1. Google requires too much personal information
It’s a lot to ask — most people will never be comfortable sharing a review of a medical procedure with all of their friends. Google+ is a social network just like Facebook, so you have to remember that asking for reviews on Google+ may make them feel exposed and vulnerable.
Take the tragic story of the transgender person whose life was ruined when unintentionally outed by Google Plus. It’s no wonder people are afraid for their privacy.
2. The process of creating a Google account is like applying for a mortgage
Well, maybe not quite that long, but it does requires a lot of work to get a Google account set up and it’s easy to get distracted by looking for a cute picture of yourself and finding the perfect cover art for your profile… and oh, look over there at that link… oooh a new cat video!… and hey, why don’t I have any friends on Google Plus? It’s not that easy to just create an account and write a simple review. You can get sidetracked for hours in there. I dare you not to watch this cat video.
3. Google Plus is confusing, even for advanced users
Even if you’ve made it through the decathlon of signing up for an account, nothing about Google Plus feels good. They change the names and policies constantly. People don’t feel good about using it, and even the most sophisticated internet users have failed to make Google Plus their primary social network. Many SEOs want Google+ to just go away.
“Whether by bad luck or mishandling, or some combination of the two, the Google+ brand has never gained positive traction in public perception. Almost three years in, those of us who are advocates of the platform find ourselves still almost daily having to defend it from ridicule.” — MarketingLand, May 2014
4. Third party review generation tools are not authorized by Google and you will get caught
If you’re using a paid service to write Google+ reviews for you, or they take the content written by your patients and create phony Google accounts in order to turn them into Google+ reviews, you’re going to get caught. It’s only a matter of time. Don’t do it.
“If a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and ‘digitize’ them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local,” Google says in its advice for SEOs. “We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.” — SearchEngineWatch, Feb. 2013
5. Anonymity is the secret ingredient of effective reviews
Without anonymity, reviews are less authentic and reviewers feel much more vulnerable. They can feel that if you know who they are and they are candid online about their experience, you’ll come after them. Many would prefer to resolve issues privately and not air the “dirty laundry.”
Authentic reviews fuel conversions both online and in the office, and the only way to get truly authentic reviews is to provide a safe, anonymous, consistent system for patient feedback.
What should you do?
First, wow them with great service and the reviews will come naturally!
Doctors who consistently deliver amazing service don’t have to ask for reviews. Their patients are so inspired by their experiences that they can’t help but share.
Don’t give up on Google reviews, but remember these three tips:
- Only ask people with Gmail addresses to write Google reviews. They’re your best bet.
- Stop beating yourself up! It’s not you, it’s the system. It doesn’t work.
- Use a program like RealPatientRatings.com to generate verified reviews anonymously and put them on your own website. Having a large number of authentic reviews for prospective patients to read in a place that’s easy to find is much more important.