5 Ways to Deal with Negative Online Reviews in Healthcare

June 29, 2017

6:30 pm

The internet has made it easier for patients and other healthcare consumers to search for the best healthcare services and products and most of their purchasing decisions are based on online reviews.

According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy, it was found that about 84 percent of consumers go through online product reviews and even they were found forwarding negative reviews to friends five times more than the positive one.

Negative reviews are a significant setback for any service oriented sector, healthcare business being no exception. Trust and quality are the two pillars of this industry. Hence, circulation of negative reviews about your healthcare products, services, and medical practice is enough to hamper the hard earned loyalty of your customers.

Making the job easier for you, here are five valuable points that can help you in handling negative reviews in a positive way like a pro.

Play Safe

Reviews in the healthcare sector are not only about concerns related to medical advice. In fact, patients are found expressing negative opinions on other issues more such as billing practices, operating hours or bedside manners, etc. Everyone has their right to express, and you cannot deny them this right. What you can do from your side is try to solve those issues, and for that, doctors need to respond to their negative reviews with sincerity.

Being apologetic to an annoyed or unhappy customer is a good way to prevent the upsurge of negativity from rising further. Simple words like ‘”Please contact our customer care to help you with your concern” can make them feel that their opinions matter.

Read about health tech startups emerging around the country at TechCo

Keep Your Words in Control

If patients are writing negative reviews on your hospital or care center, then you have to be apologetic for the inconvenience. But, in doing so, don’t explain too much otherwise, the matter may get escalate unnecessarily.

Restrict your apology or explanation to only a few words. Lengthy responses could make the reviewer feel that he is being targeted in public and this might lead to more negative comments from the same person, causing unnecessary mudslinging. Keep it short and simple.

Use Negative Comments to Tweak Your Service

In the healthcare business, patients feedbacks act as an eye opener for doctors as they get an idea of where they are going right, what they are doing wrong and how can they better their services. Similarly, consumer reviews give sellers of healthcare products and services the opportunity to correct and improve their offerings. Take those comments as valuable insights and learn from them to modify your services, work on your weak points and focus on being the best in your field. Develop strategies to not only minimize the immediate damage caused by the negative reviews but also prevent it from occurring in future.

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Give the Responsibility to a Professional

Being an owner of a healthcare business is not a joke. You have to look after a hell lot of things. So, keep the task of responding to such reviews to a social media manager who is trained and capable of dealing with public opinions. Together, you both can sit and sort out a marketing strategy that can help your business in turning annoyed customers into loyal ones.

Also, you can ask her/him to build a positive picture of your brand on social media through constant interaction with consumers, publishing informative healthcare content and addressing their issues in time. Such balancing acts will serve as a cover against negative projections established through poor reviews.

If there’s a concern about what to say online, talk with a public relations or legal professional before responding.

Ignoring is Not Your Option

If you think that by just ignoring negative reviews, you can get rid of its impact on your healthcare business, then you are absolutely in the wrong set of mind. The more their opinions will be ignored, the more annoyed reviewers will become and flood public forums with waves of comments projecting your brand in a negative way. Hence, adding fire to their fury is what you must avoid. Face it with dignity and answer it with smartness without making them more furious.

On a concluding note, it won’t be wrong to say that rather than being cold towards negative responses, it’s high time that you work on them, be receptive and responsive at the same time. Also, don’t forget to thank those who are supporting you with positive reviews. A well-planned strategy is what you need to fight back fake online reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, or HealthGrades.

Read more about growing a startup in health tech at TechCo

*Use caution when responding to any patient online and make sure your team is being HIPAA compliant, and discuss any concerns with a public relations or legal professional.

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Sudheer Kiran is a digital marketing consultant & co-founder of the digital marketing agency DigitalVow that offers digital marketing services to small and medium-sized enterprises. He is passionate on covering topics like marketing, startups and entrepreneurship

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