In today’s digital age, online reviews can make or break a business’s success. A new survey conducted by Weave revealed that online reviews have a substantial impact on a patient’s decision when choosing a medical provider, especially among younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z.
The survey was commissioned in April 2023 by Weave to 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ to find out how much online reviews impact patients’ decisions when choosing a medical provider. The findings reveal that younger generations, in particular, rely heavily on online reviews when selecting a medical provider, and providers must explore bolstering their online presence to not only attract new patients but retain existing patients as well. Online reviews have long had substantial influence in industries like retail as more than 99.9% of consumers claim they read reviews when shopping online, and Weave’s new survey findings suggest that these digital conveniences and expectations are now bleeding over to the way consumers interact with healthcare providers as well — posing a new challenge for small practices.
The Weight of Online Reviews In Attracting and Retaining Patients
Weave’s survey discovered that online reviews hold a great deal of power for young generations. A majority of Millennials stated they rely on online reviews before scheduling appointments with all healthcare providers, including physicians (72%), dentists (72%), MedSpas (66%), and veterinarians (56%).
The type of review matters for this demographic as well. Providers cannot rely solely on numerical or ‘star’ ratings to garner attention but need written reviews to convince patients — more than 3 in 4 Millennials (77%) consider online written reviews for a healthcare provider more important than star or numerical ratings alone. This belief indicates a trend among young patients, as 73% of Gen Z claimed the same.
Given the weight of importance online reviews play, providers should prioritize garnering reviews among their patient base. However, not all patients are currently leaving reviews — especially when looking at mature demographics like Baby Boomers. In fact, just 1 in 3 Baby Boomers (33%) claim that they sometimes leave online reviews for healthcare providers after they visit.
Not all hope is lost among older generations, however. There are opportunities for providers to get patients to leave reviews after they leave the office, including being reminded via text. More than half of Baby Boomers (56%) and 74% of Gen X would be more likely to leave a review after a healthcare appointment if they were reminded via text or email.
Trust Factor: Younger Generations Trust Online Reviews Over Peer Opinion
The survey also found that online reviews can outweigh word-of-mouth references, especially among younger generations. More than half of Millennials (53%) and half of Gen Z (50%) claim they trust online reviews of healthcare providers over the word of someone they know.
As younger generations continue to come to market and hold increasingly more buying power in the healthcare industry, digital mediums to attract and retain patients will become more critical than ever. In order for small healthcare practices to compete in today’s digital-first world, they must prioritize building an online presence with third-party reviews or they risk losing out to more modern, digitally-advanced competitors.
The medium in which online reviews are displayed and gathered matters to patients as well. Google is the most trusted reviews site for healthcare providers by Millennials (37%) and Gen Z (42%), followed by Facebook (Millennials 36%; Gen Z 28%).
Making Reviews Part of Your Office’s Daily Practice
Not only does the content of reviews impact patient decisions, but also the recency of when the reviews were written. Healthcare providers must make gathering reviews a part of their daily routine when interacting with patients. Across the board, patients chose recency of reviews as the most important factor when evaluating reviews online with more than 3 in 5 patients claiming so. This factor was followed by the details included in written reviews (59%), and the number of reviews (56%).
What’s more, patients also depend on quick response times from businesses when evaluating online reviews, with nearly 2 in 5 consumers (37%) evaluating for quick response times from businesses. This number jumps among younger generations, as almost half of Millennials (45%) and Gen Z (46%) said the same.
This marks a challenge for providers who are already stretched thin with burnout and labor shortages plaguing the industry as patient expectations continue to grow.
Modern technology and tools that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) can assist greatly in reducing the administrative toll placed on healthcare staff so that they can focus valuable staff time on delivering personalized care instead. Weave Reviews and Response Assistant can help automate the process of gathering reviews by automatically sending texts to patients after an appointment with a link to leave a review, building a presence online to attract new customers, and streamlining review responses by leveraging AI to draft responses and other content.
To learn more about these features and others, schedule a demo of Weave at getweave.com/demo.
9 out of 10 people check online reviews before choosing a business
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