Consumers are more educated today than they were 10 years ago. They research online for solutions to their problems and rely heavily on the opinions of their friends and family. And when they need more information, they turn to the opinions and experiences of those on the internet—in the reviews.
Online reviews can be a true asset to your organization. When website visitors read your patient testimonials on the amazing experiences they had with your facility, it compels them to learn more or even take steps to become a patient themselves. But no matter how perfect your organization may be, there will always be patients that are not completely satisfied and will loudly voice their opinion on the internet for all potential patients to see.
So how do you handle the inevitability of negative online reviews? Is there a way to put a positive spin on negative reviews? The way you handle negative online reviews can really speak to the culture of your organization. Show patients that you care about their experience and are willing to help correct any problems they may have.
Here are some tips on how to handle negative online reviews:
Contact the review site
The review site usually won't take the negative review down, but they can help you address the comments and will remove any posts a competitor may have added if you can prove it was a competitor.
Join the conversation
Develop a standard response to address and acknowledge all negative reviews. You can also create a similar response to acknowledge the positive reviews you receive as well. It speaks to your company culture when you show you value your patients’ opinions, whether they are positive or negative.
Draw attention to the positive reviews
You can do this by pulling positive reviews and highlighting them on your personal website with a link to the review website they came from.
Encourage positive reviews by making it easy for patients to leave a review by providing them with one link to access all of the review sites your organization is on. Provide them with an incentive to leave their first review, such as a free gift or small discount on future services.
Have a strategy to handle threats
There are those patients who won't be happy no matter what you do, and they'll threaten to leave bad reviews unless you give into their demands.
Unfortunately, sometimes giving them a discount or providing them with a free service is the easiest way to make the problem go away. No matter what you decide to do, always have a clear strategy and handle the threats in a mature, positive manner.
Get comfortable with online review sites
Familiarize yourself with each site your patients use. Check them frequently, and develop another method for receiving reviews so you aren't just relying on these websites for results.
In today’s digital world, negative online reviews are inevitable, but how you handle them is what can really effect a patient’s perception of your organization. Allow your healthcare company culture to show through your response to negative reviews so consumers know you are there to listen and resolve the issues. This will help shape your organization and turn a negative into a positive.