The internet is a powerful tool that empowers businesses and consumers alike. Businesses have the opportunity to hear what customers are saying about them, understand what competitors are doing, and leverage the online networks of their customers to earn new customers. Consumers, on the other hand, have the opportunity to honestly share about their experiences with a business, spread the word through their social networks, and choose who to do business with based off of the reviews they read online.
As a dental or medical practice, it’s crucial you keep your online reputation squeaky clean. The best way to do this is by meeting the needs of your patients, giving them incredible service, and responding to their questions. Inevitably, however, even the best practice will have a patient that just can’t be made happy, no matter what you do.
Reputation management is the best way to ensure any negative reviews are pushed as far down as possible. But how do you go about handling your online reputation in an effective and quick manner?
Online reviews can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The important thing about online reviews is to have a process of requesting them from happy patients and responding to negative and positive reviews that are posted. Your business should have a clear reputation management plan that is regularly reviewed, evaluated, and implemented.
The first part of creating this reputation management plan is to create a system of asking patients for reviews. This might include sending follow up emails with direct links to Facebook or Google. Another option is to train your receptionist to encourage patients to post reviews while they’re checking a patient out. Learn more about the importance of online reviews in this article.
Once you begin to get reviews, it’s crucial that you read them – the good and the bad – and respond to them. Your strategy for responding to reviews should include a timely response period (within 24 hours of the review being posted, then more promptly if a conversation is started). Additionally, you should be honest and transparent in all of your responses. If a patient is correct in their post that you failed, then acknowledge that and offer a solution.
Build Your Search Engine Ranking
One of the best ways to push negative reviews down is by improving your ranking on search engines like Bing and Google. The higher your website and social profiles rank on search engines, the more likely it is that other websites that host online reviews will be pushed down.
A top listing on a search engine plays a large part in building trust with patients, which is a central theme around the entire online review process. Without trust between patients and their peers, patients and online review websites, and eventually patients and your business, online reviews mean nothing. Read about how search engine optimization influences your overall online presence.
Focus on 5 Star Reviews
5-star reviews are like virtual gold. They indicate to both search engines and visitors that your practice is one that is both valuable and trustworthy. The more Google trusts your business the more likely they are to rank you for the keywords that make sense for your medical or dental practice.
In addition to getting search engines to trust you, 5-star reviews also create an almost immediate trust between you and future patients. This is because online reviews are strictly managed and are posted by people that potential patients view as peers. As a result, they tend to believe whatever is written about your business.
Fix the Situation
In the event that you get a negative review, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. Offer a fix by responding through the review portal. And make sure the language you use is sincere and the offer is something you can follow up on and that the customer would appreciate.
Once the situation has been fixed, tactfully ask the reviewer if they would be willing to modify their review. This empowers them to make the decision and allows you to plant the seed in their mind that tells them they are able to actually make this choice.
Force Them to Remove Reviews
Getting reviews removed takes time and patience, but is well worth the effort in the long run. Remember, however, that forcing people to remove reviews is only possible in rare circumstances. A well-executed reputation management plan is the best way to preserve your practice’s online reputation and make the most of the internet’s ability to promote your business.