Google OKs Patient Review Stations?
Have you ever asked a patient for a review following a consultation or procedure? How do you begin the conversation? Beyond the initial awkwardness of asking for reviews, the process can be tedious as patients are often required to set up user accounts with email addresses, social media usernames, and more.
Google must have been paying attention, because they are beginning to consider the user and push for more interaction on their social and local platforms by making it easier for patients and customers to review a place of business.
Google+ Google Local = Greater Dependence on Patient Reviews
Many review sites have commonly flagged and devalued reviews that show up from the same IP address because there was no way to validate the authenticity of each review. However, with news that Google will no longer penalize sites with reviews from the same location, Yelp and others may begin singing a different tune.
With the recent merger of Google+ and Google Local listings, reviews will begin to play a more significant role in how your site appears on Google because these reviews will appear side by side with your site in the search results.
The review process may not get any easier for the first round of reviews (Google requires users to have a Google+ account), but when patients return or have previously created an account, they are simply able to sign in and leave a review from your practice.
Ultimately, this eliminates a major roadblock from the successful completion of patient reviews. Not only are patients reviewing your practice before they leave (so as to avoid the chance of forgetting to do it once they get home), this can work as a further source of validation as more patients verify the quality of service they received during their appointment.
Why is this Change to Patient Reviews Important
Google has announced they will no longer flag reviews from the same IP address, and won’t punish practices if they have review stations in their offices. So what does this mean for your practice and how can you take advantage of this recent change?
After you set up a review station in your practice, just start talking about the change with your patients. Ask about Google+, ask if they’ve reviewed other places of business and if they would like to begin. Then take a second to walk them through the setup process and encourage them to leave reviews.
What to Consider Before You Begin Accepting Reviews
Put yourself in your patients shoes. Chances are, you don’t like being pushed into something you aren’t 100% familiar with. Your patients won’t either. Don’t push too hard for patients to leave reviews. Instead, think of it as an ongoing process and let the reviews come organically. Simply having the review station in your office and explaining the goal to curious patients is a great way to get started.
We don’t recommend offering incentives for patients to leave reviews, as Google might see this as a form of influencing these reviews.