Digital Strategies

Responding to Google Reviews: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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By Zvi Pardes
Head of Content Marketing, EyeCarePro

May 1, 2019

No reviews are as important as Google Reviews. By a long shot. They show up prominently on a Google search and differentiate your practice from the rest of the pack with real persuasive power. You can bet your practice that prospective new patients are actively looking at your latest reviews.

Yes, trying to get patients to leave reviews is essential. But did you know that it’s also important to respond to reviews? Yes, even good reviews! What’s hard for many practices to accomplish is responding in a way that’s effective and is fully HIPAA compliant.

Why Respond?
1. Prospective new patients want to see how you respond to patient concerns. It’s a gauge of the patient experience they can expect from you.

2. Responding to reviews is good for your SEO—they count as engagement on your GoogleMyBusiness (GMB) listing.

3. People like positive feedback to their positive feedback

Hungry, Hungry HIPAAs
It can be tempting to respond to a review—especially a negative one—by referring to specifics. But that can be a big mistake! At EyeCarePro, we take a conservative approach to HIPAA compliance. Never explicitly refer to or acknowledge that the poster is a patient, or that he or she received a specific treatment or service. Keep your replies general.

The Good: So How Should I Respond to a Nice Review?
The same way you respond to a compliment–personally and with gratitude.

The Bad: Responding to a Negative Review
Bad reviews happen to every practice, no matter how great your patient care is (and especially when it could stand some improvement).

It’s important that you reply to negative reviews promptly. If you think there’s no chance the reviewer will retract, or at least engage with you rationally, you might be right. But it doesn’t matter.

The main point of responses to negative reviews is to show other people that you care about and respond to patient concerns!
If you can get the person to follow-up with a phone call, that’s fantastic. But some people cannot be appeased. You should try to see if the issue can be resolved, and if they might retract or change the review, but ultimately your response is there for the many other prospective new patients who are checking you to see.

For example, here we have a fantastically rated practice with the inevitable lemon review. Note how the response addressed the individual reviewer’s concerns without directly referring to them at all. Give the patient a chance for you to make it right while telling everyone else what your commitments to the patient are.


The Ugly: What Now?
Sometimes reviews go beyond simply negative; they get downright ugly—libelous, disingenuous, fake, or otherwise illegitimate and unfair. When that happens, it’s likely that the reviews are in breach of the Google Terms of Service. (Which also forbids multiple negative reviews from the same person). When that happens, you should go to Google online support and trigger a call to speak to a representative. Do research first— Is this user legitimate, meaning were they a patient or customer of your optical shop? How many reviews have they left elsewhere? Are they all negative? Argue your case and see if you can get that nasty review removed.

It’s All Averages, So Be Proactive
The best way to counter negative reviews is to bury them—drown them in a deluge of sunshine and positivity! If you can overwhelm the negative reviews with positive ones, you can protect your average and disprove the negative Nancies with the sheer weight of the positivity you generate.

EyeCarePro provides all marketing clients with a simple, powerful app to aid in generating more positive reviews by sending a live review link by SMS to patients. Marketing strategists will provide coaching to move that forward as part of the monthly consultation that all our marketing clients receive.

 

Zvi Pardes is the head of content marketing at EyeCarePro, which provides ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing. EyeCarePro serves both industry and practices and is the only company of its kind solely focused on the optometric space. Contact him at zvi@eyecarepro.net

 

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