Plastic surgeons already know that their virtual presence has a lot to do with how they’re perceived. Not only will people find clinics through search engines, but they’ll also decide whether or not to take the next step based on the reviews of the practice. If you want to learn how to take control of what people see, it might be time to do a deep dive into how your Google Business profile (GBP) works, which metrics carry the most weight, and what you can do to boost your reputation on the world’s largest search engine. So let’s look at Google review tips for plastic surgeons, and how to best incorporate them.
Why Google Reviews Matter
This is a relativity question. Why do Google reviews matter more than, say, Yelp reviews? The reason is that the more positive reviews you have, the more likely you are to show up in Google’s search algorithms. If you’d like to be on the front page, you need to consider how search engines evaluate your practice. They also clearly matter to your customers and prospective patients. Some people may know of your practice, but many will be starting from scratch too.
Dr. John Kim, ASPS Member Surgeon at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says “In the rapidly changing marketplace of plastic surgery, online reviews are rapidly becoming the new ‘word of mouth,’ with significant potential to influence patient referrals. Nuanced understanding of these reviews may allow for development of concomitant surgeon strategies to improve patient satisfaction.”
What Factors Carry the Most Weight?
Not all Google reviews are judged to be the same by Google. The following factors affect your ranking:
- Recency of review: Practices change over time. Receptionists leave, assistants are hired, and technology is upgraded. If your patients’ reviews are starting to reflect that they’re getting the short-end of the stick, it’s going to underscore what people can expect from the establishment. You want your name to be synonymous with quality.
- Star rating: As you might expect, you will want as many 5-star reviews as possible. The further the stars descend, the further you’ll descend in the search rankings.
- Description: The more details, the better. Google’s value is measured by what type of information they’re providing to the consumer. More reviews, more stories, and more involvement from the owner of the establishment will always matter when it comes to search rankings.
- Attributes: This feature from Google allows people to tell others about the business in just a few clicks. So instead of having to write up a story about how the receptionist was helpful, they simply have to click 5-stars for how they were treated by the staff. It’s an easy way for plastic surgeons to get more reviews without having to ask people to write out their whole story. The more votes you have, the better it is for your practice.
- Photos: People post photos when they’re invested in their review, whether they’re happy with the service or not. Plastic surgeons may assume that all pictures are tied into the results of their procedures, but this isn’t always the case. A customer might decide to take a picture of the office if they think it’s dirty or a piece of equipment if they think it’s out of date.
How exactly all of the factors are weighed is up for debate at Google. This is why search engine algorithms are updated from time-to-time. For instance, when people started to exploit keyword marketing by stuffing their text with common search terms, Google changed its policy to promote better content. A small business marketing platform can be critical for owners who don’t want to be left behind every time there’s a change.
How to Manage Your Reputation on Google
Thankfully, Google isn’t a business that allows your customers to have free rein over your reputation. This means that plastic surgeons do have a lot of control over how they’re perceived online. It just means taking the initiative to get involved with your Google Business profile. Here are some ways for you to get started:
- Claim your profile: Not everyone realizes that you don’t even have to have a website to have a Google profile. In other words, people will find you online whether you want them to or not. If this is the case, then you might as well take ownership. If you investigate the links associated with your practice, you should see an option to claim your business profile. This allows you to make adjustments to your information (e.g., change your clinic hours or update your street address). It will also make it possible to respond to people if they post reviews.
- Ask for reviews: Unfortunately, people are more likely to talk about the negative than the positive. Negative reviews tend to be longer as it allows people to work through the experience and the injustice of the situation. This is why it’s so important to ask for reviews from those who have good interactions with the staff. If you don’t, it can inadvertently give a megaphone to the unhappy patients (even if they’re in the minority).
- Respond to all reviews: We don’t have to tell you that there’s no such thing as 100% customer satisfaction. Patients may take comments the wrong way. They might be frustrated beyond reason if an appointment is pushed back for a legitimate reason. Sometimes, they flat-out lie about their experience. People searching know this to a certain extent, but it never hurts to give your side of the story. We encourage you to do this for all reviews (even the positive ones), though, because it encourages others to leave their own reviews.
In one study of 1,000 cosmetic surgery offices across major metropolitan areas, researchers found that about 12.5% of reviews were negative. About half of these reviews were disappointed in the result of the surgery. Close to 40% of negative reviews didn’t even have the surgery though. They were disappointed because they felt the team was rude or curt.
These may be difficult statistics for a plastic surgeon to hear. They might think that the takeaway is that people will look for any excuse to complain. However, there’s no need to live in fear of customers. Google review tips for plastic surgeons don’t boil down to a perfect practice. It merely serves as a reminder to a practice that they need to pay attention to how they treat people at every stage of the doctor-patient relationship — even if it’s someone calling to ask about available appointments.
How to Ask for Reviews
Asking for reviews can be difficult for any business. Even though you need them, you may not want to come across as demanding or pushy. However, most consumers are aware that these reviews are important to businesses, and the satisfied ones have no problems helping out a neighbor. Local businesses have a lot of influence in their area, precisely because the staff is in the community. It’s a powerful reciprocal relationship that makes for better interactions.
So it all comes down to putting the request out there, which can be done through any number of channels. Plastic surgeons may want to mention reviews in their intake paperwork. They might ask their receptionist to mention it as people are leaving the clinic. Or they might consider an incentive structure, much like they would for referrals. For instance, giving people a free sample if they leave a review (so long as the gift doesn’t specify that it needs to be a 5-star review). We recommend consistency via different methodologies. For example, sending a text or an email that reminds them after an appointment, or even a follow-up call.
Demo our business intelligence marketing software
Surefire Local provides business intelligence marketing software that puts local businesses in the driver’s seat of controlling their own brand story online. If you’re looking for Google review tips for plastic surgeons, it’s likely because you recognize how the search engine directly ties into your bottom line. Our small business marketing platform is a way for owners to manage their online reputation from one convenient dashboard. Send requests for reviews by text or email and post your replies without the hassle.
Our software also makes it possible for you to analyze the reviews. Most business owners have a tendency to look at data as it comes in, when what they should be paying attention to is the overall sentiment. One or even 10 negative reviews do not necessarily mean that anything in the practice needs to be changed. Our software tells you more about what the issues are, revealing everything from common words to general stumbling blocks in the practice. The marketing tools by Surefire Local are designed so plastic surgeons can get a handle on what’s being said about them so they have the chance to contribute to the conversation. If you want to see what the marketing tools can do, it’s time to request a demo today.