It’s no secret that healthcare is undergoing a major shift towards consumerism. Consumers are more empowered and protected than ever before, and organizations must respond accordingly. One of the most significant manifestations of this shift is the rising importance of online reviews. The increasing number of online review platforms has given consumers a powerful voice, and healthcare providers who adapt to this revelation have much to gain. Here are just 3 of the many reasons why these reviews are so important.
When it comes to the importance of online reviews, the numbers speak for themselves. More than 88% of online shoppers cite online reviews as a factor in their purchase decision. What’s more, 50% of prospective customers will visit a business’s website after reading positive online reviews, reviews can help drive web traffic as well as sales. While companies like medical device manufacturers may spring to mind when one hears the phrase “e-commerce,” it is important to note that physicians selling their services online with features like online booking also fall under this umbrella. Online reviews are equally as important for these practices, as 80% of patients regularly consult review sites to view or post comments and ratings of healthcare
Trust & Loyalty
It’s important for a consumer to trust a business, especially when it comes to healthcare. When someone’s health or wellbeing is on the line, they are likely to take extra steps before making a purchase. Online reviews help build trust among consumers when they see that other people have put stock into a company and have experienced good results. Healthcare patients and consumers put an especially high value in reviews and online reputations. Over one third of patients (34.7%) rate the online reputation of their physician as “very important,” which, according to NRC Health, is higher than in any other industry. What’s more, they also found that healthcare patients in 2019 trust online reviews and ratings as much as they trust recommendations from their actual physician, at 47.5% and 46.8% respectively (with a 1.8% margin of error). When a consumer writes a positive review it acts as a step towards a long-term relationship by building loyalty. According to loyalty and referral program experts Annex Cloud, “It allows customers to feel that they have a voice and can provide valuable feedback to help a company improve its product or service.” Moreover, reviews and feedback can help improve the customer experience, which is invaluable in terms of instilling loyalty in healthcare consumers and patients. According to HealthLeaders, it is 5x more impactful on brand loyalty than traditional marketing tactics.
Search Engine Optimization
A company can help improve its website’s search engine optimization by featuring reviews on pages featuring products or services. Regularly adding reviews tells search engines that the site is consistently updated, earning favor in organic listings. The more reviews that accumulate, the more information search engines have to feature on website listings, so this tactic not only helps a site appear higher in searches but makes the result look more appealing as well. This happens because search engine algorithms treat reviews like quality backlinks, or “links from other authoritative, relevant sites” which lead back to the site in question. The more of these links there are, the more credible the site will seem to the search engine. In a similar fashion, the more reviews that acknowledge an organization is fulfilling the needs of its consumers (or patients, as the case may be) the more trust it earns from the algorithm. In addition to an organization’s website, SEO plays an important part in Amazon’s internal search engine. A high volume of good reviews will help a product stand out to the site’s algorithm and thus be placed higher in search results.
These are just a few of the many ways online reviews can help strengthen a healthcare organization, both online and offline. For more insights, visit our blog.
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