How To Handle Negative Yelp Reviews for Your Medical Practice
Having hundreds of awesome reviews online can certainly bring new patients to your practice, however having just a few negative reviews without hundreds of positive reviews can have the opposite effect. What steps should you take when a negative review appears? Follow these practices to take charge of your online reviews today.
A bad review or two isn’t going to shut down your practice. Online reviews do influence a great deal of people as nearly 80 percent or people check them and say they trust them, however not all people looking for your services will check reviews.
Find the Source
If you haven’t already invest, a couple of bucks into reputation monitoring software. Our software is simple, easy to use and lets you know the same day when something negative is mentioned online about you or your practice. Want to go the super cheap (free) route? Try Google’s newsfeed. It’s free to use and will cover a good amount of your online mentions. While its not as robust and useful as our medical reputation software it’s better than nothing.
Knowing who said what is critical. If you have a negative review pop up today most likely you will be able to connect the dots with a patient you saw today or the day before. If you can find the source you may be able to reach out to the person, make things right and have the review removed or edited by the person who gave it.
Was the review from a patient of your competition? Doctors invest a lot of time and money into medical practice websites, medical practice SEO and pay-per-click marketing. Competition online is only growing with no end in site. It may seem hard to believe but we have witnessed firsthand practices who have received negative reviews from their competition, other doctors in the same specialty trying to gain an advantage. There have been lawsuits filled and settled in multiple states over astro turfing. In one case a practice was caught making employees leave positive reviews to drown out theier own negative reviews. Knowing the source is critical.
HIPAA often times can interfere with leaving reponses on negative or positive reviews. Even if a person complains about their doctor online using their own name responding to the review could be a HIPAA violation. If you are going to respond first get the okay from your legal counsel to do so.
Try to Resolve the Issue Privately
We recommend trying to resolve the issue privately for two reasons. 1) Hippa 2.) It’s the best practice. Always apologize, listen and keep it matter of fact. If you or your practice made a mistake or did not provide the level of service you offer, inform the patient letting them know that. Flat out ask what you can do to make things right with the patient.
Increase the Amount of Positive Reviews Online
We offer a simple, automated system to help you increase the amount of positive reviews you have online. Asking patients for reviews when they leave the office is a simple way to see more posted. Add review links to your monthly newsletter. If you ever ask employees to review you make sure they state in their review that they are an employee!
It obvious online reviews are important, however there are additional benefits most don’t think of. Online reviews can affect the way your site appears on the search rankings of major search engines. The more high quality reviews you have the higher your medical practice site may rank online. The higher your rankings for keywords related to your medical specialty the better.