Word of mouth has always been a big deal for businesses, especially within the healthcare industry, because consumers tend to trust others’ opinions. But the dawn of the internet has changed the game far beyond online advertising by allowing any unhappy customers to broadcast their beefs to the world. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important that you, as a business, know how to handle any negative reviews that come your way. It requires real caution and prevision, but the tips below can be a helpful start.
…Respond to every negative review. If a reader sees that one of your patients posted a negative review four months ago and you haven’t responded, it often sends the message that you either don’t care or are admitting to all the reviewer’s accusations. However, there are two exceptions to this – reviews that are more than one year old, and those which are very emotionally charged.
…Be highly cautious about revealing too much information, especially in the medical industry. Know HIPAA regulations thoroughly and always keep them in mind.
…Offer a next step. Don’t simply say, “Sorry about your bad experience.” Inviting them to contact you shows a genuine interest in resolving their problem.
…Keep an eye out for re-posts. Some review sites like Yelp will display reviews from places like Facebook or other social media (or a reviewer may post on multiple sites), but your response may not appear along with the reposted review, so watch for reposts and respond to them as well.
…Encourage happy customers to post positive reviews. This will boost your overall score on review sites and make negative comments hold less weight because readers will see that they’re the exception and will be able to get a better understanding of who you are.
…Criticize the reviewer or call them a liar. Stay calm, don’t take the review too personally, and use the opportunity to show your professionalism and conscientiousness.
…Assume you’re writing your response to the reviewer. They may never even see your response, but every potential patient who comes to the site will, so while you should address your comments to the reviewer, remember that you’re displaying a public message about your company.
…Use the same copy-and-pasted response for every bad review. Readers will notice this, and it damages your customer relationship management by portraying you as someone who wants to appear as if they care but who won’t even take the time to write one sincere paragraph.
Whether you’re a small local business or a large company, your reputation is an essential part of your continued and growing success. While these tips can get you started, you don’t need to go it alone, because we have decades of experience in reputation management. To discuss how we can help you put online reviews to good use, schedule a meeting with McCauley Marketing Services. Or, for more marketing tips, join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.