- A positive review makes 73% of consumers trust a business more
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Responding to reviews is important, with 30% naming this as key when judging a local business
These numbers prove one thing: online reviews are important for your business. Replacing the traditional word-of-mouth, reviews often convince customers whether to trust your business or not.
Reviews help you build up an online reputation. They are proof of people who’ve experienced your services. And they represent well built trust. In a world where everything happens online, you want the validation of your practice to happen online too. That’s why you should focus on online reviews.
Platforms to leave online reviews
There are a couple of different platforms where your customers can leave online reviews. Depending on the services you offer or the products you’re selling these platforms might vary. We’ll have a look at the most common platforms where people leave reviews for vet practices.
Google My Business Reviews
The reviews that people leave on your Google My Business listings are the most important ratings as they show up immediately when people Google your business.
Google uses complex algorithms to factor in distance and location when people look for a certain product and service, so they will get results that are in their proximity. If you want to be listed in those local search results, it is essential that you set up your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Your GMB listing will also give you the opportunity to add other information, such as comments, pictures or posts – which will give you an extra boost in the search results. Last but not least, Google Maps will use your listings AND your reviews as well – so it’s worth investing some time in this.
As the biggest social media platform, Facebook also became increasingly important for local businesses. Having a business page for your practice on Facebook is not only essential for reviews but gives you the opportunity to share news and photos with your customers, run advertisements or make operational announcements.
Fans can leave a review and a rating on your business page. They will be able to find the grey stars in the reviews section of your page (and there is no way to remove this feature). People leaving the review can decide if their review is public, visible to friends only or just visible to them.
Yelp is a free review site that lets customers rate business with a five-star scale system. It’s mostly used for restaurants, shopping or services – but also lists veterinary practices and hospitals. As a business, you can create a free profile, and add business information such as store hours and location. Having a profile set up on Yelp is not only good for reviews but will help your business to show up higher in the Google rankings too.
How to get reviews
It’s important to know that not everybody will leave a review. Some people will be loyal clients, who have been coming with their pets to your practice for years – and even though they will always speak highly positively about your clinic – they haven’t left a review. Others will have visited your practice once and were upset because they had to wait too long, they ending up leaving a bad review, and ruining your reputation.
People who leave reviews tend to be the ones that either had a really bad experience, and want to have an online vent for their frustration, or are extremely happy with your services, and want to share this with the world. Unfortunately, all the ones in between don’t always express their opinion on review platforms.
Studies show that 68% of people will leave an online review when asked to do so. This means there is an easy way to get people to leave a review: simply by asking them! And because you don’t want to be too pushy or spammy when asking for a review, we have some tips for you on how to politely remind pet owners to leave you their kind words.
Have a sign in your practice
Install a sign at the reception of your practice where they come after they’ve seen a vet, asking them to leave a review. Make it sound like a question, so you don’t come across as too spammy.
“Like the My Vet Practice? – Let us know why or what we can do better”
The staff working behind the reception could suggest leaving a review, or you could even print it on the patient’s receipt.
Send a thank-you email
The most efficient way to get reviews is by sending a thank-you email after the appointment. This way you start a two-way conversation where you thank the patient for coming, and you ask them for their feedback.
You can implement a star-system or feedback form in the email where they just have to click, or you can add links to your page on Facebook, Google or Yelp.
Have a widget on your website
Alternatively to an email, you can also include a widget on your website. This reminds customers of the various platforms where they can leave you a review, or you can implement the reviews directly onto your website.
Finally, the reviews are coming in! People are sharing their experiences with your vet practices and kind words and good ratings are popping up everywhere. Nevertheless, it’s unavoidable to avoid a negative review once in a while. But what to do when one of those shows up?
If you see a bad review, it’s important to keep your head clear and respond directly. Often you can get frustrated by false accusations or statements that don’t make sense in your eyes. But the customer is king, and there’s nothing worse than having a negative public review with the business owner attacking the customer underneath. Just try to address the problem, ask for feedback or improvement, or let the customer know you will try everything in your power to avoid the situation in the future. If it’s a more complex or complicated matter, it might make sense to just let them know that you will contact them directly, and take the conversation to direct messaging.
It’s important that reviews are dealt with fast, and not be left unattended for weeks. Because you might be receiving a lot of different reviews from different platforms, it might be a good idea to use our online review tracker to stay on top of everything.
Last but not least, don’t forget about your positive reviews! People who were happy with your services and who want to share their experience, will be even more excited if you thank them for their kind words. Or even just a simple ‘thumbs up’ can bring a smile to their face and a guaranteed return next time they’re looking for a vet.