It’s a healthcare practice’s nightmare; to learn that a disgruntled or disappointed patient has left a bad review online. As an imaging center, you attempt to provide top notch patient care to everyone that comes through your door, but no matter what, you might still meet a patient who is just hard to please.
Regardless of how well your staff treats your patients, they can develop a negative opinion of your imaging center. They can become disgruntled for a number of reasons that you can manage, but there are some ways patients can become frustrated that are out of your control.
Patient Experiences You Can Control
Feeling Welcomed – With a Smile
Clean, Comfortable Waiting Area
Easily Accessible Contact Information
Convenient Access to Patient Records
Patient Experiences You Can’t Control
Longer Wait Times – Due to External Delays
Frustration/Pain Based on Patient Ailment
Patients with Bad Attitudes
High Care/Procedure Costs
So, what do you do if a patient leaves a negative review of your imaging center on Facebook or Yelp? Or, what if a patient tweets something negative to you? How do you handle it?
How To Handle Bad Reviews on Social Media:
Step 1: Don’t delay. Be sure to respond quickly to reviews so you can take control of the situation before it has the chance to snowball into a bigger issue. Even if the bad review is in fact warranted, you can still salvage the situation with an appropriate response.
Step 2: Determine if the complaint is based on something you could control making it warranted, or if the complaint is something that doesn’t have to do with the quality of your service. Ex: “The front desk girl was very rude and was playing on her cell phone while I waited at the desk.” This is something you can fix as opposed to a review that reads, “I’ve been in pain for months so I tried to schedule an MRI at this imaging center but they wouldn’t give me an appointment unless I was referred by a doctor.” We know that in radiology, diagnostic testing requires a script, but some patients may not know that. So, while you can’t change this fact, you can do a better job of explaining this to patients and giving them advice on what to do next.
Step 3: Always be sympathetic, no matter what. An apology isn’t always warranted if the patient’s negative review is unwarranted. Sometimes people just complain to complain but even if they are wrong, you need to show empathy in your response.
Step 4: Offer some kind of solution or compromise. You can’t erase the past and you can’t refund patients for their care, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer some kind of solution. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is provide the patient with the contact information of your marketing representative or office manager so they can speak directly with a person who might be able to help them. This is also an opportunity to do some further investigating to see if this can be a learning opportunity for your practice.
Some things to remember with regards to online patient reviews:
1. Just because you don’t think you have a Facebook page for your practice, doesn’t mean there isn’t a location listing on Facebook where patients can check in and write reviews. You must take ownership of your business’ page and merge the listing page to control it. You can’t control a Facebook listing but you can control a business page!
2. People are most likely to leave a review of their healthcare providers when they either have an extraordinarily positive or extraordinarily negative experience. You won’t often get people who say that their experience was just okay. Focus on branding your patient experience so it is something worth talking about in a positive light.
3. Sometimes a negative review with a strong, helpful response from the practice is more influential than a positive review. As a patient, seeing that someone from a practice would go out of their way to make amends for a negative experience shows that they are willing to go above and beyond for their patients.