Online patient reviews are becoming increasingly popular, and it is important that your practice stays in the know about what is being said about you online. While a few negative reviews may not completely ruin the reputation of your practice, you shouldn’t just leave them alone either. These reviews can give you helpful insights into what is and what is not working for your practice. Knowing this information can help you improve patient satisfaction.
You can take a proactive approach or a reactive approach to your online reviews. In fact, there are instances where you may need to employ both approaches.
Being Proactive About Reviews
When you are proactive about your online reviews, you focus more on patient satisfaction and quality of care to try to prevent negative reviews before they happen and increase your chances of getting positive reviews. These are some of the things you can do to be more proactive about your online reviews:
- Engage more with your patients. Encourage two-way conversation with your patients. This will help you get to know your patients better, and it can help you gauge negative and positive feelings about the care they are receiving. This way, you can address any issues before they get to the point of a negative review online. Ultimately, engaging with your patients helps them become more involved in the decision-making process, which adds more value to the experience.
- Have a social media presence. Make sure your patients know where they can find you on social networks and encourage them to interact with you. If you are on Facebook, patients can even leave reviews for your practice there. Encourage patients to share their experiences with your practice there; Facebook is a great place to get a conversation going. Do make sure to respond to your patients, but don’t post any personal information about patients. That conversation is best kept offline.
- Check online review services like Vitals and Healthgrades. Outside of Facebook, there are plenty of online review services out there where patients can leave reviews about your practice. You don’t necessarily need to routinely check every single review site out there, but you should be paying attention to some of the most popular ones. Vitals, Healthgrades, and Yelp are some of the most popular sites that patients use to review medical practices, so they’re definitely worth checking regularly.
- Create a “response card” to encourage patients to post reviews. Your patients may be very happy with the care they are receiving, but they may not think to leave a review. On your response card, let patients know where they can leave online reviews for your practice, and hand them out at the end of appointments. That little reminder might result in a positive review for your practice.
Being Reactive About Reviews
So, you got a review online. Now what do you do? It’s time to be reactive and address it. Here are some ways to really be effective in managing your responses.
- Always respond to a review as soon as possible. In this case, being proactive really helps. If you are regularly checking your reviews anyway, you will know when you get a new one and can respond in a timely manner. You don’t want to respond to a review weeks after it was posted; it makes it obvious that you aren’t checking regularly.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews. You definitely want to respond to negative reviews to see what you can do to resolve the situation. You may not be able to make every patient happy or fix every situation, but responding to those reviews shows other patients that you care about what your patients think. You should also respond to positive reviews to let your patients know that you appreciate the fact that they took the time to leave a review. Either way, avoid posting any personal health information about the patient. Those matters are best discussed offline.
Online reviews can be a powerful tool for your practice to engage with patients and see what patients really think about the care they receive at your practice. You can’t prevent reviews from happening, so you should do what you can to address them.