More and more patients are looking online for where they should get their healthcare. They find doctors on sites such as Solv, Yelp, Google, and ZocDoc, where they see reviews from other patients about their experiences.
Keeping your medical clinic’s online reputation up is thus paramount to maintaining a healthy stream of new patients coming to your practice. Sooner or later, though, everyone eventually gets a bad review. What can a smart urgent care clinic do about it?
Here are some tips on how to handle negative reviews:
1. Do NOT Discourage Patient Reviews
Historically, doctors have been hesitant about patient reviews. In fact, not long ago, a company called Medical Justice helped doctors block reviews by their patients. Medical Justice would provide contracts in which patients would sign away their rights to review their doctor.
This turned out to be a bad idea for several reasons. For one, what Medical Justice was doing may have been illegal. There have been government and court actions that have discouraged the suppression of patient reviews.
The other reason is that most patient reviews are actually positive! 3 out of 4 reviews rate doctors positively. This means that doctors should be encouragingpatient reviews, not suppressing them. A few negative reviews here and there may be inevitable, but by garnering a large body of reviews, the positive reviews will serve to balance out (or even wash out) the negative ones.
2. Learn from Negative Reviews
If it does turn out that your clinic is getting consistent negative reviews, you may be getting valuable advice about what you need to fix in the patient experience at your clinic. Getting a lot of complaints about wait time? Maybe it’s time to make your operations more efficient or upgrade the amenities in your waiting room.
Patients are sometimes too afraid to speak up directly, so an online review is sometimes the best source of honest feedback a clinic can rely on. Remember, feedback is a gift!
3. Respond Privately
If your clinic encounters an extremely disgruntled patient, it may be worth trying to reach out to the patient privately if possible. A sincere, sympathetic outreach can sometimes turn your most bitter critic into your clinic’s most loyal fan.
4. Respond Publicly Only If Necessary
Sometimes, a clinic doesn’t even need to do anything to respond to a negative review. Happy patients may rush to the clinic’s defense and independently respond to refute a negative review.
If a clinic receives negative feedback that is true and fair, it may be worthwhile to publicly apologize and explain how the clinic is going to prevent the problem from recurring in the future. This has the added benefit of showing the compassion and concern of a clinic in a public way. The downside is that publicly responding to a negative review give the review more visibility, so silence might still be the rational approach.
Solv clinics get 3x the number of 5 star reviews and typically increase their rating by a full star. Want to learn more? Calculate your rating with Solv hereand reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more