Review Case Study: With More Than One Employee Process Becomes Key

Don Campbell is president of Expand2Web which provides websites and Local SEO for small business owners. North Valley Optometry is owned by Dr. Tarryn Ngo, the wife of Don Campbell’s business partner Randy Hew. It has provided Expand2Web with a great case study on the impact of online reviews. Randy has been responsible for optimizing their web presence as well as implementing their online review process. The firm has 2 employees in addition to Dr. Ngo so process has become a key factor. Here’s Dr. Ngo’s story as told by Randy:

“Before connecting with Don Campbell last year my wife didn’t even have a website and only a couple of reviews (luckily they were good reviews) on Yelp. In July of 2009 we built her a website, optimized it and made it a focus to start asking customers for online reviews. Today she has close to 50 reviews on Google, almost 40 reviews on Yahoo and 6 reviews on Yelp which has taken about 6 months. It’s made a huge impact, the number of net new patients she is now getting on a monthly basis has increased roughly 30% and many of the new patients that come in comment that they have read the reviews online.

From a Local SEO standpoint North Valley Optometry comes up in the 7 pack on several keyword search terms for San Jose and related terms for optometry. What gives us a real competitive advantage is in the 7 pack North Valley Optometry has 40 more reviews than it’s closest competitor which makes it visually compelling for potential customers to click on our local listing.

North Valley Optometry online reviews

The process of asking for a review online is a simple, but getting online reviews is takes time. This is the process we use:

  1. Dr. Ngo (my wife) simply asks the patient some time during their visit to the office if they would be open to giving her business an online review. So far every patient she asks has said “no problem”.
  2. Next the office writes down the name and email address of the patient on a clipboard
  3. At the end of the week one of the girls on her staff types in the patient names and email addresses into a Google spreadsheet that we share.
  4. I copy those email addresses into an email template we created which is a short note asking for an online review with links directly to the Google and Yahoo local listing site.

The follow up email makes it easy for the patient to just click on the links and write a review. Originally the office tried giving the patients a piece of paper with the links on it as a reminder to write a review, but that wasn’t very effective. I think one of the main keys to getting customers to write a review is to make it easy for them.

That’s another reason why we only ask for a review on Google and Yahoo. Most people have a Google and/or Yahoo account so it’s easy for them to write a review. On other directories like Yelp, City Search or Insider Pages most people don’t have accounts already created so it’s asking a lot of a patient to create a new account and than write a review. From a search perspective most customers find North Valley Optometry on Google or Yahoo so it only makes sense to have reviews right there next to our business link in the search results.

Yelp is extremely popular in the silicon valley, but we don’t really bother with it. We found that Yelp will take down the customer reviews if the reviewer isn’t an “active yelper” and consistently reviewing many businesses. And the same problem as the other directories, if the customer isn’t already a Yelper they would have to create an account before giving a review which is a hassle.

Even though everyone has the best intentions to write a review we found that only 10-15% actually write a review. Most likely it’s just one of those “extra” things to do that gets lost in their daily activities of life. The office policy is to only ask the customer once for a review and they don’t give any incentives to a customer for writing one. So when we send the follow up email we want to make sure the request is reasonable and easy for them to follow through.

As you can see the process is pretty simple. At first just remembering to ask the customer for an online review was the biggest challenge. Once the office became committed to asking for a review it became a natural part of the conversation with their patients and implementing the rest of the process has been very easy. Getting a lot of online reviews doesn’t happen over night, but if you’re committed to the process it all adds up over time.

Out of this experience and the experience working with our other customers in local seo Don and I came up with this brainstorm for the myReviewsPage tool to help small business owners like my wife to monitor and build their online reviews.

We’re just starting to implement this free tool at North Valley Optometry. My wife likes the fact that at a click of the button she can monitor all of her reviews on the major directories. The email template is easy enough that they are going to start sending the review email request while the patient is in the office instead of having to go through all those extra steps of writing the patients info on a clipboard and than sending all the email requests at the end of the week or month. I’m hoping the timeliness of sending the emails will also help increase the number of patients that actually leave a review.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Review Case Study: With More Than One Employee Process Becomes Key by

7 thoughts on “Review Case Study: With More Than One Employee Process Becomes Key”

  1. Nice process, nice description. One thing is there is no internal review. Haven’t looked at the reviews but the office could send out a request and a patient/customer could be less than satisfied and write a poor review.

    What is done about that possibility?

  2. @earlpearl

    There is definitely a possibility of receiving a poor review. The intent of putting the process in place was to encourage her patients to leave an “authentic” online review.

    I think what makes the online reviews authentic as well is if you take a look at her online reviews there is consistent stream of a 3-10 reviews being left every month.

    So far all of her reviews have been positive, she works with all her patients personally and has a great relationship with most of them. But having a couple of avg reviews or even a negative review i don’t think would necessarily be a bad thing given the amount of positive reviews she has. The poor review would probably be seen more as a reflection of the reviewer than the business.

    If the trend was primarily negative reviews than that would be a different story.

    That being said the office asks “most” of their patient for a review, especially the ones they have a really good relationship with. But, there are some patients they do decide not to ask or encourage to leave a review.

  3. This may be my favorite post in the series so far. I’m just getting to know Don a little bit and I’m awfully impressed with the way he helps clients, as well as his enthusiasm about reviews. The reason I like this article so much is that it details exactly how the doctor and her staff are going about obtaining reviews. It’s wonderful to see this set out so clearly.

    I also would LOVE for Yelp to happen by and read why Don isn’t advising his client to list Yelp as a review source. I found that to be very interesting and relevant.

    Really enjoyable post. Way to go, Don & Randy!

  4. Thank you Miriam!

    When I talked to the Yelp business outreach team they actually said they do NOT want businesses to ask their clients for reviews. They would like to see the reviews happen “organically.”

    This is a tough spot for a business type that doesn’t normally get reviews on Yelp; if they get one bad one that’s all people see for a long time. At least Yelp now provides the ability for the business to send a message to the reviewer to try to resolve the issue and ask them to adjust their review if they are satisfied, and the ability to publicly comment on the review too.

    Still, I think Yelp needs to go even further to help the business owner in situations like these because the reviews can really impact their business. For example, if the business has real customers leave legitimate reviews on Yelp, Yelp should not remove them and blame it on “the algorithm.”

  5. Marketingseo

    When I talked to the Yelp business outreach team they actually said they do NOT want businesses to ask their clients for reviews. They would like to see the reviews happen “organically.”

  6. Mike, thank you for this through and helpful review. I have a client who owns a small business and I’m helping the guy with his search engine optimization and I was also asked to do something about yelp. So far yelp has been really bad for them. Most reviews are negative and they haven’t worked hard enough to get those great reviews. I found some tips from your post which I will directly implement on my action plan.

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