This content is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations and to ensure the content is up to date.
Whether we like it or not, so called “informed” consumers like to use review platforms in order to choose their physician or cosmetic provider. The idea is to share relevant users to the platform, patients, and share thoughts and ideas on what they thought of a local business’s service and customer experience. In the medical field it’s very difficult to control a patient’s outcome as your dealing with a possible illness or a variable that you simply do not have control over. Yelp is by far the biggest player in the review space, especially for practicing dermatologist.
BY THE NUMBERS
Here are some of the stats:
-They receive >142 million unique visitors a month
-Yelp’s revenue in 1Q/2015 is 118.5 million
-9% of Yelp’s review are in the health/beauty category
Depending on your experience, it’s fair to say that a large group of physicians express frustration as they only their “disgruntled” patients which represent the small minority who post, while happy patients do not take the same amount of time to submit a positive review. Normally physician providers would not care, however, Yelp is extremely powerful and can have an effect on you bottom line.
DEALING WITH BAD REVIEWS
With that said, here are tips with dealing with bad reviews:
-Be honest with yourself and identify if it’s indeed true. If it is, then contact the patient privately and work to remedy their concern or issue – do not deal with it publicly on a social forum.
-DO NOT get into a “Twitter war”. By responding publicly you may agitate them further as they will only use this against you. At best, contact them privately over Yelp asking them to call the office as patient care is of utmost importance.
-Ask other patients respectfully to review your practice when they have had a positive experience. Happy patients will be happy to spread your gospel and sometimes the physician asking themselves goes along way.
-When asking for a review it should be very matter of fact. Any over hyped terms run the risk of getting flagged, as well along with the use of explanation points may cause the review to be filtered as well.
-Do not “stuff” reviews as multiple reviews in a short period time. This may cause real and positive reviews to get filtered out.
Although it may sound unfair and it may be so, the consumer drives the market when it comes to Yelp. However, 1 out of 100 unhappy patients may drive your revenue based off of one post. Heed these steps highlighted as it should help your reputation online. If for some reason if gets out of control, reach out to a reputable reputation management firm as they may be to help. Happy Yelper!