With 88% of consumers saying they trust online reviews it’s difficult not to worry about what your patients are saying about you on reviews sites like Yelp. Your star rating on these review sites are becoming the single indicator on whether or not you get new patients into your practice.
When you saw your reviews did you utter a short sharp cry (especially of pain or alarm)? That happens to be the definition of Yelp. Yelp was designed to live off of negative reviews. Their entire business model is based on the ability to charge business owners advertising rates for better exposure on the site.
In the “health provider” category as a whole the average star rating on Yelp is 4 stars. Is your practice below the average of 4 stars for all dentists nationwide on Yelp?1 If so, then it’s likely you have a decent amount of negative reviews on your Yelp profile.
So what do you do about them?
Responding to the patients who provide a positive or negative review can present a few challenges. Firstly, you can’t discuss their experience because any personal health information is protected through the HIPAA laws. Secondly, if you choose to respond to one patient (perhaps only the positive ones) then it looks bad if you’re not responding to the rest of them. Lastly, as far as negative reviews are concerned, the damage is done and the negative review is already there for potential new patients to see. Does it matter if you respond? Your only true option is to post a generic response asking the patient to contact you. But do you really want to talk to the patient? If you don’t follow-up with the patient there is a chance they will post another negative review about you not following up. It could be a never ending loop.
Be Open to Feedback
It is a good start to acknowledge the truth in the reviews. Yes, a patient may have had a bad attitude or may have been late for an appointment but doctors with a 1 star or 2 star rating typically have more than a handful of negative reviews. Going through negative reviews can be painful. The majority of negative reviews will be experience related such as wait times, dealing with the office staff, the attitude/bedside manner of the doctor, options for making an appointment and billing problems/errors.
Remember these are only a fraction of patients you are seeing at the practice. What would happen if you asked every patient for their feedback? Would you like what you saw?
We developed Patient Promoter to try to preempt these negative reviews and at the same time provide you with the valuable feedback you need to make your practice a 5-Star worthy practice.
See the Patient Promoter process below. Learn more about Patient Promoter and Schedule a Demo or Call 866-466-8663