Managing online user reviews

February 27, 2013

Justin Bazan, OD, discusses how word of mouth can make or break a practice and what you can do to make sure your practice gets glowing reviews.

Society reviews everything, said Justin Bazan, OD, during a special session, “Celebrating Technology,” at the 90th annual SECO International meeting in Atlanta.

He illustrated his point by showing a banana slicer offered for sale on Amazon with more than 3,000 user reviews.

An executive from online city guide Yelp said, “What people say about you is 1,000 times more powerful than you say about yourself.” What your patients say about your practice can have a big effect, said Dr. Bazan.

Some 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. “You want patients who care enough to research their eyecare,” he said. “These patients are also likely to write reviews.”

You need to exceed patient expectations in order to get a 5-star review. Common themes in 5-star reviews: friendly, helpful, fun.

Other tips for inspiring great user reviews:

• Do what you do best: Wow patients

• Promote your platform by including links in your e-mail signature and offering Yelp and other check-ins at your practice.

• Facilitate reviews by inviting testimonials via patient surveys

• Market your great reviews in your Facebook posts, ads, and blog posts

• Start a testimonial blog. (Dr. Bazan suggests using WordPress because it interfaces well with Google search.)

Got a bad review? Dr. Bazan urged ODs to “keep it real” when managing such reviews.

“First, the number-one wrong thing to do is ignore a bad review,” he said. “Next, respond in your own voice. Don’t give a robot response without addressing specifics in the review. Finally, take it into your own arena to take control by having your supporters stand up for you.”