If you’re running a medical practice and looking to recruit quality General Practitioners, sorting out your Google Reviews might not be at the top of your to-do list.
But the rating of your practice and its quality, as assessed by your patients, can play a key part in helping GPs to decide whether or not they’ll consider your practice for their next move.
Given the current shortage of General Practitioners in Australia, GPs have lots of potential options, even if their search radius is quite small. On average, GPs visit 3-4 medical centres when choosing a new practice and therefore need to reduce their ‘longlist’ of options down. Google Reviews are one of the factors regularly used to come up with a shortlist of practices to visit.
Sure, there are other factors. Location, size, billing policy, business model, will all come into play. But most of these are fixed and can’t be changed, whereas building a positive Google review profile is something you can take action on right away.
Why Google Reviews matter
We all know first impressions count, and for a doctor considering your practice, it’s likely that the first thing they’ll do is search your practice and see what people are saying about you. Some practices have little to no reviews or presence, others might have negative reviews that have been ignored. In both cases, the impression is that this is a medical centre where patients don’t feel well managed or looked after.
On the flip side, if your practice has a good star rating and a long list of glowing reviews from happy patients, the impression is one of a well-managed, professional, high-quality practice. A place where people feel well looked after, and where staff are happy and professional.
Laying the right foundations
Before we look at how you can build your Google review rating and encourage patient feedback, it’s important to get your practice foundations right.
We caught up with Rakesh Vyasabhattu, Business Manager at Botany Road Doctors, a practice with more than 700 Google reviews and an impressive 4.8 star rating, to find out how he’s managed to build such a great online profile for the business.
Rakesh stressed the importance of first ensuring the practice has good business foundations, otherwise the exercise of sourcing Google reviews could be wasted.
“Traditionally, people only actively leave a review for a medical practice if they’ve had a bad experience,” says Rakesh.
“So, if you’re going to encourage reviews, you need to make sure that people visiting your practice are having a good experience. The key factor in this is communication - simple things like a warm greeting from receptionists upon arrival, or clear updates on any appointment delays to manage expectations, can make all the difference from a patient’s point of view.”
To give their practice the best possible chance of gaining good reviews, at Botany Rd Doctors they appointed a customer service person to the reception area, whose main focus is on customer relationships and communication.
They’ve also rolled out customer service training, so that every person in the practice can be a customer advocate, and made use of up-to-date software to improve the appointment booking process. Having a user-friendly website and multiple communication channels for patients is also important.
“Once these foundations are in place, you’re in a much better position to start asking for patient reviews. With good communication, processes and customer service, patients will have a good experience. The reviews become more about the overall impression of the medical practice, and less about the specifics of their medical appointment or diagnosis,” says Rakesh.
Asking for Google reviews
You are well within your rights to ask patients for a Google review as part of the follow-up communication to their visit, as long as you’re not incentivising them to leave a review.
The key is in the asking. A recent poll found up to 90% of satisfied customers will leave a review if they’re asked, but if you’re not asking, then it’s highly unlikely they’ll leave a review.
For example, at DXC Medical we proactively ask our clients and candidates to leave our business a review, and the result is we now have a 5-star rating and more than 120 reviews on Google.
Responding to Google reviews
Ideally, you should respond to all reviews - the good and the bad. In both cases, it’s an opportunity to continue the conversation with your patients, and to show that you’re listening to them and value their opinion.
If someone leaves a bad review, it’s best to:
- Thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave the review
- Be polite and don’t get personal
- Keep the response short and encourage further offline communication to resolve the complaint
- Do not disclose any personal/confidential information in the reply
Often a bad review might then be edited or deleted if you provide a chance to continue the conversation and address their concerns.
If you feel that the review is offensive or inappropriate, there is an option on your profile to report the review to Google for further investigation.
Depending on the size of your practice, it might also make sense to create a Google Reviews policy so that staff understand the importance of good reviews, and how to respond if they receive a bad review.
The policy should outline who receives Google reviews on email, how to respond and in what timeframe. You can include other review platforms in the policy, including Bing, Facebook etc.
Google reviews make a difference
Google reviews can be incredibly powerful in the GP recruitment process. So, take ownership of your Google reviews (and Google listing) and don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. They may just be the difference between a GP joining your practice, or going elsewhere.
For more information on anything covered in this article, or to discuss your GP recruitment requirements, please contact:
0405 234 852