Bad reviews are bad for business. They negatively influence your online reputation and can even drive away potential patients. However, like death and taxes, negative reviews are unavoidable.
Luckily, there are specific things you can do in the office to keep bad reviews to a minimum. Below we’ll share 4 ways you can stop negative reviews in their tracks and mitigate their impact when they do inevitably happen.
1. Don’t Let Patients Play the Waiting Game
The amount of time your patients spend in your lobby forms a critical component of their overall experience at your practice. According to industry analysts, 40 percent of patients said they would switch practices if it meant shorter wait times.
To improve your patients’ wait time experience:
- Don’t overbook
- Remind patients of upcoming appointments a few hours before their visit
- Offer free internet, coffee, and water in your waiting room
- If patients are left waiting for longer than usual, apologize for the delay
2. Keep Calm and Be Attentive
From your patients’ point of view, if things look chaotic behind the front desk, they may feel that they’re just another number for your staff to handle. To avoid negative reviews, you should make the patient your top priority from the moment they walk in the door until they leave for the parking lot by:
- Dedicating one person to patient engagement at all times
- Communicating with staff members regularly to avoid errors and oversights
- Properly equipping your office with the tools to function efficiently
- Avoid understaffing
Keep in mind that the patient pays attention to everything. You wouldn’t want them to overhear negative or offensive comments because it may rub them the wrong way. Make sure your staff engages in kindhearted small talk, which makes the office seem more cheerful and remember to keep the conversations professional and friendly.
3. Ask for, Listen to, and Validate Feedback
Make it a best practice to ask ALL your patients before leaving your office, how their visit went, whether they display agitation or not. Many people are not comfortable bringing up complaints or suggestions and will keep feedback to themselves if not prompted by your staff.
If you don’t reach out to patients, they will find other outlets to express their dissatisfaction. Yep, you guessed it: in the public eye. Here’s what you can do to avoid it:
- Request feedback about their experience via online and offline surveys
- Thank patients for their feedback, even if it’s negative
- Provide contact information on your social networking sites so they can reach out to you
- Have a plan in place for responding to both positive and negative feedback
4. Get Social
Social media customer care has arrived big-time on the scene. Over 40% of patients report that social media influenced their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical practice.
Learning how to master the art of social media customer care is critical to keep your patients satisfied, resolve their issues promptly, and strengthen your authenticity.
Remember that all the credentials in the world are no guarantee that your patients will recommend your practice to their friends and peers. The overall experience you provide them while they are in your office will be the determining factor for repeat business and referrals to their community.
When you put your patients first in every aspect of your business, you will stay ahead of your competition, maintain high-star reviews, attract new patients through the front door, and achieve the bottom line results you desire.
By Jennifer Thompson
Jennifer Thompson is co-founder and chief strategist for DrMarketingTips.com, a website designed to help medical marketing professionals market their practice easier, faster and better.