4 Reasons You Need Patient Reviews for Your Sleep Practice
Online reviews are the modern word-of-mouth and they are ubiquitous. As is true with your dental practice, patient reviews play a critical role in making your sleep practice a success. Positive reviews can push potential patients to set an appointment. On the other hand, negative reviews can bury your practice. Here are some of the ways reviews can impact your sleep practice.
1. Reviews Build Trust
Trust is a key factor in patient’s decision making. Choosing a healthcare provider involves an element of uncertainty and risk, more so than most other service providers. I don’t know anyone who gets nervous booking a plumber or scheduling an appointment with a CPA, but when it comes to healthcare it’s a different story. In some cases, choosing the right healthcare provider really is a “life or death” decision.
For the patient who doesn’t already know you and wasn’t referred to you, the only point of reference they have is what they read online. Consumers have been conditioned by websites like Amazon.com to seek out and read reviews. Studies show that the average consumer will read about 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business. If the reviews for your sleep practice are lacking or less than stellar, potential patients will move on to the next provider.
2. They Improve Online Visibility
It’s not just consumers who place heavy importance on reviews; Google does too. The benchmark Moz Local Search Ranking Factors study, as well as recent research from Whitespark, cite review signals as the third most important local SEO ranking factor. Google considers several review elements including the quantity, frequency, diversity and average star rating.
Additionally, reviews left about your sleep practice will contain keyword terms that you want Google to associate your practice with. For example, a sleep patient leaving a review is likely to mention sleep apnea, snoring or CPAP alternative. Having these keywords associated with your website, Google My Business listing, Facebook page, or Yelp listing will dramatically increase your chances of being found by prospective sleep patients searching for solutions online.
3. They Generate More Clicks, More Calls & More Delivered Appliances
Like it or not, the widespread usage of review sites like Google, Yelp & Facebook have changed the landscape of how healthcare providers attract patients.
A widely referenced survey of 1,000 consumers last year by BrightLocal found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (up from 67% in their 2010 survey). Digging deeper into the data reveals a more relevant statistic for dental sleep practices – nearly half of all respondents said they read reviews prior to selecting a healthcare provider.
Reading positive reviews from other sleep patients will result in more new patients choosing to schedule an initial appointment with your office.
There is a psychological principle called social proof that comes into play when potential patients see numerous positive reviews for your practice. Social proof is a bias whereby we mirror the actions of others in an attempt to reflect what we perceive to be correct behavior. For example, you probably feel better about your dining decision when walking into a busy restaurant than one that’s empty during peak time.
With this in mind, which of the three sleep providers in this Google Map Pack do you believe receives the most clicks (and subsequently phone calls)?
Sleep Better Austin with 42 reviews and an average star rating of 4.8 is going to receive significantly more activity from their listing than either of the other two listings.
While establishing a certain level of trust is critical to getting prospective patients in the door, it becomes even more important once they’re in your office. You have a limited amount of time that you can spend with each patient. If they arrive predisposed to trusting you through social proof, it makes your job significantly easier, while also increasing the likelihood that your new patient will follow through with the treatment recommendations.
4. They Provide Valuable Feedback
Patient reviews are inherently valuable because they allow you to see your practice through your patient’s eyes. The reviews provide insight into how you and your team can improve the way you communicate with and serve patients.
For instance, if you notice several patients mentioning how much easier it is to travel with an oral appliance than their CPAP, you can incorporate that verbiage into your marketing. Or, if you notice that billing is a recurring complaint, you can proactively address that part of your office process.
So how do you get more reviews?
The first step is to claim your sleep practice profiles on the most utilized websites and platforms. While there are dozens, the three most critical to start with are Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp.
The second step is to actively encourage patients to leave reviews. This can be done by emailing or texting patients after appointments, handing them a review request card at checkout, and by posting in-office signage. According to the BrightLocal survey, 70% of consumers will leave a review when asked, and this can lead to a steady increase in positive reviews and a higher overall rating.
To learn more about this topic click here to watch a short video.
If you would like to discuss ways to effectively target your ideal sleep patients, click here to schedule a complimentary 30-minute sleep marketing strategy call.