You can’t go wrong with word-of-mouth referrals about your veterinary practice. Where you can go wrong is if you’re relying on the old school, in-person style of word of mouth referrals. What this means is that one happy client tells their neighbor about your services and the neighbor gives you a try. Instead, you need to up your game to a virtual word of mouth referral where one happy client leaves a positive online review that inspires 12 new customers to walk through your door. If you think online reviews of your veterinary business don’t matter, think again.
The online review frenzy is not without merit. Over 90% of consumers read online reviews of businesses before deciding to patron their services. Not only do these potential clients read reviews of your practice, they trust them. So the more you can get loyal clients to sing your praises online, the more opportunity you’ll have to expand your numbers. Oh, and by the way, it seems that veterinary clients are more than happy to post positive reviews, you just have to ask. But how do you go about doing that and where’s the best place for prospective clients to see online reviews?
How to Find the Best Online Review Sites
You’ve more than likely heard of websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List but haven’t completely dove into them. Well, it’s time to take the plunge because chances could be that your veterinary business is already on there. These types of websites make a one-stop-shop for consumers to check out businesses in their area. All types of reviews can go up there, good and bad, and other people can create pages for your business. So, it’s important to take control of your business page, don’t just let it float ownerless out there on the world wide web, soaking up reviews without you even knowing about them. Creating a page, or claiming one that’s already there, on these sites will ensure that you know what people are saying about your business and give you a chance to reply to reviews.
The other option for homing some of your practice’s online reviews is on your business’s personal website. Don’t yet have one? Now’s the time. Not only does a website for your clinic give you the opportunity to list your services, describe your experience and provide go-to information like location and business hours, it also gives clients an easy place to gush about your skills. Allowing clients to post reviews directly on your website, whether it be a stand-alone page or part of something like Facebook, gives prospective clients the ability to really see the whole picture of your veterinary practice and make them more apt to think of you when their fluffy ones are in need. Also, posting reviews to your business page gives you a greater opportunity to respond to the feelings of your clients.
How to Up Your Online Reviews
Alright, you’ve decided to get on board the virtual train. You’ve got your practice website up and running but it has yet to garner any client reviews. It’s time to get the word out. The best time to pick up reviews is while an experience is fresh in someone’s mind. Inform clients as they check out after a terrific appointment with you that you would appreciate their feedback on your website or other review sites out there. You can even give handouts, business cards, or print your website address on their invoice. Let them know that you want to know what they think. If you’re really looking to boost your reviews, check out apps like RevenueJump that basically do the recruiting for you. Then all you have to do is figuratively sit back and provide excellent veterinary care and services.
It’s especially important to remind those satisfied customers to write reviews since it can sometimes seem like the only people that talk are the ones that are unhappy. I’m sorry to say it, but you’re not going to please everyone, no matter how spot-on your skills are and how compassionate your bedside manner is. It’s okay to have some negative reviews out there, there’s really no way around it, but you want to make sure the positive voices far out sing the negative ones.
How Do You Treat All of Those Online Reviews?
You’ve worked your tail off to get your veterinary business out there, you’ve endlessly promoted posting reviews to your clients and it’s working! Unfortunately, your work is far from done. You don’t want to just let those online reviews sit there, whether they’re good or bad. Respond to them, all of them. Thank the client for their praise and satisfaction. Remind them that they’re why you’re here in the first place.
As for those one- or two-star reviews, they will require a little bit more attention. First of all, apologize to the client that their experience wasn’t up to par, don’t necessarily apologize for what they’re claiming you did or didn’t do, just that they’re unhappy with something. Then ask them to contact you so that you can discuss the issue in more detail. If they reach out to you and you’re able to come to an agreement, post that in a reply as well. Sometimes consumers will remove their negative reviews if they feel that the issue has been resolved. If they don’t remove it, at least prospective clients will be able to see that an agreeable solution was reached.
If the client contacts you and you aren’t able to reach an agreement or if the client never contacts you at all, post your side of the story, without calling anyone out or creating a he-said, she-said situation. Bring up any veterinary medical rules or clinic policies that might have come into play or simply explain why you did what you did. It may not make that client happy but it will show others that you care enough to try to remedy the situation and hopefully show that there is nothing wrong with your services.
It’s no secret that pet parents love their furry family and don’t mind letting others know when they’ve been cared for properly. Harness that critter passion and use it to your advantage in building your practice by giving clients a space to review your services. Word of mouth is still a great way to expand your business and get news about your veterinary practice out there, you just need satisfied clients to speak louder – loud enough to be heard across town or even into other states. If you’re looking to expand your veterinary practice, encourage online reviews and then treat them properly.