How to Combat Negative Online Reviews
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- 1. The ProSites Advantage A complete website solution that makes it easy and affordable for you to grow your practice. Attract New Patients Get Found Online Educate and Engage Patients Increase Demand for Services Get a Free, No-Obligation Trial!
2. Introduction A reported 72%of people refer to and trust online reviews as a form of personal recommendation; and, if your online recommendations arent glowing, you may be in trouble. While there isnt a magic fix-all to make you immune to negative publicity, ignoring online rants could eventually impact your reputation, potentially limiting your pool of prospective patients. 3. What is Local Search Marketing? Local search marketing: The online marketing strategy that incorporates your geographical location along with the services you offer. The goal of local search marketing is to improve your search ranking when prospective patients search for your services along with a geolocator. For example: New York + Plastic Surgeon = New York Plastic Surgeon geolocator your services local search query Online reviews greatly impact your reputation and local search marketing efforts. Whether youve hired a pro to market your practice, or youre doing it solo, knowing how to prevent and respond to negative reviews can help your practice maintain a strong, positive online reputation. 4. Where do I Start? Your patients may already be discussing your services online. Thats right; with hundreds of online reviews sites, patients have numerous outlets to share their experiences. So, what are patients saying about your practice? Find out by scanning these popular review sites: If you have not already claimed and verified your business listings on each of these review sites, doing so is critical. Verifying ownership will allow you to edit, respond to, and possibly remove negative reviews. Yelp www.biz.yelp.com Create your free account to manage your listing. City Search www.citysearch.com Input your practice name and city into the top search bars. Angies List www.business.angieslist.com You must first register your business to search for any existing reviews. Google+ plus.google.com/local You must be logged into your Google+ account to search for your practice. 5. Preventing Negative Online Reviews There are a number of ways you can prevent your patients frustrations from ever reaching a public forum. Taking proactive measures can help you avoid negative publicity and can improve your patients satisfaction. Prevention efforts start in your practice with each patients visit. Beginning with excellent customer service and ending with genuine concern for the patients well-being can help you avoid a tarnished image online. 6. If you notice that a patient is frustrated during or after their visit, inquire about their dissatisfaction so that you may right the wrong before they leave your office. Having a service-oriented approach makes disgruntled patients more willing to forgive and forget. Prevention Strategies 1 7. Prevention Strategies Set up open communication, and be the first point of contact. Building rapport with your patients enables them to feel more comfortable expressing their concerns, so you and your staff can remedy the issue immediately. 2 8. Follow-up with your patients after their visit by sending them a short online survey or giving them a quick phone call to ensure their experience was pleasant. Promptly following-up within a day allows them to express any frustrations before turning to avenues online. Prevention Strategies 3 9. Make a feedback form readily available in office or on your website. This way, you can be the buffer between online forums and patient frustrations. Making it easy for your patients to provide direct feedback will allow you to fix a potential problem and avoid negative publicity. Prevention Strategies 4 10. Prevention Strategies Be active on social networks. Studies show that when you regularly post updates on your social profiles, patients are less likely to leave negative comments online. Because most people fear confrontation, patients are less likely to post negative feedback when they believe youll respond. 5 11. Monitoring Online Reviews How do you know when negative reviews are posted about your practice? And where do you find out? Easy. Start by signing up for alerts that can help you monitor what others are saying about your practice on various social channels. Free services such as HootSuite and Google Alerts allow you to monitor searches and social mentions that include your name and/or your practice name. 12. HootSuite features: Gives you the ability to monitor mentions, messages, and tags across 5 different social networks for free. Allows you to schedule posts and have them automatically upload on your networks at a future date and time. Updates you in real time as other users comment on or reference your practice on social networking sites. 13. Google Alerts features: Notifies you every time a user searches for any term you flag, such as your name, practice name, or services. You can specify the frequency of these updates, as well as the types of search results users are looking for (e.g. news updates, general search, blog posts, etc.). You will also need to input the email address you would like Google Alerts sent to. 14. What If I Have Negative Online Reviews? Dont panic! While one or two negative reviews may seem like the end of the world, there are ways to recover. 15. Responding to Negative Reviews When you notice the negative review, first respond in a private manner. Whether you call the patient who posted it or send them an email, get to the root of the problem without a public quarrel. In most cases, when the matter is resolved, patients are extremely likely to edit their review, mentioning your effort to make it right. If you determine that you cannot respond to the review in a private manner, offer a brief public apology on the review site and offer to remedy the issue. Whether or not the patient responds isnt as important as you showing other prospects that you genuinely care about your patients opinions. 1 16. Check the review sites terms and conditions. Each site has their own stipulations regarding the removal of reviews. Some allow you to Flag [the review] as Inappropriate and provide a brief explanation about why the review should be removed. A few viable reasons include: fraudulent reviews, use of profanity, and blatant mistellings of what actually happened. Responding to Negative Reviews 2 17. In most cases, review sites will only allow you to respond or edit the review. Very few will delete it; however, you can decrease the impact of a negative review by acquiring new, positive reviews. As you gain these new reviews, the older, negative ones will be forced further down your profile, making them less visible and less impactful. Responding to Negative Reviews 3 18. Along with acquiring positive reviews, you can also increase your amount of online channels, to help shine a positive light on your practice. What this essentially means is the more online activity your practice has, the more opportunity you have to quiet your online reviews. Constructive online activity will attract positive attention from search engines, helping your most recent activities appear higher in search results than your older, negative review(s). Some online channels you can utilize include: Starting a Facebook page or Twitter account and posting regularly. Participating in a community activity and publishing an online press release about your involvement. Starting a practice blog and consistently writing relevant articles. Responding to Negative Reviews 4 19. When to Immediately Respond to a Bad Review Generally, its best to solve a customers online rant in a private manner, but there are circumstances where a prompt response is warranted. Keep in mind; it is important to remain calm and respectful when responding to an online review, as your response will forever be associated with your practice. 20. If a patient is misstating facts Politely negate their outlandish claims and offer a solution to their issue. Youre experiencing the me toos If numerous reviews are reporting the same problem with your services, address it ASAP. If a number of patients have the same issue, believability increases, and you dont want these complaints to tarnish your image. In your response, communicate the changes your practice is implementing to prevent issues in the future. Doing so demonstrates that you are listening and responding to patient- feedback to improve their satisfaction. The offensive nature of the review is transparent If those not affected by your practices success (patients, friends, etc.) consider the review insulting, a (polite!) response is definitely justified. Situations that Necessitate Immediate Response: 21. Conclusion Aside from remaining cool, calm, and collected when you discover criticism of your services, remember there is always a take-away. When you come across a legitimate review of your practice that highlights a weakness, view it as an opportunity to improve. If a patient mentions a negative experience with the attitude of your office staff, get it under wraps. Or, if patients say youre too forceful in trying to upsell your services, present the upsell more subtly. You can learn from every review to prevent problems from perpetuating in the future. 22. When managing your online reputation, its important to remember that no one is perfect, and its okay to have a bad day. Just understand that one bad day could lead to a bad reputation, so it is important to monitor your online reputation to maintain its excellence. 23. Marketing Your Practice Online Endorsed by 12 elite associations nationwide, we have helped over 6,500 doctors attract new patients through professional website design and Internet marketing