In today’s connected society, online reviews and feedback have pull. But it’s not something to fear!
You might have been told to fear the unhappy individual who threatens to topple your empire with the
power of a Yelp review, but the reality is rosier. You are far from powerless when it comes to reputation
management, but you need someone dedicated to a strategy for your practice.
Being Active in Your Online Reputation
The ways that review sites are set up make it seem at first that the reviewer has no control over what appears on their ratings.
Fundamentally, that’s true. While you can flag certain reviews for not following a site’s rules or being untruthful, you can’t dictate what a patient says about you on a review site. As well you shouldn’t.
Although trying to manipulate what people actually say is downright unethical, it is not unethical to encourage your happy patients to leave you reviews.
Let’s face human nature, here. Who tends to be more motivated to leave a review: someone who is happy with service, or someone who feels angry by service?
It’s the angry people, of course. When we have received great service—even when we feel personally attended to—there is not as much drive to take the time to tell others as there is when we feel we have received poor service. In the latter case, we feel personally affronted; maybe even wanting some form of revenge.
Is it fair to you as a practitioner to have the rare negative experience show up in your reviews when you’ve had 100 other perfectly happy but silent patients? No; which is why asking for reviews from happy patients isn’t something you should be ashamed of.
If you’re thinking, “Sure. Easier said than done,” then you’re not alone. We’ve talked with plenty of doctors who feel awkward directly asking for reviews from their patients.
That’s why we recommend using handy alternatives!
Requests for reviews can come in several forms. Review cards can be handed out by your desk staff to patients you have marked as especially pleased. Review requests could also come in the form of a follow-up email sent after a patient’s appointment.
A method we are particularly excited about is a text-based request, available within our Integrated Local Solutions system.
Each of these methods provides links to your review sites that patients can access. In terms of the text method, it opens direct one-tap access to your site from a patient’s mobile phone!
If you’re not providing a nudge to happy patients to leave you reviews, you’re leaving the results of your hard work and commitment in the dark online. We can help you bring that good press into the light!
How Do You Respond to Reviews?
Having a review left on Facebook, Google, Healthgrades or another website is not the end of proper reputation management—and there’s a simple reason why.
When people browse review websites to make a decision, they are seeking to make a decision on where to go. The reviews provide insight from the perspective of the patient as to your services and demeanor.
But aren’t they missing one side of the story?
They are. Yours.
Now hold on a second! We are not saying to play lawyer and argue against every negative review you might receive. (Seriously, do not do this.)
What we are saying is that the responses you make to your reviews—both good and bad—reflect two points to other readers:
1. You care that your patients are happy.
2. You take time to listen to negative feedback (which means you are more likely to listen to them, too!)
For these reasons, we recommend that every review you receive is responded to, even if it’s just a simple thanks for some nice words sent your way! Our Integrated Local Solutions platform includes the ability to notify you and us of whenever a review is left on the major rating sites. That way, the response can be timely, too.
But hey, saying thanks for glowing praise is easy. What about a dreaded negative review?
First of all, don’t panic. The occasional negative review is not going to send you into a downward spiral.
Remember when we said people tend to only leave reviews when angry? Most people are aware of this, and expect some negativity in a series of reviews. They know nobody is able to please everyone. In fact, seeing nothing but perfect 5-star scores tends to make people more suspicious of a place than an average score between 4 and 5.
When responding to negative reviews, it’s important to have these potential patients in mind as much as the actual reviewer. You also want to address criticism and concerns in ways that don’t look defensive and move any follow-up away from the Internet (where people love to lap up drama).
Our account managers and local search experts have had plenty of experience with a range of patient reviews and will be happy to provide timely and effective responses for your review.
Reputation Management Needs Steady Attention
Managing your online reviews and reputation is a crucial addition to any overall digital marketing strategy. From attracting positive reviews to providing careful responses, it can have a building, long-term effect on your patient traffic.
VMD Services can build a winning strategy with you, for online reviews to social media, website creation, and more!
Give us a call at 833-823-3335 to get started on your online goals today.