Chiropractors are usually better at marketing themselves than most healthcare providers, but this article will make you rethink how you get online reviews.
Your instructors probably didn't spend a whole lot of time talking about online reviews when you were in chiropractic school.
Those years that you spent learning, studying and interning taught you everything you need to know in order to treat joint pain and help people recover from injuries.
But those skills aren't worth much if you don't have patients to adjust and treat.
So although getting plenty of online reviews may not be something you've thought about before, it's something you have to think about now if you want your practice to thrive and your patient base to grow.
Why Do Reviews Matter?
It doesn't matter if you want to be reviewed online or not, or if you look at reviews yourself.
In the age of social media and online review sites, people can write reviews about any business or professional they deal with, and that includes medical professionals like chiropractors.
In fact, research tells us that most American consumers pay attention to online reviews. A staggering 91 percent of people read online reviews at least occasionally, according to a recent survey.
That's pretty amazing, especially when you compare it to the recent past. In 2010, only 71 percent of people said that they read reviews at least occasionally.
The survey also found that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends, up from 80 percent in 2015.
Your online reviews don't even have to be glowing raves in order to make potential patients trust you. In fact, most consumers will use businesses with overall ratings of three out of five stars.
Reviews can also help you increase your name recognition and improve your rankings in search engines.
It comes down to this: people are going to review you online, especially if they have a really good or really bad experience in your office, and other people are definitely going to read what they write and take it seriously.
That can be a bad thing if you're not taking charge of your online reputation.
The key to improving your online reputation basically comes down to the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Give your patients great service and treat them kindly, and they'll (hopefully) want to do something nice for you in return. In this case, write you a review.
The survey found that 7 out of 10 people are willing to write reviews for businesses when they're asked to do so. Make that willingness work to your advantage, by simply asking your patients nicely to write reviews.
This is a little trickier for a chiropractor to do than it is for a baker or tailor; after all, you're asking people to write reviews about services related to their own bodies, and some people won't want to do it.
You also have to consider privacy concerns as a medical professional. Asking patients to write reviews isn't generally a violation of HIPAA, PIPEDA or other medical privacy laws, but you do have to be careful of your own behavior when following up on these requests... more on that in a minute.
How To Get Reviews
The first thing to do? Get your online profiles up and running on the major review sites.
For a chiropractor, the best sites include Yelp, Facebook and Google as well as niche medical sites like Healthgrades and ZocDoc. Angie's List also includes chiropractor reviews.
When you pick the sites you want to focus on, check the business owner policies for each one. Some allow you to create and claim your own page so that you can edit the information there. Claiming your page also allows you to respond publicly to any reviews posted about you - but you have to be careful how you tread in public forums in order to not put yourself in danger of violating patient privacy.
Next, start asking your patients to write reviews. Make it a habit of looking for opportunities to ask your patients to write a review for you. You're helping your patients and many of them are happy to help you back. Just try to do it in a way that doesn't seem pushy.
If that sounds easier said than done, that's because, well... it is. But there are easier and more effective ways to get reviews that are available to you...
How to Get Even More Reviews
Asking your patients for reviews should inspire some of them to get cracking. Others, however, will get distracted by their busy lives. Remind them to review you, using an automated system like ReputationStacker.
All you have to do is enter a phone number or email address into your ReputationStacker dashboard. The system will text or email them a one-question survey, directing satisfied patients to the review sites of your choice and directing dissatisfied patients back to you so you can resolve their issue before they write a bad review.
ReputationStacker's Premium Plan was specifically built with healthcare providers in mind. It has an additional layer of encryption at the server level in order to be HIPAA and PIPEDA compliant, so your patients' privacy is always protected.
One Last Checkup
You're busy making your patients' lives better, so you're probably not thinking much about online reviews. But even in the medical field, online reviews can make or break your business.
Ask patients to review you, and go a step further to make sure they do. With an automated system like ReputationStacker, you can focus on the work of treating your patients, with the confidence of knowing that the positive reviews you've earned are rolling in.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.