Welcome to Practice Treatment Plan’s Weekly New Patient Marketing Tips! Today’s tip is part five of a 5-part series in October all about Google Reviews. Here is a quick preview of what is coming up. For more information please call 888.412.8820 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Oct 1st: Importance of Google Reviews
Oct 8th: Three Ways to get Google Reviews
Oct 15th: Three MORE ways to get Google Reviews
Oct 22nd: How to handle bad reviews
TODAY: What about other review sites?
When it comes to websites that feature reviews of local businesses, Google+ is not the only player in the game (although the most important). There are a few other outlets for patients to rate and review your practice and we will discuss them below.
While you might think of Facebook as just a way to waste minutes (ok, maybe hours) of time during your week, it is also a great source of reviews for your practice. People are on Facebook all the time, more so than other review sites, so it is easy for them to either sing your praises or call for your head within just a few clicks. Facebook has a feature called Starred Reviews for local businesses that allows ratings and reviews on your business page. If you would like to enable this feature you must choose “Local Businesses” for your page’s category when setting up the business page.
A page’s starred rating is an average of all of the PUBLIC star ratings a business has received. When someone reviews your page they can choose which audience to share their rating with. If they choose to only share it with their friends then that rating will not be included in the page’s overall rating.
According to Facebook, reviewers of your business must follow Facebook’s Community Standards (https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards), focus on the product or service offered by the Page and be based on personal experience. Reviews that don’t follow these guidelines may be removed. If you feel that a review on your Facebook page does not meet this criteria then you can request that Facebook remove it by clicking the down arrow on the upper right corner of the review and selecting “I don’t like this review”, then follow the instructions. Keep in mind that you can only report star ratings that come with reviews and Facebook may determine that it meets their guidelines and leave the review up.
We personally are not huge fans of Yelp, and choose not to create Yelp pages for our clients. Yelp has been involved in some litigation based on their policies. But the real reason we do not set up our clients there is, once you have free listing on Yelp for your business, they tend to contact you often trying to get you to upgrade to a professional listing.
Like many other review sites, users can create a free profile on Yelp and then they can review any business that they want. Yelp uses an algorithm called their “Recommendation Software” which filters out reviews that THEY deem unhelpful based on the quality of the review, the reliability of the yelper and the yelper’s user activity. What this means is Yelp does not factor in all of the reviews you receive to determine your star rating (1-5 stars). Your rating is based only on the reviews that have been filtered through their software. However, at the bottom of your Yelp business page users can find a link that will bring them to ALL of your reviews, both filtered and unfiltered. Yelp values the reviews of “Elite Yelpers” more highly. These are people who review a lot of businesses and have a lot of “friends” (people who follow their reviews). The Recommendation Software is more likely to filter out reviews posted by first time reviewers who have a new profile or no history posting reviews. They are also looking for too many positive reviews or negative reviews posted to a business page (in an effort prevent small businesses from posting fake positive reviews to their on own profile or fake negative reviews on the profiles of their competitors). Yelp makes a point of saying that their Recommendation Software is fully automated and treats businesses that don’t advertise on the site the same as businesses that advertise.
If you receive negative reviews on Yelp you have almost no recourse. This is a little excerpt from their FAQ:
I’m not happy with what consumers are saying about me on Yelp – should I get my lawyer involved?
We have nothing but love and respect for lawyers (ahem), but you may want to consider the following. First, beware of the so-called Streisand Effect, which can quickly turn a manageable customer service problem into an unmanageable disaster. Lawyers love to draft threatening letters. However, far from being cowed, recipients will sometimes go public with them as a warning to others not to patronize your business. Second, beware of lawyers who are quick to file lawsuits without telling their clients that it can cost them dearly (see example here). Last, take a step back: if you find yourself insisting that a review is obviously untrue, there’s every reason to think that your customers will draw the same conclusion as you. Even if they don’t, Yelp’s review filter is always on the prowl, and it may be able to put enough pieces of the puzzle together over the long-term to filter out the bogus review.
For better or for worse, you can’t stop people from finding your Yelp profile (if one exists). However, you can take some action towards burying your Yelp profile in Google search results. The first step is to make sure your website is fully optimized. Keep it up to date…post new content…blog! The more you do this the higher Google will rank your content forcing your Yelp profile further down the page. As always, the team at Practice Treatment Plan can help you with this!
This site is different from other review sites in that user’s pay a membership fee to read and post reviews. The site claims this is better than free review sites because user reviews are NOT anonymous, companies and providers are prevented from reporting on themselves AND they can interact with members and respond to reports so members “get the whole story”.
In addition to this, Angie’s List has a Complaint Resolution Team that will intercede on a member’s behalf if a “home repair or health experience goes bad”. What this means is if a patient finds you through Angie’s List (as a fee paying member) and they are unable to get you to respond to their complaint or issue, the Angie’s List Complaint Resolution Team will try to contact you on their behalf in an effort to resolve the issue. The resolution (or lack thereof) of this complaint can be posted in their magazine and online. If a provider fails to respond to the Complaint Resolution Team they are put in the “Penalty Box” where their name will appear in the magazine for three consecutive months and online indefinitely. If the provider does resolve the complaint with the Angie’s List member, Angie’s List will delete the negative report and give the member (your patient) the opportunity to replace it with a positive one. There are restrictions as to what kind of complaints the Complaint Resolution Team will accept. You can find more detailed information on it here http://www.angieslist.com/complaint-resolution-faq.htm
So there you have it. All of the most important information on the biggest review sites available to you and your patients. Remember that it is not enough to just set up your business profiles on these pages. You need to be monitoring your online reputation and responding to the good, the bad and the ugly all the time. If you need help with reputation monitoring, the team at Practice Treatment Plan can help! Call us at 888-412-8820!
New Patient Marketing Strategist
Practice Treatment Plan, Inc.