You have alerts set up and scour review sites for those dreaded one- and two-star ratings. You jump on the ones that start with, “If I could have given ZERO stars, I would have.” And rightfully so. How you respond to negative reviews affects not only your relationship with the reviewer but your reputation with anyone who reads it forever after. But it’s just as important to respond to neutral reviews for a few reasons:
Google Just Changed Its Online Review Terms. Here’s What That Means
Online reviews are extremely important for hospitals these days. The more good reviews you have, the more people will want to choose your hospital and your providers for their healthcare needs. The more negative reviews you have, the more people will want to stay away.
Online reviews also have a big influence on your website’s search engine results. That’s why hospitals want as many good reviews as they can get, and they’ll go to great lengths to achieve them.
Google, one of the main sources for online reviews, knows this and recently changed its review policies to regulate how, exactly, businesses solicit these reviews.
How the Review Game is Changing
Google thinks it’s perfectly okay to ask someone to leave a review. They want you to, in fact. But what they don’t want you to do is provide some kind of incentive for them to leave a positive one.
And they don’t want you to create something called a review funnel to get only good reviews.
A review funnel is pretty straightforward. You send an email or a link to a customer. They are asked to rate your business. If the rating is a good one, then they are sent to a place where they can leave the actual review, on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
If the rating is a bad one, the reviewer is sent somewhere else, usually a screen that has a quick survey they can fill out to provide feedback. They are not sent to a place where they can leave a review, though.
The end result: by using a review funnel, you’re selecting for only positive reviews.
Google now says that is not allowed and has banned the use of review funnels in this way.
What Can You Do Now?
Review funnels are very effective – too effective, it seems, for Google’s liking. So what can you do instead to get more positive reviews?
You can actually still use a review funnel. You just need to give the negative rater an option to leave a review, just like everyone else.
“But won’t they just leave a negative review?” Probably, but here’s the thing: you need more reviews, a never-ending supply of reviews, and getting some bad ones here and there is just a risk you’ll have to take to keep up.
Besides, if you’re doing a good job servicing your patients, you won’t have to worry about the negative reviews because they’ll be few and far between.
One thing we want to make clear is that you shouldn’t let your fear of a few negative reviews keep you from trying to get more positive ones. If you don’t take that chance, you’ll miss out on the huge benefits of online reviews for your hospital.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. If you get a bad one, reach out and see what you can do to make it right. Emphasize patient service and taking care of your patients to the utmost of your ability so no one has a reason to rate you negatively.
TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information and see what stories we can tell for you.