How Health Care Organizations Can Effectively Respond to Negative Online Patient Reviews and Social Media Feedback
// By Brian Griffin //
A proactive approach to responding to negative online comments is a winning service recovery strategy. Patients think it’s important for health care providers to answer negative reviews; when complaints are addressed, the rate of patient satisfaction roughly doubles, according to one survey.
With more patients using online reviews and social media to air complaints about health care providers, it’s more important than ever for marketers to be at the forefront of this trend and be ready to respond in ways that optimize their organization’s brand.
“From reviews on sites such as Google and Yelp to posts on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, patients are increasingly engaging with medical practices, hospitals, and health systems about their care experiences,” says Ben Dillon, chief strategy officer and co-owner of Geonetric, an Iowa-based digital marketing agency. “This has been the norm for consumerism in retail and other sectors for some time, and now we’re seeing it rapidly expanding in health care.”
Jenny Sundberg, senior marketing specialist and operations manager for Bryan Health in Lincoln, Nebraska, agrees. “It used to be that patients were often surprised when we would respond to online feedback, but now it’s really become an expectation,” she says. “Most patients want us to follow up on their review or social post. They have become accustomed to that kind of responsiveness in other industries, so, as health care marketers, we have to make sure that we’re ready to meet the needs of modern consumers as well.”
According to Healthgrades, even previously hesitant providers are now embracing transparency in patient experience by asking for and monitoring reviews to build online credibility and boost visibility in local search.