Federal Agencies To Be Reviewed On Yelp! and What It Means for Your Private Practice

If you thought your practice was safe from on-line reviews, think again. With the announcement yesterday of the government allowing Yelp reviews for Federal Agencies, we’re entering a whole new world of on-line reputation management.

Now that government agencies will be subject to frank, public on-line reviews, people of all demographics are going to be more in-tune to the world of on-line review sites like Yelp, Google+, Facebook, RateMDs and HealthGrades.

So what does this mean for your dental practice, your orthodontic practice, your veterinary practice? It means that more people will be aware of on-line reviews, more people will be looking at them before they go to your practice and more people will be leaving reviews themselves.

You can bet that Federal Agencies are going to be scrambling to put a system in place where they can address negative reviews, thank people for positive ones and use all that public feedback to improve.

How can you do the same? How can you protect yourself and manage your reputation online? Our go-to method, with our SmartReview TM system, is to regularly ask patients for feedback through a private portal. This allows your practice to intercept negative feedback before it goes public and follow up with positive feedback to encourage public reviews.

Don’t let government agencies beat you to the chase! If you haven’t thought about your on-line reputation yet, now is the time.

Reach out to us for a consultation on how you can improve your on-line reviews. We harness digital automation and combine it with a personalized, human touch to make your practice stand out.

New Research: NPR Reports that Online Reviews Can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

NPR reported on some interesting information regarding doctor reviews online via a partnership between ProPublica and Yelp. Yelp isn’t just for restaurants and stores anymore; its share of the review market in the healthcare industry is steadily growing, with 1.3 million health reviews collected to date.

What’s interesting about this data is that overall, people are mostly happy and are happy to share their positive reviews, but aren’t usually that vocal. That said, those who are unhappy are quick to say why, where and how with 1 star reviews. They’re loud about their dissatisfaction and want others to know about it. One reviewer stated, “people put a lot of trust into their healthcare providers, and if my review could help others make an informed decision regarding their treatment, then it was worth it.”

Another interesting trend is that while Yelp reviewers are more likely to leave positive reviews for health providers than stores or restaurants, the providers that do the best are those who make their patients feel better quickly: acupuncturists, massage therapists, and the like. Doctors and dentists, on the other hand, can take longer to show results and their reviews suffer for it. The data reports that “doctors earned a lower proportion of five-star reviews than other health professionals, pushing their average review to the lowest of any large health profession.” One dental chain actually received over 3,000 reviews, the majority negative. Its average star rating is 1.8 out of 5 stars. Pretty dismal.

As a healthcare provider, how do you combat this? The answer isn’t as difficult as you may think: Simply ask for feedback.

At People & Practice we find that asking patients for feedback while they’re still in the office has a few great benefits:

  1. You find out which of your patients are happy and can reach out to them specifically, asking if they’d be willing to leave a review on a public site. Get them talking!
  2. Unhappy patients get a chance to blow off steam while airing their grievances…often when they’re done they’ve gotten it off their chest and move on, never leaving a what might have been a scathing public review. Plus you can then follow-up to smooth things over.
  3. You get a chance to grow and improve your practice by hearing ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ about where you’re successful and where you could improve.

Another way to combat the negativity on Yelp is to help your prospective patients bypass Yelp altogether by boosting your presence on Google+. Google+ pages are set up in such a way that you can both interact with patients and have the page showcase their positive feedback.

Building your public reviews on Google+ has an added benefit. Research shows that the majority of people using the internet for search default to Google as their search engine. If you build up public reviews on your Google+ page they will begin to appear under your website in search results! That means 5 pretty, eye catching stars, showing up under your website. These will be the first thing prospective patients will see. Quite a glowing recommendation, don’t you think?

Building your online presence with reviews and engagement takes work, but given the trends outlined in ProPublica’s research, the impact on your business can be significant.

For the original NPR story, click here. To listen to the podcast, click here. For more tips, tricks and help, reach out to us at People & Practice.

Jessie Pressman, Reputation Management Specialist, People & Practice

How to Cultivate Online Reviews

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthotown Magazine about importance of managing your practice’s online reputation. Click here to read the full article.

What takes years to build and seconds to destroy? Your Reputation.

Your reputation is your most important business asset.  What are you doing to get your patients to publish great things about you and your practice on public review sites like Google and Yelp?  Equally as important, what are you doing to help prevent your patients from writing negative reviews about you and your practice?

A recent study on local consumer decision-making mentions a few statistics that underscore this point:

➢ 85% of your patients say that they read online reviews for local businesses

➢ 73% of your patients say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more

➢ Only 12% of patients said they take no notice of online reviews

The bottom line is that people go out and look for reviews before making decisions.

We know that there’s a lot of apprehension and discomfort around asking patients for reviews, and for good reason. It can be awkward in the best case and nerve wracking in the worst, as it feels like there’s little control over what people decide to write. It’s true that negative reviews can be very damaging…you’ve spent years building up your reputation and it’s a shame that a comment or two can tarnish it. The truth is that you can’t please everyone. A bad review will come…the key is to be prepared.

The way to defend against negative feedback is by proactively buffering your online review pages with positive feedback. This makes a single negative comment look like an outlier. That’s why we’ve developed a Reputation Management program that “catches” negative feedback before it goes public, allowing for timely off-line resolution.  It also pinpoints your happiest patients and turns them into brand ambassadors that promote you to friends, family and neighbors.  We will also monitor all of your public reviews across the web for any potentially negative comments that were present before we began working together or that didn’t go through our system. If you do receive a public review that’s less than ideal, the best approach is to take it offline quickly and find a resolution that reflects you and your practice in a positive light.

Contact me directly for a free practice analysis and pricing information.

Dr. Leon Klempner, Founder – People & Practice, LLC – leon@pplpractice.com

Watch free webinar -Sponsored by Henry Schein Orthodontics – Dr. Klempner – Protecting Your Online Reputation

 

Google Reviews