When the doctors, dentists, and dermatologists who are behind our Advice Media practices were in medical or dental school, the last thing they worried about was a future of having to manage their reputation online in the presence of 65 online medical review websites. They didn’t think about having a Facebook page for their future practice or seeing reviews of their practice out there for all to see on a site like Yelp. It’s a good thing — viewing those future sources of additional anxiety may have caused them to drop out and pursue a career in sales!
But a recent consumer study from Nielsen seems to show that review sites, particularly Yelp, actually drive conversions for businesses. So, maybe they’re not so bad after all!
The online review website Yelp commissioned the study from the trusted audience measuring company Nielsen in the fall of last year. The survey asked various questions to 2,000 consumers who had searched for a local business online.
The findings illustrate that practitioners shouldn’t be anxious about review sites; they should embrace them. Why? Ninety-two percent of respondents said they made a purchase after visiting Yelp, “at least sometimes, frequently, or almost always.” Plus, they also said they made those purchases faster now than they used to thanks to the information gleaned from Yelp.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the stats:
- 74% of consumers searching online for a local business turn to consumer online review sites at least monthly.
- Consumers who use consumer online review sites rank Yelp as the most trusted, most influential, and most useful for making a final purchase decision.
The numbers on Yelp specifically:
- 92% of consumers say they made a purchase after visiting Yelp.25% within a few hours
- 42% within a day or less
- 79% within a, week or less
- 70% of Yelp users say they are looking for a business they can visit multiple times.
- 85% of Yelp users share what they find on Yelp with friends.
Hmm. It appears managing your reputation, especially on Yelp, can pay off and pay off quickly…and repeatedly.
Numbers from a recent survey by JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) back up the importance of online review sites. This survey was specific about utilizing online reviews when choosing a doctor. While not the crazy conversions of the Yelp survey, the JAMA survey found that over 40 percent of people deemed physician-rating sites as “very important” for choosing a doctor.
What does this mean for your practice?
If you didn’t believe it before, this Nielsen survey of 2,000 people should make you a believer — online reviews are a critical part of the decision-making process. While this survey didn’t break out for medical or dental practices, you’d have to think online reviews have become a critical way for potential patients to discover or to learn more about practice. Due to the more intricate process of making a decision to have an actual procedure done, the conversion rate within a week is surely nowhere near as high as with restaurants or flower shops. But it’s an important factor nonetheless.
This shows how critical it is to be sure your practice information is consistent across the various review sites. Our Advice Media dashboard tool will help with that. It’s also important that you have practice photos, practice descriptions, and the like with Yelp and other sites. And you need to be notified when a new review or message is posted. On Yelp specifically, you can do that through the “Yelp for Business Owners” app.
Responding to reviews is also an important function. Whether it’s a good review or not so good, it’s important that you acknowledge the review and, if necessary, address problems posed in the review. No one expects a practice or any other business to have only 5-star reviews, but how lesser reviews are handled is equally important to your reputation.
This Nielsen study shows the growing power of online reviews for all kinds of businesses. Practices are right in there. But rather than something to fear, online review sites can be a great way to bring in new patients. You simply have to be involved and tuned into the conversation.
If you have any questions about Yelp or any other online review sites, contact your Advice Media representative and let’s talk.