Written by Stacey Shipman of Healthcents Inc. For assistance with your payer contracting or online marketing needs, contact Healthcents at 1-800-497-4970 or email@example.com.
One of the biggest marketing-related struggles anyone running a business has in 2016 is online reviews, especially in healthcare. Until relatively recently, healthcare providers weren’t commonly reviewed on sites such as yelp.com, Facebook, or doctor review websites. Many providers and healthcare companies don’t even know they have been reviewed by patients / customers, or many don’t take notice until they receive a few negative reviews. We are frequently asked how to respond to comments, or how to remove comments from a disgruntled patient.
First, we highly recommend that all practices claim their business pages on the various websites that allow review posting. Facebook, Google+, Yelp, ZocDoc, HealthGrades, Vitals, and RateMDs, are just a few to mention. By claiming these pages for your practice or company, you can ensure that the information on your business page is correct, and it will be easier to monitor reviews posted in the future.
In general, people will only bother to take the time to post a review of a product or service if their experience was amazing, or terrible. Unremarkable service typically doesn’t get reviewed, however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. We live in a world now where reviews can make or break a business or product, and handling your responses in the right way can really make a big difference. Any reputable review site will not allow businesses to pick and choose the reviews that appear, otherwise the whole process would be a waste of everyone’s time, but there are some important things you can do to stay on top of your practice’s or company’s online reputation.
- Respond to the positive reviews. Thank people who took the time to write a glowing review of your practice, and if the reviewer mentions a specific person, be sure to pass that on to the doctor, nurse or other employee who went the extra mile for their patient so they have a nice reminder that they made a difference to someone!
- Be polite. Everything on the internet is public, and permanent. Keep interactions polite, supportive, and friendly.
- Respond in a timely manner. Responding to a review- positive OR negative- 6 months after the fact just shows that you don’t care enough to check very often. Check review sites often, and/or set up reminders to do so. For some sites, by simply claiming the business page, you can set up alerts to email you when someone posts a review.
- Respond to negative reviews publicly with a simple, clear, response that still shows gratitude that someone took their valuable time to review your practice. “We appreciate the time that you took to review our practice, and would love the opportunity to make you a satisfied patient again, please contact Jane Doe and we will try to work it out,” is clear, simple, and does not encourage further argument. Sometimes you can’t make everyone happy, but at least keeping it simple and clear, and encouraging interaction off the site shows you care and are willing to make it work, if possible.
- Encourage patients to post reviews on the various sites, especially if you know they had a great experience. The best way to deal with negative reviews is to drown them out with positive reviews.
- Get into an argument. You can’t always please everyone, but engaging in a mud-slinging contest with someone is never going to be good for your practice. Keep it professional, and positive.
- Use a stock response for everyone. Be creative, don’t use the same response for everyone.
- Don’t include personal details. You’re a medical practice, you have to obey HIPPA laws.
When dealing with online reviews, it’s best to keep things polite, professional, and personalized. Remember that you can’t always please everyone, but do your best to thank EVERYONE for the time they took to review your practice, even if they had a bad experience. People who read reviews before visiting a practice or business are smart, one or two negative reviews will not cast a shadow over a dozen great reviews, especially if the interactions you have with the reviewers stays professional and positive.
For more information and assistance with your payer contracting or online marketing needs, contact Healthcents at 1-800-497-4970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.