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Many people now use the Internet for information about healthcare issues and treatments available. This has made the medical industry highly competitive. Doctors, hospitals and health systems today recognize how important medical SEO and a responsive website design are for physicians to connect with patients effectively. Online reviews are also an important consideration for healthcare professionals. Before consulting any doctor, individuals go online to know more about the doctor and his / her services. Online reviews are made by existing patients, and these help future patients to make a more informed decision. Reviews can be both positive and negative. While positive reviews are encouraging and will help bring you more patients, negative reviews can be dampening. You cannot however, ignore negative reviews. It is important to acknowledge such feedback and respond to it in the best way possible.

Here are some tips suggested by Forbes Agency Council on how to respond to negative reviews and stay positive. 

  • Show how you care about your patients: It may be difficult to respond politely to negative reviews but you have to do it properly. Use the person’s name, address their concern and propose a solution. If the problem cannot be resolved, then reach out to them through phone or email or any other offline measures.
  • Be honest: This is the opportunity to show empathy and the values you have. Apologize and tell them how you are working better and creatively extend the invitation to re experience your services. Be transparent and genuine.  
  • Private conversation is the best: Although public reviews should be responded to publicly, conversations to understand the actual problem and reconcile are best done privately. Respond to the review by acknowledging the reviewer’s point of view and then provide an email or number to contact you privately. 
  • Look for opportunity: If there are many negative reviews, then do not get discouraged, consider it as an occasion for you to correct your mistakes and an opportunity for your practice to grow. Consider the points raised by the reviewer objectively without becoming emotional, then thank them and address the problem appropriately.
  • Be positive: The healthcare field is a challenging one to work in and often, the pressure may be too much. If you have to deal with negative reviews also on top of that, it could be really draining. Negative reviews with anger, pettiness, negativity etc can have a harmful impact on your morale. However, you need to stay positive, honest and transparent. The effort must be to reduce the impact of the hostile feedback.
  • Acknowledge your mistake and rectify it: Responding poorly to a negative review can damage your credibility. So show the reviewer and the public that you care about your patients’ concerns and appreciate their feedback.
  • Give extra value: Make sure to respond quickly to negative reviews. But fixing the problem is not enough. Overwhelm the customer with good service and encourage them to give a positive review.
  • Provide context: Addressing a negative review can be hard, so provide context for other people who view the post. Make sure that you don’t engage in a debate; instead show empathy to the reviewer by acknowledging his/her opinion and show neutrality by providing situational context and facts.
  • Appreciate the feedback: Diffuse the tension created by negative comments by appreciating and giving feedback. Respond publicly to negative reviews so that your target audience will know that they are considered valuable and you care for their response.
  • Outsource if required: It may not be easy for busy physicians to respond to each and every review that appears on social media and other venues. So, outsource the task to an agency experienced in toning down the impact of negative reviews.

Reviews are an easily accessible source of information that people can connect with on a personal level, and are therefore significant. Obtaining and publishing positive reviews from satisfied patients and lessening the impact of negative reviews are major considerations when it comes to health digital marketing. Healthcare providers and health systems must ensure that reviews regarding their services are regularly monitored to identify any concerns patients may have and address them aptly. This will help maintain an untarnished reputation and attract more healthcare consumers.

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