The Impact of Online Reviews for Your Practice

The Impact of Online Reviews for Your Practice

Yes, Bad Online Reviews Will Hurt Your Business!

Step out of your business owner role for a moment and into the mind of a new patient. How would you react to the following online reviews? Which practice would you choose to visit?

Review #1

“I can’t say enough nice things about this [business]. The people are so kind and friendly. They got my [order or procedure] done right the first time. They answered all of my questions. They really treated me like they honestly cared about how I feel. I’m telling everyone to go there!”

Review #2

“OMG If you want the worst [service or results], go to this [business]. Not only is the place dirty, they also care more about discussing their weekend shenanigans than they do about helping their [customers or patients]. Even though my [order or results] were satisfactory, I would wholeheartedly never return. Even though their prices are cheaper! It’s THAT bad.”

These are just examples of possible positive and negative reviews that can be found online. In fact, we were being rather kind with the negative review – those can get quite nasty (and even inappropriate) if a patient has a bad experience with your business. If you find an inappropriate review about your business or practice, you can flag it and request that it be removed. However, this can be a long process and that review will probably stay out there for all to see for much longer than you want it to. It could take weeks until an actual human can verify that it is, indeed, inappropriate and take it down.

Think every single patient (or potential patient) interaction doesn’t count? Think again.

Some online reviews are made by people who aren’t even your customer or patient! In a recent examination of over 1,000 online reviews about breast augmentation in the U.S., researchers found that some of the reviews were written by people who had only consulted a plastic surgery practice but never actually had surgery. Instead, the reviews were written about how the person was treated by the staff during consultations, appointments or even on the phone.

Volume May Not Matter

What if you only have a few negative reviews about your business? That may not make a difference in the mind of your patients because in most cases there are plenty of other options from which to choose. Unless your business is so specialized that people have nowhere else to turn for their purchase, even just a few negative reviews may cause them to spend their money elsewhere.

  • According to a Lightspeed Research study, 67% of shoppers may avoid purchasing your product or service after reading just 1 to 3 bad online reviews.
  • It is also estimated that 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews to decide whether a company is worthy of their business. Millennials are especially trusting of online reviews (68% trust them).
  • It has also been reported that 1 negative review on a social media site can cost a medical practice 30 new patients.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Your best course of action is to continually monitor online activity about your business or practice. If you don’t have the staff-power to do this in house every day, consider hiring a reputation monitoring service to do it for you. Once a negative review has been identified, respond to it immediately. It may be advisable to have an objective third-party write the response for you. If you respond to a negative review with a heated message, you may escalate the situation. It is not uncommon for people who post bad reviews once to repost even worse reviews if they get a response from the business or practice that makes them angrier.

How Not to Respond to a Negative Review

Here is an example of a terrible way to respond to the negative review we mentioned earlier:

“Sorry you had a bad experience recently. The reason our floors weren’t clean that day is that our cleaning service didn’t care to show up this weekend. (Don ’t worry, we are firing them!) So, that really wasn’t our fault. As for our staff talking about their weekends, one of our staff members just got married so we were all talking about her reception. I’m sure you can imagine how fun that was! The bottom line is that we got your [results] done right, so isn’t that the most important thing? We hope you will change your review and come back again!”

This business takes absolutely no responsibility for the patient’s bad experience. Worse yet, they ask for the person to change their review! Put yourself in the receiving end of that business response. Would you really return or change your review after that response?

Reviews Don’t Discriminate by Industry

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in: if your business gets bad online reviews, they will affect your revenue. It may not happen overnight, but the ripple effect will eventually catch up with you. If your industry is highly competitive, review monitoring becomes even more important.

Our MSO Options

Most elective surgery practices need help managing online reviews. Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, has partnered with marketing companies that have the technical know-how and expertise to help your practice show patients you care about their feedback. By joining our Management Services Organization (MSO), you can gain access to these resources – and save money on their services – because of our partnerships. To learn more about the options available, contact us today.