Online reviews have become an important part of the patient journey. The number of reviews has increased 50 percent year-over-year since 2012, and 84 percent of consumers check reviews before choosing physicians. Online feedback has created a new way for providers to connect with their patients and attract new ones. But what happens when a review is negative?
Believe it or not, negative reviews play an important role in the decision-making process. Of course, nobody wants a bad review, but there are ways providers can respond to showcase their commitment and build patient loyalty.
First, share online reviews with staff.
All online reviews are learning opportunities. You can use patient feedback to learn how you can better meet the expectations of your patients. Positive reviews can be used to congratulate staff and reinforce good habits, while negative reviews can be reviewed to improve patient care.
Always respond to negative reviews.
Responding to negative reviews in a positive and timely manner goes a long way to showing consumers your commitment to care. You could win back a disgruntled patient while showing future patients why they should choose you. Pencil in some time each week to log in to your online profile and check for new reviews, so your responses are prompt.
Respond promptly, but not impulsively. Reading a negative review can be tough, but it’s always good to think out what you’ll say. When you’re ready, try to sound as professional and cordial as possible. The goal is to create a positive experience with the reviewer.
Be appreciative, show that you’re listening, and apologize.
If you’re having writer’s block, start your response by thanking the reviewer for sharing their thoughts. Then, make specific reference to the review to show that you’re listening, and apologize that the reviewer’s expectations weren’t met. Figure out how you can prevent the experience from occurring for other patients.
Highlight your strengths and welcome them back.
It’s good to work in some comments about your philosophy of care when responding to negative reviews. This further shows the reviewer that you’re mindful of them, and it shows onlookers how you like to run your practice. Even more, you can welcome the reviewer to return, so you can win their favor.
Offer to talk offline.
Sometimes, the conversation should be moved offline. At the end of your response, put your contact information and tell the reviewer that they’re welcome to discuss the issue further if needed.
We all find ourselves dealing with unhappy customers sometimes, but those who know how to respond will turn a challenge into an opportunity. It’s all part of building great rapport and providing excellent service.