A strong online reputation is an essential component of growing your medical practice. From retaining existing patients to attracting new ones, it is a game of reviews. Online image is built with positive reviews from your patients. Now that you know the importance of your patients, you need to build a relationship of trust and respect with them. But at some point in time, every physician encounters bad reviews from unhappy patients, because no one is perfect. Unfortunately, the patient will probably read all your reviews on various review platforms for reassurance.
Let’s see how to deal with negative reviews to prevent them from becoming a hindrance to the growth of your practice.
- Monitor reviews regularly
Check your profile regularly on various review platforms to track all online reviews received. This saves you from ignoring any posts from your patients. Until you know about the negative reviews received, you won’t be able to deal with them. And when someone is investing his time to write a review in your favor, he needs to be valued.
- Check for review spam
After reading a negative review, first check if it is review spam. A false review can be posted to hurt your practice by writing made-up information about you or praising your competitor. There can be incidents quoted by a reviewer that never happened. If you confirm that it is a false review, report it to that particular review platform (such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Healthgrades, etc.) to have it removed as soon as possible. Click here to learn more about review spam.
- Respond to negative reviews
If you have received a genuine negative review, reply to the reviewer instead of deleting it. Don’t ever get defensive or take it personally. It is just a recommendation or review on your service or treatment. Come up with a clarification to the reviewer’s problem. If you don’t have an ideal or immediate solution, confirm a time and get back with a resolution. Here are some tips on how to respond to negative reviews
#1. Be patient.
Remember, haste makes waste. So avoid replying at once. Think patiently and then respond. Follow HIPAA rules and regulations.
#2. Don’t take it personally.
Take things professionally. Remember, it’s a learning experience to grow your practice. Don’t take it on yourself but on your business. Never sound defensive, and keep it polite.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
#3. Don’t neglect.
Reply to the review with thanks and an assurance that you will resolve the patient’s complaint. Keep it short and simple.
#4. Take it offline.
Try to take the conversation offline. Appreciate their feedback and ask them to phone you or visit your office. Later you can also request that they remove the negative comment.
- Take it as a feedback
You always need to take things positively. Negative reviews don’t mean the end of your practice, rather they give you the opportunity to change your procedures for the better. A negative review informs you about areas of improvement for your practice. It motivates and guides you to improve your customer service. And all your progress is observed and complimented by your reviewer. Your efforts will help you get positive reviews in future, so don’t let negative feedback go to waste.
- Request positive reviews
To maintain a good online reputation, you should ask your existing patients to write good reviews about your practice. More positive reviews will push the negative ones down and the number of people reading all reviews is very small. But never force patients to write positive reviews. Rather, as a gesture of thanks, you can offer them a free next visit to your practice. You can either ask the patient to post a positive review when at your practice or request it by email or message on your social media page as a follow-up.
Instead of ignoring a problem, try to fix it in order to grow your target audience’s trust in your services. Show your empathy toward their concerns. Talk to them and try to understand their problems in detail. Listening to them is in itself a satisfier for most people.
Think patiently and follow the above-mentioned steps to deal with bad online reviews and build a good online image. Remember, your job is to offer quality service to your patients. And one or two negative reviews does not mean the end your practice.