How to manage and interpret online reviews
By Anthony Lombardi
Your clinic washroom is dirty, there is accumulated dust under your treatment table, your receptionist is short with a patient on the phone, your trashcan is overflowing, or even worse – you do not give your best effort during a treatment. All of the above things can be documented in an online review with a smartphone.
This is why, in addition to everything online reviews can do for our business, they are also great motivators to keep us at the top of our game.
Reviews are a snapshot of how your practice runs and a glimpse into what the patient experience is like. Google, Facebook, Yelp, and RateMD’s are the most popular platforms for patients to post online reviews. In general, the more reviews you have, the more credible your business is and the more likely that patients will believe the crux of what is being said.
Review expert Khalid Saleh, says that 56 per cent of people will read two to six online reviews before making a consumer choice. Ninety per cent of people consult online reviews before making a purchase and 88 per cent trust online reviews as much as receiving a recommendation from a trusted friend.
However, the most trusted review platforms are the ones that force you to invest your identity behind the comments of your experience. Although unethical individuals can make fake identities, fake reviews can be easily spotted. Google and Facebook are the most popular and the most trusted because they routinely show up on internet searches. Platforms that do not force you to attach your identity are more likely to have reviews that are not reflective or genuine to the goods and services of that business.
How to spot fake reviews:
- The reviewer’s name does not match with your patient roster
- When you click on their profile they have not made any other business reviews
- The reviewer does not mention anything specific about the doctor or the clinic.
If you suspect a fake review, report it to the moderator of the platform and respond to the review politely by pointing out they may have reviewed your clinic in error since they have never been to your clinic. If it persists, call the police and file a report. In addition, there are agencies dedicated to finding the people behind the reviews, which in some cases have resulted in criminal prosecution.
When you receive a negative review, here’s what you should do:
- Respond promptly and be respectful
- Admit your mistakes
- Correct inaccuracies
- Highlight your strengths
- Write in words everyone can understand
- Provide compensation if it’s applicable.
If you do a Google search you will come across lots of chiropractors and dentists who have over 300 patient reviews and a five-star rating. Sometimes this can trigger a caution flag just as readily as a fake negative review. This is because objective readers who come across such perfect reviews also know two things: Nobody is perfect, and you can’t please everyone. So if you are trying to tell online users that out of 300 reviews you are both perfect and can please everyone – you could scare them away. Clearly, I’m not suggesting you look to produce less than stellar reviews, just know that they will happen over the natural course of your career. And, having 95 patient reviews with a 4.7 rating is often more credible and easier to believe than a business with 300 five star reviews.
ANTHONY LOMBARDI, DC, is a private consultant to athletes in the NFL, CFL and NHL, and founder of the Hamilton Back Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic. He teaches his fundamental EXSTORE Assessment System and practice building workshops to various health professionals. For more information, visit exstore.ca.