Reviews and Ratings Are Driving Local Search: Can HCPs & Providers Use These Tools?

Joe Morsello provided a commentary on Street Fight How Reviews and Ratings are Driving Local Search that examined how searches for local businesses are including in ever increasing numbers review and ratings that we can’t miss. We all know these are subjective but a recent study of >2,000 consumers in the US and Canada showed that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is up from about 67% in 2011. Add that to a recent Nielsen study of 29,000 consumers across 58 countries identified that 70% of consumers trust online reviews. And think about this from a Harvard Business School study, a one-star hike on Yelp can mean a 5-9% rise in restaurant revenue. Something else from this study that was noteworthy, they found the more reviews a business had reduces the likelihood of positive review fraud. While fewer reviews increased the likelihood to engage in positive review fraud. Makes sense since less reviews may just drive panic in the office. Here is part of the conclusion from the Harvard study:

Organizations are more likely to game the system when they are facing increased competition and when they have poor or less established reputations.For managers, policymakers, and even end-users investigating review fraud, this sheds light on the situations where reviews are most likely to be fraudulent. More generally, this casts light on the economic incentives that lead organizations to violate ethical norms.

Morsello points out that businesses should privately ask customers to review a service or product not shout it out on FB or Twitter. Further he makes the point that online reviews will be an important and significant differentiator for business since they are becoming part of the local search. To drive this point home Nielsen reports that consumer reviews are the third-most trusted form of advertising, behind recommendations from the people you know and branded websites.

Yesterday I wrote about retail tools that monitor customer satisfaction and how they will be important in helping to determine and measure patient satisfaction. That post is here. This article points to an important change in social media and online reviews and fits with the customer/patient satisfaction. It is the expression of that satisfaction or dissatisfaction that is important. Each on represents an opportunity to advance a message, meet a goal, express a strategy, or fix and issue. Online reviews and rating are gaining in importance even in the face of growing concern over people gaming the system. This article and the associated studies are showing online reviews are part of retail decision making for customer. The conversion of this to healthcare seems obvious. Patient decision making can be partially driven by making online reviews part of an overall strategy.

Hospitals are going to be providing outcomes data for patients to use to compare care and quality as well as price lists. It only makes sense that these hospitals include reviews by patients and track those reviews. Here are our clinical outcomes and here are our human outcomes up close and personal. We can do this. 

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