A few negative reviews are not always bad for your healthcare practice. On the contrary, they provide opportunities for building and nurturing a deeper level of relationship with your patients and improve the image of your practice as well (believe it or not). Healthcare providers intuitively know this fact, but perhaps it's because of the (self-imagined) hassles related to handling/tackling bad reviews, that they get anxious when they see even a few negative reviews on their public page. So first of all, let me clear some things right here:
Based on our tracking of patients' interaction with negative reviews online, different online and offline patient surveys, and extensive user testing, we've built up an extensive understanding of patients' attitude to bad reviews. Here they are:
“95% of consumers suspect censorship or fake reviews when there are no bad ones.”
Consumers are naturally skeptical of businesses that only have 4-star or 5-star reviews. Also, they feel like they’re being forfeited the chance of further looking into the more personally described details about the business (i.e. the negative experiences). According to a study carried out by PowerReviews, and Spiegel Digital and Database Center of Northwestern University, negative reviews have a positive impact on businesses as they help establish trust and authenticity. The report indicates that consumers tend to consider ratings of a perfect 5 stars to be “too good to be true”. In fact, most consumers indicated they ignored many five star reviews and they considered them to be fake. Consumers know that businesses cannot be 100 percent perfect, and hence they increasingly rely on negative reviews to make a decision.
“According to the study, 82 percent of consumers specifically sought negative reviews when looking to buy a product or service. The reviews were sought to alleviate concerns about price and safety of a product or service, as well as in gaining the trust of a brand.”
According to the Northwestern research team, the number of stars in a review do not have much impact on a purchase when the rating is between one to three stars. However, consumers have a higher likelihood of choosing a business with at least a four star rating. The optimal rating for a purchase peaked at between 4.2 stars and 4.5 stars. As the stars rose closer to 5, the likelihood of purchase declined.
One of the most significant impacts of the presence of a few negative reviews is they make your positive reviews look genuine, and trustworthy. As discussed earlier in this blog, your prospective patients will not look at your positive reviews in isolation. They'll compare them with the negative ones to make an informed decision. The study into patient's attitude towards review reading suggests that patients note down the bad points about a service from the negative reviews, and compare them with how the happy patients have reacted about that particular aspect of the service. This expedition generally leads your patients towards garnering more faith in that particular aspect of your care.
The presence of too many 5-star ratings and only praises bore readers. This doesn't just decrease the rate of user engagement on your review pages, but is also a lost chance to educate your patients more about your service. On the contrary, presence of a few negative reviews catches your patients' attention, and it buys time for you to convince your patients to convert, says a Neuromarketing blog. It suggests that consumers who interacted with bad reviews spent 5X as much time on a website as those that didn’t.
Conversion is the ultimate goal of any business, but if your potential patients aren’t reading about you online, it’s likely they’ll look right past you. A few negative reviews are in fact the greatest conversion tool for your business. A few negative reviews inspire your patients to explore more, and the longer they spend their time on your site and view more pages, the higher the chance of their conversion. In fact, according to the same (as discussed earlier) Neuromarketing blog, consumers looking for negative reviews convert at an 85% higher rate.
A few negative reviews do not damage your overall reputation. On the contrary, they provide an opportunity to earn your patients' loyalty. You can learn about your areas of improvement from negative reviews and address your patients' issues through service recovery programs and retain those patients as your loyal promoters. Here's how you can earn patient loyalty from negative reviews:
This way, you don't just instill trust in your existing patients and earn their loyalty, but it also helps your prospective patients in selecting you as their care provider. Note: While responding, look into the authenticity of the review. Report the fake or objectionable reviews to minimize their chances of hurting your search rankings.
Don't just limit yourself to addressing a particular patient's issues. You should also take insight from your unhappy patients' reviews to make patient experience related changes to your facility that should benefit all your future patients. This way, you also minimize the chances of an increase in the number of negative reviews for future. An improved patient experience helps you in improving your hospital's or practice’s performance as well.
Hopefully, you got the message by now: bad reviews can help your healthcare practice grow. However, like all other good things, you'll need negative reviews in moderation. A higher number of negative reviews will undoubtedly harm your practice's growth. With a proactive online review management process in place, you can ensure that more of your happy patients start writing and posting their experiences on different review sites. Another advantage of patient review management is that you know immediately when any review (good or bad) is posted. A prompting at the right time ensures that you address your unhappy patient's issues as quickly as possible.
Don’t be afraid of negative reviews, unless they start flowing in greater numbers. Just keep the points discussed in this blog and tackle those reviews smartly. If handled properly, you can turn those few negative reviews into the most important conversion tool for your practice.
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