10 Best Ways to De-Risk Your Google Reviews at Your Medical Practice
In today’s world, your online reputation is key to developing trust with potential and current patients. When it comes to medical practices, Google reviews are especially important as they help build credibility, attract new patients, and improve the overall patient experience. With this in mind, it is essential that you have a strategy in place to protect and maintain your Google reviews. Here are 10 of the best ways to de-risk your Google reviews at your medical practice, ensuring that you and your practice remain in good standing with your patients.
Know What’s Being Said
Google displays all of your reviews, both positive and negative, on the Google Maps listing for your business. There is no way to remove the negative reviews from the listing. However, Google does allow you to moderate the reviews. This is a crucial step in the process. If you don’t moderate the reviews, you will essentially be digging the hole deeper. Knowing what is being said will allow you to respond accordingly, either thanking the patients for the positive reviews or asking the patients that left negative reviews for clarification. This will help to mitigate a lot of the damage that negative reviews could cause. Additionally, if you see a lot of positive reviews posted in a short amount of time, you may want to investigate those reviews to see if they are legitimate. This is especially the case if the reviews are all extremely positive, as they may be posted by staff (or friends of staff). If this is the case, the reviews could be deleted by Google as they violate their terms of service.
Build a Positive Reputation
Google reviews are a critical part of building your practice’s reputation. However, it’s important to realize that you cannot control what your patients write about you. While you can ask your patients for reviews and encourage them to leave feedback, it is against Google’s terms of service to offer any type of incentive for reviews. This means that you can’t offer discounts for reviews, respond to patients with a “leave a review for 10% off” request, or offer any type of reward for reviews. However, it’s important to remember that you can only ask for reviews, not demand them. If you do this, you run the risk of patients feeling uncomfortable and/or pressured to leave a positive review. Instead of focusing on getting specific reviews, focus on building a positive reputation within the online community. This will allow you to maintain a positive reputation even if patients choose not to leave a review.
Monitor Reviews Regularly
Google allows you to moderate reviews. This means that you can delete or flag reviews that you feel are inappropriate or don’t follow Google’s terms of service. While you should always monitor your reviews, doing so on a regular basis is critical as it allows you to respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. This is especially important if you have received a negative review. You should respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible, either thanking the patient for their feedback or asking for clarification as to why they feel the way they do. Doing this will help to de-escalate the situation, as well as keep the review from being flagged by Google.
Respond to Reviews
While responding to negative reviews is critical, it’s also important to respond to positive reviews. Doing so not only helps to build a positive reputation, but it also encourages other patients to leave reviews. This is especially true if you respond to positive reviews using language like “thank you” or “we appreciate your business.” Doing so will encourage patients to leave reviews, and if they are positive reviews, they will help to bolster your reputation even more.
Create a Review Request Strategy
Before you start asking patients for reviews, you should create a strategy. First, you should determine which review websites you want to use. While Google is the most important review site, you should also consider sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and Facebook. You should also determine when you will ask for reviews. While asking for reviews at the end of appointments is ideal, you should ask for reviews at the end of appointments and at check-out as well. You should also determine how often you will ask for reviews. While once per month is ideal, twice per month is better. Finally, you should decide what you will say when asking for reviews. Be genuine and sincere in your request.
As mentioned above, responding to negative reviews as quickly as possible is critical for protecting your business’s reputation. However, it is important to respond to positive reviews just as quickly. Doing so will encourage your patients to leave even more reviews and will reinforce the confidence they have in your practice, which will help to build long-lasting relationships with your patients.
Keep an Eye on Competitors’ Reviews
Keep an eye on your competitors’ reviews. While it is important to protect your own reputation, you can also use this information to help you de-risk your Google reviews even more. If one of your competitors has received a negative review, you can “reply” to that review and offer assistance. Additionally, if you see a competitor with a lot of positive reviews, you can use this information to your advantage. If you don’t have a lot of reviews yet, you should ask your patients if they would be willing to leave a review for your practice. You can use the positive reviews of your competitor as leverage and let patients know that they can help you by leaving a review.
Offer Incentives for Positive Reviews
While offering incentives for positive reviews is against Google’s terms of service, it is also against Yelp and Healthgrades’ terms of service. That doesn’t mean you should completely ignore these sites, though. Instead, focus on building a positive reputation on these sites. Focus on providing excellent service and you will naturally receive positive reviews. You can also ask patients to leave reviews on these sites, just not with an incentive.
Ask Your Patients for Reviews
Asking your patients for reviews is one of the best ways to de-risk your Google reviews. However, you should always do so in person. You don’t want to come off as greedy or desperate. Instead, ask your patients for reviews at the end of appointments and at check-out. You can also place a small sign in your waiting room asking patients to leave reviews on the sites that are most important to you.
Make it Easy for Patients to Leave Reviews
While you should always be asking patients to leave reviews, you can also make it easier for them to do so. This can be as simple as posting a sign in your waiting room with the appropriate links or encouraging patients to leave reviews on your social media pages. Finally, you should also make it easy for patients to leave you 5-star reviews on Google. If you have a Google My Business listing, you can add a button or link on your profile to make it easy for patients to leave reviews.