Your team can spend a huge amount of time and effort telling patients how great your optical practice is. But wouldn’t it sound much better coming directly from your patients instead? Patient advocates are incredibly powerful tools for boosting your brand’s image and reputation. This is because independent, verified reviews and testimonials have credibility.

People trust customer reviews

The statistics on online reviews make pretty compelling reading. that 94 per cent of customers read online reviews before making purchases. The same study shows that:

  • Customers are around four times more likely to make a purchase if a brand has at least five reviews.
  • If your reviews are from verified customers (rather than from anonymous accounts), this improves the likelihood of making a sale by as much as 15 per cent.
  • By displaying reviews on your website, you can increase conversions (where you turn clicks and site visits into sales) by 270 per cent, and up to 380 per cent when you display reviews for more expensive products.

Other stats support this, with a study by 3D Cart showing that reviews make just under three-quarters of customers feel more comfortable making a purchase.

How to encourage positive reviews

The first thing to know is that it is not a good idea to buy positive reviews, or offer other financial or material incentives for leaving a positive review. What you can do is to make it easier for customers and patients to leave all kinds of feedback, both good and bad.

Start by claiming your Google My Business and business Facebook pages, as well as other places where your optical business will feature, such as Yelp and Amazon. By doing this, you’ll be creating spaces for people to leave reviews. You could also set up an automated email to ask customers for their feedback following a purchase, and you can include a section to ask whether the review can be published.

Lastly, you’ll need to start monitoring your practice’s online reputation, including reviews and engagements with customers. You can use tools and apps to get the data you need, as well as accessing dashboards where you can see and take action on any new interaction or feedback from customers.

Why it’s important to respond to online reviews

When you start to open up your practice to feedback from customers, you should be prepared to hear from disgruntled as well as satisfied customers. Regardless of the nature of the review, you should always do your best to respond.

When the review is positive, a simple ‘thank you’ will make the customer feel valued. This reinforces the positive impression they already have of your practice, making it more likely they’ll remain a loyal and vocal advocate for your business.

Negative reviews are trickier. You should avoid emotive responses and try to understand where the customer is coming from, inviting further contact (preferably privately) to resolve the issue and make amends if you can. A negative review that remains unaddressed doesn’t look good, while a sympathetic and helpful response makes it seem like the practice cares about its customers.