Social media: Request, review, reply

Nicola Read explores why optical practices should encourage patient reviews

Do you receive reviews regularly from the customers that visit your practice? This statistic might just make you want to prioritise them; 93% of consumers say online reviews influence their decision to purchase.

In optometry, where the competition can be fierce and choices vast, the significance of customer reviews cannot be overestimated. Beyond the mere act of gathering feedback, which can be useful in itself, sharing reviews can substantially impact the success and credibility of your optical practice.


Requesting reviews

Often, people do not even think to leave a testimonial. When was the last time you took the time to leave one for a business? However, if you are asked to, and it is explained to you how they can help a business, you are far more likely to make the effort, and there are lots of ways you can request them.

You can ask for reviews in the form of a post on your social media pages that links followers directly to the reviews section of your Facebook page. Instagram and Twitter do not offer a reviews option but Facebook does, so point them there. Google is a great tool to utilise for reviews too if you are registered with Google My Business, (and you should be; it is free and brilliant).

You can also ask for reviews at the end of an appointment and direct your customer where they need to go to leave one. One way we have seen utilised very well is to have a business card printed with a QR code on it that directs them straight to your reviews section; making it easy is always a winner.

Hand that over at the end of an appointment or after a purchase and explain how important reviews are to your business. You could even offer a monthly incentive, with everyone who leaves a review that month getting entered into a prize draw for a voucher.

Word of mouth reviews are powerful. When potential customers see their friends and peers recommending somewhere as a trustworthy source and know the information they are sharing is genuine. When your customers become your brand advocates, their endorsements carry a genuine weight that really resonates with potential clients. They have a level of credibility that traditional marketing strategies often struggle to achieve.


Replying to reviews

A top tip is to always respond to reviews. Not only is it polite, but it encourages a two-way conversation with your customers. Other potential customers can see you are invested in your business, value your feedback and your feedback and are committed to customer satisfaction.

This applies even if the review is not as positive as you may have hoped. People will see how you deal with this and it can be just as valuable. Acknowledging reviews helps customers to see their opinion matters to you and they are more likely to stay loyal and become advocates for your brand, and we all need those.

Now you need to put your reviews to good use. You can share them by quoting the text and including it in a new social media post, or you can screenshot the review and use that as the image. This can often work well as it is seen as more authentic social proof, in that people can actually see who wrote the review and when.

You can also share pictures of any cards, flowers or gifts the team receive as a way of further endorsements. Remember to use these golden nuggets on your website too. Also, if you regularly update your website, and reviews are a great way to do this, it is a positive mark for search engine opimisation as websites with fresh content get prioritised.

Reviews and recommendations strengthen the credibility of your practice. They have the power to influence buying decisions and help to strengthen trust. People want to hear from your customers and what their experience was like, it helps them to make a choice they feel comfortable with.

So, ask for reviews and get comfortable with it. When people are happy with the service they have received, they are more than happy to endorse your business, they want to see you succeed and they love to feel they have played a part in that. 

  • Nicola Read owns Babbl Social and specialises in helping opticians increase their turnover through digital marketing. She can be contacted at Hello@Babbl.co.uk and 01332 899 409.