August 25, 2020

Growing your reviews

David Harris BVSc MRCVS

August 25, 2020

Reviews are great things to have – in fact, they’re increasingly a core element in marketing your practice. But are you focusing enough on them? As vets, we all like to boast about our clinical prowess and experience, or the services we can offer, or the nice toys we’ve got. But in many cases that isn’t what potential clients want to see. They want to know that they’ll be well treated and cared for, as much as their pet is. And reviews, of course, are how they peek behind the curtain. To see how you treat your clients, before they ever step foot through the door.

So, in this blog, we’re going to take a quick look at some of the benefits of using and growing reviews.

Why use reviews?

The bottom line, of course, is that people want to read them! And increasingly, they’re one of the most important factors in choosing to use a business. Overall, research suggests that 82% of customers read online reviews before deciding on a business. This rises to 52% of 18-54 year olds (our key potential clients). And nearly half (47%) wouldn’t do business with a company rated less than 4/5.

Surely the vet world is different?

Not at all! According to our research, the most important single factor in choosing a new veterinary practice is the opinion of friends and family (61%). Though checking online reviews comes in at 53% (second most important factor). And for 18-24 year olds (i.e. our next generation of clients!), it’s the most important factor of all (69%, compared to 63% for asking friends).

If you don’t have reviews, there’s a strong chance that potential clients will bypass you – or even actively avoid you, assuming you’ve got something to hide. 

What about bad reviews?

Actually, a few bad reviews are a good thing – clients don’t trust a 100% perfect record, it looks too curated (and therefore unreliable). This, incidentally, is why testimonials are less powerful on their own than reviews – they’re clearly curated. But glowing testimonials backed up by a solid 4.9 stars, say, is perfect. We’ll be looking at this in the next blog!

So, just for attracting new clients then?

No, definitely not. That’s one side of the coin, but there are other issues to take into account. In particular, review and improvement.

You probably do clinical governance to help improve your clinical outcomes already. It’s helpful to think of reviews as being an extension to that, helping you to improve your customer service outcomes too. After all, if you don’t know that you have a problem with unhappy clients, you’ve got very little chance of finding out why they’re unhappy, and how to improve it.

There’s also the Best UK Vet Awards, which are given based on online reviews for excellence in customer service… something you can also use to motivate your client base (and your team!).

How many reviews do we need?

As many as you can get! The more reviews, the more people trust you. The average consumer needs a minimum of 10 reviews before they feel they can trust you, but remember – that’s a minimum. The bigger you are, the more reviews people expect to see.

So how do we get more reviews?

Now that’s the key question! We’ve found that there are three key steps to getting a respectable review count…

1) Ask people!

If your clients don’t know you’re looking for reviews – or that they can leave a review – they won’t. So, consider putting a request on the bottom of your invoices or receipts; or having reception remind people as they’re leaving. You can also put reminders on social media, or on booster reminders.

It can also be really helpful to send out an email to your client base, asking for reviews – you’ll often be surprised at how many people are willing to do so!

2) Make it easy

If it’s complicated and difficult to leave a review, only the highly motivated will complete the process. Sadly, this is likely to mean that you’ll get a disproportionately high number of dissatisfied clients leaving reviews, while the people who are quite happy thank you won’t. So make it as seamless as possible, with easy links from your website, social media presence, email or even invoices and text reminders.

3) Be grateful

Thank people for leaving a review! This could be an incentive (a prize draw, for example), but just a simple “thank you so much” and a personal response can be really powerful.

Want to know more? Check out our review packages on the website, or get in touch with our team who will be happy to walk you through the details!