For many medical practice owners, the idea of wading out into the ocean of patient online reviews to read what people are saying about their business is terrifying. Negative medical practice reviews can definitely sting, and people tend to be more brutal online than they are in person. Many doctors avoid reading online review for another reason: they don’t realize the impact it can have on their practice.
Online patient reviews can help you attract patients and grow your practice, so it's important to regularly monitor them and encourage your patients to contribute positive reviews.
Why Online Patient Reviews are Important for Your Practice
Consumers are relying more and more on online reviews to determine where to get care and where to spend their money. Positive reviews are a great way to make your business stand out. According to the 2014 BrightLocal Survey, 92 percent of consumers read online reviews when making decisions on medical care or consumer purchases. And 70 percent of consumers trust businesses more as a results of positive doctor reviews.
Positive online reviews build the reputation of your practice, solidify credibility in your services, create positive word-of-mouth marketing, and provide you with valuable insight on how to improve your practice. Your online reputation can be built or demolished based on what your patients say on review sites. Online reviews are an opportunity for your clients to speak to you, so monitoring and responding to those complaints is essential.
How to Read Your Medical Practice Reviews
Keep an open mind, sit down, and start reading to get a sense of the general tone of your reviews. Typically the reviews can be categorized into three main areas.
- Good Reviews. Positive reviews verify that your practice is meeting the needs of your patients. For researchers, these stand out as a green light for making contact with you.
- Lukewarm Reviews. Too many lukewarm reviews indicates that something in your practice is off. It’s easy to ignore these reviews, but don’t. Take the time to determine where the problem might be – customer service, quality assurance, waiting times – and make the necessary corrections.
- Poor Reviews. Negatives reviews indicate a serious problem. When your customers think there is something wrong with your practice, there probably is. Determine the source of the problems and make changes to correct the problem before your online reputation becomes the death of your practice.
Negative feedback is inevitable. There will always be a staff member who has a bad day, a sudden emergency that extends wait times, or a miscommunication that results in an irritated patient. Make every effort to correct the problem, provide assurances for future visits, and be honest in an apology.
How to Improve Your Doctor Ratings
The best way to improve your online presence is to establish ongoing positive reviews. Start by updating your information on the review sites.
- Ensure your business information is up to date and accurate, including phone numbers and websites. The easier it is for your patient to reach you, the better.
- Promote a positive image of your practice on the review site. According to Yelp, a business that had 1-5 reviews and 10 photos will receive up to 200% more views than a business with the same reviews and no photos.
- Don’t ever purchase or create fake reviews. Your patients are likely to see through the ruse, and you’ll never be able to regain their trust.
- Ask your customers to review you online and suggest specific sites. Engage early and often with the feedback you receive. Thank your patients for their positive feedback, and provide answers and responses to lukewarm or poor reviews.
- When dealing with a negative response, offer to correct the problem and recommend moving the conversation offline. This will allow the public to see that you are willing to deal with concerns, while allowing you to handle the issues privately. And never, ever lose your cool with a patient online, no matter what.
Online reviews are a way for businesses to get customer feedback and improve on their services. Check feedback regularly and deal with any issues as quickly as possible, and you’ll be able to monitor the online health of your practice effectively.