It’s not much of a debate anymore whether or not positive online reviews have a profound effect on gaining new business, retaining current patients, and attracting top talent to fill vacant staff roles in the healthcare industry, which includes physical therapy practices. But when it comes to the best way to acquire these positive reviews, there’s a lot of dark corners and blind spots that aren’t discussed. And unfortunately, some third-party marketing companies who claim to be experts in the field are doing things that risk way more than their clients stand to gain.
While it’s not as doom and gloom as that may sound, it is important that physical therapy practices looking to turbocharge their online reviews understand these unspoken realities. Whether you’re looking to handle things in-house or plan to hire a reputable third-party provider, having a basic knowledge of these things can help you get on the right track and find the quality you’re looking for. Here are three unspoken things to consider.
1. Reviews Can Be Too Perfect
Have you ever seen a physical therapy practice with hundreds of reviews that are all five stars? While that might sound amazing in theory, how much would you really trust those reviews? Anyone who has been in business in any industry knows that no matter how perfect your product or service is, you can’t please everyone. And when you couple that with the reality that potential customers are perceptive and know this too, there is a state where your reviews can be too perfect.
It’s all about finding the sweet spot of authentic reviews that still help you rate and rank above your competition. If a marketing service promises you 100% five-star reviews across the board and that you’ll never get any negative reviews, you should be worried. Additionally, if they say they’ll fight or contest any review that isn’t five stars, that’s also a problem.
2. Incentivizing Reviews Can Be Trouble
A tactic that you may have seen other businesses in healthcare or elsewhere try is incentivizing people to leave a positive review. “Leave us a five-star review, and get a free dessert!” “Show us your glowing review online and we’ll take 10% off your bill!”
Does this work? Yes, it does. Is it sustainable? Absolutely not. The main reason that this is a practice that should always be avoided is that if you get caught by any of the major review platforms, your account can get shut down or penalized.
According to Yelp, “If we find indicators of systematic review solicitation, we will apply a search ranking penalty to affected Yelp business pages… Extreme attempts to manipulate a business’s reputation and inflate search ranking by soliciting or purchasing reviews on Yelp may lead to a Consumer Alert on the business’s Yelp page.”
If a third-party provider suggests this tactic, you know you’re dealing with amateurs who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t have your business’s best interests at heart.
3. Reviews Have a Shelf Life
Something you’ll always see on every online review is the date on which it was written. Why is this important? If you see a company with a ton of great reviews that are all several years old, what do you start to think? Is this company still in business?…Did their quality of service fall off?…Did they pay for a bunch of reviews and then stop? None of these are the things you want potential customers thinking when evaluating your business.
Acquiring positive online reviews is a slow and steady process that is and will forever be ongoing. As cliché as it sounds, you need to view the process as a marathon and not as a sprint.
The Right Next Steps
Now that you have an idea of some of the things to avoid doing when building your healthcare company’s online review presence, what are some positive steps you can take on the right path? In this free e-book, our experts share the right things you can do to help your business compete and win in the online review space.