What are Online Reviews
Company reviews have been around for as long as companys’ have been around. Pre-Internet, it was rare to garner opinions about a company or product from anyone other than friends or family. Consumer journals, Consumer’s Reports is one example came along in response to a need for information about products.
As more and more consumers become internet savvy, reviews will become a more integral component of the shopping experience. And the smart business owner understands that the shopping experience encompasses much more than the product. The consumer has begun to “shop” for their service providers including their healthcare providers.
Online Reviews in Healthcare are Nothing New
In 2004 Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman was a Harvard Business School student exploring ideas for promising startups when he caught the flu. His online search for a doctor eventually led to the creation of Yelp Inc.
While reviews of healthcare providers is not necessarily a new phenomenom consumers and providers have been slow to embrace the idea of reviews. There a probably a multitude of reasons for the hesitation.
- Uncharted territory – For both groups this is new territory and while some people embrace “new” others are loath to change.
- Look at me – Consumers are a little unsure about posting both positive and negative reviews so publicly. What if they post a negative review and then need to return to that particular healthcare provider?
- The good, the bad and the ugly – Business owners tend to fear asking a consumer for a review only to realize the review isn’t a happy one.
Who’s Looking and Why?
The ways reviews affect business have not been fully understood—yet. But what is clear is that the posting and researching of a business via reviews is increasing.
Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
In “Scoring Healthcare: Navigating Customer Experience Ratings,” PwC found that 48 percent of 1,000 representative respondents said that they have read online reviews related to health care, such as: doctor ratings, hospital reviews, insurance company information, and pharmacy/medical device reviews. Of this 48 percent, 68 percent said that these reviews influenced their decision – and that they used the info to choose where to get health care.
Seven percent of Consumer Reports readers surveyed said they had plans to change hospitals after reading its recent hospital safety ratings story.
Reviews can function as a tie-breaker. All things considered equal, timely reviews and consumer feedback become an important—often decisive—ingredient.
Should I Wait to Monitor my Online Reviews?
Conversations about you, your business, the service you provide and the products you sell are taking place online everyday. You’re either a part of the conversations and to some extent controlling the conversations…or you’re not.
Review Monitoring by Obelis Media
- tell you where you need to be.
- set up a system to allow you to easily solicit reviews from your patients.
- provide guidance on how to handle a bad review.