Online reviews are word-of-mouth at today’s scale and speed. According to Software Advice, 71 percent of patients begin their search for a doctor by looking at online reviews. Similarly, PatientPop research shows that 73 percent consider positive reviews very or extremely important in their decision-making.
Although many healthcare providers and business owners understandably fear negative reviews, the good news is most patients have only good things to say. Of all patients who say they’ve posted an online review, only 34 percent say they’ve shared a negative experience.
But even one negative review can have big consequences, so it’s important to monitor your online reputation and address any issues right away.
Nearly all websites that feature reviews measure online reputation via a scale of one to five stars. The fewer total reviews your practice has, the higher risk of a few negative reviews — or even just one — bringing down your average star rating. That low rating can then hurt your patient acquisition efforts, as potential patients find your practice online.
Think of it this way: If you receive a couple 2-star reviews among 90 positive reviews, that negative feedback won’t do much damage to your rating. But, if those same 2-star reviews pop up when you have only six total reviews, your average star rating will take a severe hit.
That’s one key reason it’s important to have an online reputation management strategy that not only addresses negative reviews, but encourages patient feedback as a way of continually receiving online reviews.
Responding to negative patient reviews is crucial for both your patient retention and patient acquisition efforts. First and foremost, it offers an opportunity to rectify a situation with one of your patients. Because responses are shared publicly, it also gives you the chance to show prospective patients that you are responsive, and to share important information about your practice.
When it’s time to sit down and type up a response, here are our top strategies:
A stellar online reputation should be the goal for every healthcare practice. What better way to mitigate the potential damage of negative reviews than preventing them from occurring in the first place? Here are a few simple practice improvement tips that can help you avoid negative online reviews.
Many healthcare practices don’t do what’s best when it comes to addressing negative reviews. In a PatientPop survey, 58.5 percent of patients who shared critical feedback said they received no response from the practice or provider.
This means that practices with an effective online reputation strategy can differentiate themselves from other practices that don’t have a process in place to address negative reviews. In a competitive market, this is just one more way to set your practice apart from the practice, urgent care center, or retail clinic in the area. By addressing critical reviews head-on, your practice will be better positioned to both attract and retain your patients.
Instantly see how you compare to other practices in your local area and specialty.