For a medical professional, online reputation management is key to attracting new patients and retaining existing ones. Patients these days are relying on online reviews more than ever. So it becomes crucial that your online reputation is high. Review sites such as Yelp, Vitals and Healthgrades have become the modern-day word-of-mouth and an easy source of online reviews for potential patients. Yelp is one of the most trusted review sites and typically appears on the first page whenever you search for a local medical practice on Google.
While most patients are going to write great feedback about your practice on review sites such as Yelp, you may come across a negative review from time to time. What happens when you receive a negative review on Yelp? Is it possible to remove a bad review?
Yelp allows its users to speak freely and will delete a review if it violates their content guidelines. So Yelp will only remove a negative review if it is inappropriate. Simply put, Yelp does not allow foul language, vulgarity, threats, hate speech, racism and other displays of partiality. If you feel the negative comment violates these guidelines, you can attempt to get it removed by reporting it to Yelp.
To report a negative review that you believe is in violation, you need to confirm that you are the owner of the Yelp business page. You will need to access the page using your Yelp login credentials. You will be able to report the review only after you are logged into your profile. You will need to give a few days to the Yelp moderators to evaluate the content you have reported, and you will be notified once a decision has been made. However, if Yelp decides to remove the review, they will inform the reviewer that the feedback has been deleted.
There are four ways to get negative reviews off Yelp:
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
- Request the reviewer to delete it: The most common way to get a review removed is to contact the reviewer directly. You will need to have a friendly talk with the upset customer and try to understand the reason behind the negative review. In the best-case scenario, the negative review may get turned into a positive one, which will go a long way in helping your practice grow. If this is not possible, you may at least be able to get the negative review removed.
- Terms of service (TOS) violations: You can get negative reviews removed if they violate Yelp’s terms of service. Every review site has their terms of service where they list all the dos and don’ts. For instance, if a review is a personal attack or is defamatory based on race, ethnicity or religion, you can get it removed. Also, if the reviewer is calling people names or using foul language, such reviews should be reported and removed for TOS violation.
- Legal action against the reviewer: You can report Yelp reviews if you feel they are illegal. In specific situations, you may consider filing a suit against the reviewer responsible for writing defamatory content on Yelp. Even if the author has kept his identity anonymous or has tried to muddle his identity online, it is possible to acquire a removal order.
- Generate positive reviews: The most efficient way to manage negative online reviews is to ensure a constant inflow of positive reviews from happy patients. Over a period, new positive reviews from satisfied patients will remove negative reviews from search engine results.
As a proactive measure, you should regularly ask your loyal patients to post positive reviews after their appointment. The more positive reviews you have on review sites, the more accurately your practice will be perceived by the potential patient. Google recommends this strategy for practices seeking ways to improve their online reputation.
Whether you like it or not, Yelp and other review sites are going to be around for quite some time. As a medical professional, you will suffer for each negative review that people read online about your practice. Negative reviews can drastically affect your practice’s “star” rating, and this is the first thing potential patients will see next to your Yelp listing. While positive reviews bring in new patients, negative ones can scare potential and even existing patients away.
Whether you look at Yelp as an essential cornerstone of your marketing strategy or simply a place for the complainers to whine online, Yelp has established itself as the go-to place for people looking for online reviews. Therefore, it is devastating to discover negative or damaging reviews from unhappy patients, unethical competitors or unreasonable employees. To conclude, it is only possible to have Yelp remove reviews when they are in violation of Yelp’s TOS conditions.