More Stars, More Clients: Grow Your Vet Practice With Online Reviews

4 min read

The importance of online reviews for your veterinary practice

For years your veterinary practice has relied on loyal clients spreading the word about your outstanding service. They were telling their friends, neighbors, and co-workers that your practice is the place to go for exceptional pet care.

However, for some, it seems that those loyal clients have been keeping their mouths shut recently. The word-of-mouth referrals aren’t spreading as fast or far.

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If your practice falls into that category, It’s time to look beyond your inner circle and start reaching out to clients in a more virtual way.

I’m talking about boosting your online reputation.

Now, many of you probably already have some sort of website or social media for your veterinary practice. That’s great! But it’s only the beginning. It’s time to get people talking on those pages and hopefully raving about your skills and services.

If you’re still a little uncertain that online reviews really matter, pay attention to this: a study carried out by Dimensional Research suggests that over 90% of consumers read online reviews when deciding whether to engage with a business. And they don’t just take these reviews with a grain of salt or brush them aside, they believe them.

So, it would make sense that the more five-star reviews you can get out there on the World Wide Web, the more the bell on your veterinary practice door will be ringing with new clients coming to give you a try.

How to generate more online reviews

First thing’s first, you need to decide on what avenues you want to promote your practice. Your best bet on where to display reviews that potential clients can easily find is on your practice’s website. Then there are the major review sites like Google, Yelp and Angie’s List, and on your social media pages (such as Facebook).

Be aware that you can control the reviews that are posted on your website, but not those on the shared sites like Yelp. While this may make negative reviews harder to manage, these sites are still important to help reach new pet parents.

The next step is to let your already satisfied customers know that it’s time to virtually sing your praises. Gather reviews from clients as they leave your practice. Offer business cards printed with review sites and your practice’s website for easy reference. You can also print this information on their invoices. 

You may offer incentives, like a free toenail trim for every review posted or whatever you feel comfortable with. Pet owners these days consider their critters part of the family and most of them are more than willing to let others know who takes the best care of their furry family. Give them care that’s worthy of a five-star review, let them know where to post it, and most will be happy to take a few minutes to tell others.

Responding to your reviews

Once you start receiving these glowing reviews, be sure to respond. Just say thank you to that client for their patronage, and remind them that they are why your veterinary practice is here. It may be a little time consuming, but prospective clients will appreciate that your business cares and connects with its clients.

PAZ Veterinary, a small group of practices that use Vetstoria, has a great approach to this. This does not come as a surprise as both the staff and the management fully embrace digital technologies.

PAZ Veterinary responding to a review on Yelp.

Be sure to obtain reviews from loyal clients while the experience is fresh in their minds. Review sites often become a complainer’s paradise as it seems that the only reviewers are the unhappy ones.

While you’re bound to get a few negative reviews, no matter how great your services are, make sure the positive ones greatly outweigh them by trying to engage those happy clients. 

Again, just letting them know where reviews can be posted and politely asking them to do so will greatly increase your online reputation.

Online reviews are more than just a fad, they’re here to stay. Pet owners now rely on them as part of their decision process when it comes to who will care for a member of their family.

Increase your positive online reviews by continuing to provide a great service and asking satisfied clients to write about it. The better online reputation you can garner, the greater the number of new clients there will be bringing pets through your door.