10.Analyze and Improve

The final critical step in online reputation management is to regularly analyze your review content for insights that can inform operational improvements. Between the positives and negatives, reviews provide invaluable patient feedback on your practice.

Set aside time every 1-2 months to read through new reviews with the mindset of identifying potential areas for improvement. Look for any concerning trends around things like long wait times, rude staff, billing issues, poor follow up, or other criticisms.

Even a couple similar complaints signals something patients consistently find frustrating or unsatisfactory. Review your internal practices to determine what changes could address the problems surfaced through reviews.

For example, multiple reviews complaining about long check-in times may lead you to implement text message notifications when exam rooms are ready. Or feedback on great experiences with a certain doctor might mean giving them more new patient appointments.

Effectively utilizing patient review insights for ongoing practice improvements demonstrates you truly listen. Over time, operational changes driven by reviews will be reflected in growing patient satisfaction. Reviews stop being a reputation risk and become an asset for improving care.

With some effort, optometry practices can build an impressive total of positive reviews that reassure prospective patients during their provider search. Consistent monitoring, responding, and optimizing is key to maintaining a stellar online reputation.

Conclusion

Managing your optometry practice's online reputation through reviews is crucial in today's digital landscape. Following proactive strategies like claiming listings, monitoring for issues, responding to all feedback, encouraging happy patients, and analyzing reviews for improvements will help you stay ahead of the curve.

With some time and effort, you can turn your practice's online presence into a strategic asset that builds trust and attracts patients. Patient reviews provide invaluable insights into your strengths as well as areas for improvement.

Leveraging solutions like mConsent's online reputation management platform can further enhance your practice's care and standing every single day.

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