One bad review can ruin a veterinarian’s day and suck hours of time to resolve. While practice owners and managers must respond with the speed of a greyhound, they also need strategies to constantly encourage five-star reviews. Yelp users post 26,380 reviews every minute, and 92 percent of consumers read online reviews.
When you’re talking with clinic leaders about managing their online reputations, suggest these approaches:
Use surveys for early intervention and to guide happy clients to review sites. Get same-day feedback after visits. Based on clients’ preferred communication of texts or emails, Review Retrievers sends notices each day to visiting clients, asking them to give feedback on their experiences in its system (www.reviewretrievers.com). If a client rates the clinic with 1 or 2 stars, the clinic contact is alerted so he may resolve the situation quickly. If a client rates the hospital with 3 to 5 stars, he is directed to post reviews on Yelp, Google+ and Facebook. The clinic owns all reviews. As a veterinary consultant, I advise practice owners to choose a provider who lets them own all reviews. Hospital owners can’t risk losing hundreds of favorable reviews when they change reputation-management providers.
Simply ask. The next time a veterinarian or technician sees a favorite client in the exam room, ask her to write a review. If the medical team will collect samples, run lab work or take X-rays, ask great clients, “While we take <pet name> to the treatment area to perform lab tests, could you write a review on Yelp, Google+ or Facebook? We value your opinion and would love to have you share it with other pet owners.”
Direct clients to more than one review site. Apple Maps integrate with Yelp points of interest, while Google has partnerships with Android smartphones. Make sure teams lead clients to these top review sites. Yelp uses a proprietary algorithm to organize contributors’ content. Yelp says this algorithm lets them “recommend the most helpful and reliable reviews.”2 This means a good review could be viewed for less than 24 hours while a negative review may be seen for years. Veterinary hospitals must have consistent streams of good reviews so they keep burying bad ones.
Post stickers of review sites. Put “Like us on Facebook” and “Review Us on Yelp” window decals on the clinic’s front door and exam hallway doors. Order at www.csvets.com/cart/books-and-cds/.
Feature links on the hospital’s homepage. Provide icons with links to review sites. At Shackelford Road Veterinary Clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, reviews scroll on its homepage, which includes links to rate the hospital (www.shacklefordvetclinic.com).
Sponsor training. In my webinar on “How to Prevent Client Complaints and Bad Reviews,” teams will get advice on identifying reviewers, being professional in replies, get templates for responses, learn ways to fire problem clients and encourage positive reviews. As a sales professional, you may sponsor a webinar for an individual hospital for $99, which includes one-hour CE credit, unlimited playback, handout, online test and CE certificate. Save $10 per hospital when you enter promo code SALES at checkout. Enter your information in “bill to” and the clinic in “ship to”. Order at www.csvets.com/cart/client-service/how-to-prevent-client-complaints-and-bad-reviews/. To host the training, bring your laptop, projector and computer speakers. You’ll be a hero for sharing resources that help teams better manage their reputations.
With coaching and training, veterinarians can develop strategies to reclaim control of their online reputations. Remind veterinarians that their next appointment might be a favorite client who will rank the hospital with a perfect five stars.
- Shrestha, K. 50 stats you need to know about online reviews. Vendasta. Posted Aug. 29, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2017 at www.vendasta.com/blog/50-stats-you-need-to-know-about-online-reviews.
- Scheidegger, J. Negative reviews, yelp and your veterinary clinic. DVM360 Magazine. Posted May 1, 2014. Accessed April 18, 2017 at http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/negative-reviews-yelp-and-your-veterinary-clinic?id=&sk=&date=&%0A%09%09%09&pageID=2.
Wendy S. Myers owns Communication Solutions for Veterinarians in Castle Pines, Colo. She helps teams improve client service, communication skills and compliance through consulting, seminars and monthly CE credit webinars. Wendy is a certified veterinary journalist and author of 101 Communication Skills for Veterinary Teams. Her “Callers into New Clients Course” teaches receptionists how to turn price shoppers into new clients. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.csvets.com.