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Gathering feedback and reviews

Google reviews can be one of your greatest assets for winning the trust of potential new clients

07 December 2020, at 8:55am

When the time comes for someone to choose a vet for their beloved pet, the vast majority of people will select a veterinary practice via a recommendation from a trusted source. First, they will ask friends and family, and then they might look for extra confirmation by checking reviews online. In fact, estimates put the number of people that look at reviews on Google before making a purchase at over 80 percent!

This means that Google reviews can be one of your greatest assets for winning the trust of potential new clients. But it’s not just about showing off your 5-star reviews; gathering feedback and using it to make improvements should be an ongoing process that benefits both you and your customers.

Feedback from reviews can help you improve your service; show you are open and honest (build trust); and be ranked higher in Google searches.

Review systems

Review-gathering systems allow you lots of control over the reviews you receive, helping you to manage your feedback and respond more effectively with customers. Whether you are using one of these systems or not, you also need to be aware of Google reviews and the way that Google prioritises reviews in internet search results. When people are looking online for vets in their area, Google delivers search results on the basis of the number and quality of your Google reviews.

How to get more reviews

So, now we know we need to get as many reviews as we can on Google to do well in a local search, but how do we go about collecting those all-important reviews?

It's simple – just ask! You need to make asking for reviews a part of your customer journey process, and create a simple system for your team to follow, so that it becomes second nature. You also need to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave you their reviews.

Discuss their appointment experience at check-out

When a client is checking out, use this moment to ask how the appointment went or if they have any other requests that you can resolve. Asking your clients before they leave is the perfect opportunity to turn a customer around if they’re having issues with anything.

Whilst they are paying, you could mention “if you’ve had a great experience today, we’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review; it means a lot and we care about what you think of our business”. The reception team could hand them a business card with simple instructions on how to leave a Google review or you could also add review instructions to the bottom of your printed receipts.

If your practice management software allows it, another good method of collecting reviews is to send an automated text message to visitors asking for feedback immediately after they've left the practice. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you ask for reviews whilst the visit is still uppermost in your clients’ mind.

Managing negative reviews

There's a big difference between genuine constructive complaints, and slanderous or vindictive reviews. If properly managed, other people reading your reviews will be able to work out for themselves which is which.

Responding professionally to an upset or distressed client can actually benefit you, by showing potential customers that you're calm, kind and helpful. It will also show people that any queries or concerns will be addressed proficiently and professionally by you.

Don't be afraid of negative reviews as every successful business will get the occasional one – the only thing you can do about them is to ensure that you are getting so many great 5-star reviews that the occasional dissatisfied one is rapidly drowned out with lots and lots of positivity!

Say thanks

The final part of your review-gathering system should be to regularly monitor and respond to your Google reviews and say thank you; a personal touch helps and Google also rewards you for doing so.

If you make gathering reviews an integral part of your wider marketing strategy, you’ll soon find that customer feedback becomes your greatest asset.

If your business is taking proactive steps to secure reviews, you will see an increase in traffic to your website as well as to the practice.

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

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