Online reviews are an extremely important part of practice growth. 91% of potential customers look at online reviews before making a decision, it’s important to be well rated and reviewed when potential patients find you online. Here are some tips to help you manage online reviews.
Respond to all online reviews – Respond to both positive and negative reviews. By responding to the positive reviews, you enhance the connection with the patient. Acknowledging their review may by the tipping point that leads the customer to take action and refer a friend. When it comes to negative reviews, responding tactfully can do one of two things (or both). Either the reviewer will increase their rating of the practice and/or people viewing the review will get to see that you care about patient satisfaction.
Drown a bad review with good ones – Don’t be afraid of the occasional negative review. Just collect more positive reviews to enhance your ratings. Send an email to patients reminding them to review the practice. Better yet, give it a personal touch by sending it from an email account of their hygienist or doctor. Just make sure not flood the same patient with too many review requests.
Let them vent before they reach Yelp – Give disgruntled patients feedback cards or a survey to fill out. If a patient had a bad experience they get a chance to vent before considering posting a bad review online.
Constant improvement – A bad review may actually expose a weakness in your practice that needs to be addressed. Whether it’s improving the manner of your doctors and staff, or updates to the billing and notification system of your practice, there is always something to improve. These improvements will translate to more positive reviews down the line.
Don’t buy online reviews – This can’t be said enough, don’t ever buy online reviews. Ethics aside, you will be caught and fined. Technology is sophisticated enough to either filter the reviews or have you fined for them.
What to do if you get a negative review:
Breath – If you are feeling hurt or emotional after reading a review, take time to breath and calm yourself before responding. Angry or defensive responses to online reviews can be extremely harmful to your practice’s reputation.
Check if the review is legitimate – If you have reason to believe the review is not legitimate, or that the reviewer is not following the rules of the review website, you can flag or report the review. Additionally, many review websites have rules and guidelines regarding reviews. For example, if the reviewer mentions a competitor, Yelp will remove the review. If the review breaks the rules, be sure to report it.
Be very careful when you respond – Make sure that you don’t divulge any private information or violate HIPAA guidelines in the process of responding. A more general or vague response to a review is better than a lawsuit. Keep your responses limited to a general explanation of your policy or let them know the issue is being taken care of.
Don’t bribe them – Don’t try bribing them with coupons or gifts. Not only does this not address the issue they had in the first place, it may also backfire if the customer reacts negatively to your offer and construes it as an attempt to silence them. Let them and anybody who sees the review know that the issue that the patient had is being taken care of. If you do get a bad review, just remember, if you keep offering top quality care the truth will come out in the form of positive online reviews that will drown out the negative ones.