Online reviews and “reputation management” are major components of modern digital marketing, and for good reason. A recent local consumer review survey stated that 92% of consumers read online reviews, meaning more consumers than ever are willing to do their research before choosing a product or service. So, needless to say, online reviews affect all businesses, and physical therapy clinics aren’t off the hook.
Today’s PT consumers first look for solutions to their problems, often online. More often than not, this leads to research on who to see for the best solution. That’s why you want positive online reviews for your clinic which make you the recommended choice of consumers. But what happens when you get a negative review – fair or not? Do you respond? Ignore it? Work harder to drown dissent with more positive reviews?
Here are a few best practices that may help along the way:
Responding to Online Reviews
Online engagement is always important, and this holds true with clinic reviews. It’s strongly recommended that, good and bad, your clinic respond to online reviews. Responding to reviews shows a level of professionalism and can encourage others to join into the conversation. How you respond, however, can depend on how you perceive each review – positive or negative.
Why Respond to a Positive Review?
It’s just the right thing to do. If a patient gave you a compliment, wouldn’t you at least respond with a simple “thank you”? Plus, when you are thankful in an online review reply, others will get a better sense of your professionalism and customer service.
It helps SEO. With a proper response, you enhance the probability of it showing up in organic search results.
Further the dialogue with a happy patient. Keeping the patient engaged will help keep their business and continue using your clinic in the future. Further conversation can also provide you with some valuable feedback about your clinic and services.
Everyone is watching. This is the most important. You must expect that there will be many others who will read your responses. Therefore, you are not just responding to the individual who left you a review, but you are also showing others how you reply. Keeping a professional and insightful response will surely impress readers. Additionally, adding a little bit of marketing like “we provide ‘X’ services” may influence readers to visit your clinic.
A negative review is NOT the end of the world. Following a bad review, you can always attempt to reverse the opinion of the person with the poor experience by trying to make things right. Plus, you can show other readers how truly important a client’s experience is to you. Rather than parting on unhappy terms, this is your chance to show how your clinic will take appropriate steps to right a perceived wrong. Basically, the worst thing you can do is ignore a bad review. This will not improve an individual’s opinion, nor will it look good online to other readers.
Handling a Negative Review?
First, attempt to resolve the issue. Calling the patient directly should always be your first step. If you listen and try to be helpful, then you are likely to rectify the complaint. If successful, then you can politely ask them to update their bad review.
Respond. If the patient refuses to remove the negative review, then you must reply. Your ego will need to take a back seat, and you must apologize no matter what. Remember that everyone is watching, so stay professional and be strategic in your response. Explaining that this is a very rare circumstance and that your clinic is known to provide exceptional service is a good opportunity to leave a positive impression with other readers … and the world.
Get more positive reviews. By gaining 4- and 5-star reviews will eventually drown a negative review further down the list, making it less visible.
With just a few of these helpful tips, you will feel more confident managing and responding to online reviews as you come across them.