Google Reviews: Best Practices for Healthcare Organizations

Getting honest feedback from patients is a vital element of any healthcare organization. It is important to know how patients feel about your organization, your services, and how your team is serving your community. Google reviews are a great way to gauge how patient perspectives align with your customer service goals. Google reviews allow patients to give you a ranking between 1-5 stars and provide written feedback. These reviews and feedback are then visible to anyone searching for information about your organization.

But what happens when Google reviews are not positive?

Today we will take a look at some of our best practices for getting, managing, and responding to Google reviews for healthcare organizations.

Understanding consumer behavior is imperative to marketing for healthcare organizations. The “Rational Decision Making Process” is when customers and patients…

  1. Identify A Need
  2. Seek Options To Meet That Need
  3. Evaluate Pros & Cons
  4. Calculate Tangible & Intangible Costs of Satisfaction
  5. Make A Reasoned (Informed) Decision

Google Reviews come heavily into play as potential customers go through this process. The perceptions and feedback of others influence the decision-making process as we search and gather information, and then evaluate the alternatives. Your website, social media, ads, and other channels talk the talk…but Google reviews show if you walk the walk.

Imagine you are worried there is something wrong with your heart. You decide you need to see a doctor. This is step 1 in the decision-making process: Identify a Need.

You type “Doctor Near Me” into Google and find an organization with a 3.7 star rating on Google from 20 reviews and another organization with a 4.0 star review from 3 reviews. This is the beginning of step 2: Seek Options to Meet That Need.

You like the fact that the second organization has a 4.0 rating, but it is only from 3 reviews. The first organization has a 3.7 star review (lower) but there are 20 reviews. You start reading the reviews to see what people have to say about these organizations. Much like if a friend or family member told you who they recommend, what others say on Google begins to influence your decision. This is step 3: Evaluate Pros & Cons.

You begin using the written reviews to decide which organization is best for you. Notably, the organization with a 3.7 rating has positives and negatives…but you notice the organization has responded to each review calmly and provided information such as the fact that they have sliding scale fees and accept patients without insurance. The organization with a 4.0 star review has not replied to any of the reviews. You like that the first organization has flexible fees and they seem more professional by responding to their reviews. You are in step 4: Calculate Tangible & Intangible Costs of Satisfaction.

Armed with all this information, you choose the organization with a 3.7 star rating. You feel it is the best option for you and call to schedule an appointment. This is step 5: Make A Reasoned Decision.

The next phase is the experience itself, followed by the “Post-Purchase Evaluation Phase.” What review will you give after your appointment is over? How might it influence others?

To begin gathering Google Reviews, you need to claim your business on Google.

  1. Log in to Google Maps (you can create a free account if you do not have one)
  2. Search for your business by name or address
  3. If it is a new business, click “Add your business” and follow the prompts
  4. If it is an existing business, click “Claim this business” and follow the prompts
  5. You can choose the type of verification that is best for you

If you have multiple locations, you can create or claim each of them and manage them together in a single location. Once this is completed and you have verified you are authorized to manage this business on Google, you can get things set up.

It is very important to make sure your business information is up to date on Google, as these are imperative to potential customers as they are searching for information in their decision-making process. Make sure your business name is correct, your website is linked, your phone number is listed correctly, your hours are listed, and you add any special hours/closures such as holiday hours.

It is also important to load your logo, add pictures of your organization, and other images that help show what the exterior and interior look like. These pictures help people know what they can expect when they visit. Refrain from adding ads or images with text for events and promotions, these images need to be more evergreen.

Eventually, patients will start adding pictures of their own. Seeding your listing with images first can help encourage this process, just make sure your images do not contain any information about patients, or show patients without their permission — it is a HIPAA violation for you to reveal a person is a patient without their consent. It is not a HIPAA violation for patients to post pictures of themselves or reveal that they are a patient.

Organically, patients will give you reviews without being prompted. However, and this is one of the biggest mistakes we see at PANO Marketing, not correctly prompting customers to review you will often result in attracting more negative reviews than positive reviews. Why?

Human beings are emotional. We tend to exist in extremes. Things were either “Great” or “Terrible,” despite the fact that most things we experience are simply “Good.” When something exceeds our expectations, we like to go online and shout it from the mountaintop with praise. When something doesn’t meet expectations, we really like going online and ranting. Most people go to a health organization and their expectations are met…that’s “Good.” But we don’t feel inspired to share “Good.” We feel most inspired to share “Terrible.”

When we don’t properly ask patients about their experience, they tend not to provide it unless it doesn’t meet expectations. So, can you ask people to review you on Google? Yes!

When is the best time to ask for a review or feedback? Within 24 hours after an appointment — when the experience is still fresh in a patient’s mind.

There are clunky ways of doing this such as posters, handouts, QR codes, etc. But nothing results in a higher response than text and email follow-ups after the conclusion of an appointment. Using a marketing technology like PANO Perspective Suite automates this process to drastically increase patient response and increase Google Review ratings.

PANO Perspective Suite is an intuitive online reputation management platform that can help you increase online reviews and manage them across multiple locations. We link to your EMR using our HIPAA-compliant API to begin automatically serving your patients with requests for reviews (and/or surveys) within 24 hours after their appointment. Patients receive either a text message or email (depending on their preference) asking how their experience was. With the click of a button, they have the option of reviewing you on Google, Facebook, other platforms, or providing direct feedback.

The result? A dramatic increase in reviews…overwhelmingly positive!

Through PANO Perspective Suite you can…

  • Request & Manage Reviews
  • Send Survey Requests
  • Manage All of Your Online Listings
  • Directly Message with Patients
  • See What Your Competition is Doing
  • Use Webchat to Speak to Patients
  • Do Automated Online Scheduling
  • Manage Social Media Channels
  • And More!

To learn more about PANO Perspective Suite, and hear about successes our clients are having, contact us today!

Replying to Google Reviews is tricky for healthcare organizations. Patients tend to divulge information by giving you a review such as the fact that they are a patient, what they visited you for, and how their experience was. They are allowed to do this. You can respond (and should), but how you respond must be HIPAA-compliant.

If anything in your response verifies that they are a patient, it is likely a HIPAA violation.

You need to use broad statements that are addressed to the general public and NOT the individual. A few examples:

  • A patient named Max gives you a 5-star review and says, “I had a great experience and I love my doctor. They helped my shoulder stop hurting and referred me to a PT specialist.”
    • NON HIPAA-COMPLIANT RESPONSE: “Thank you for sharing your experience, Max! We’re glad to hear we were able to help with your shoulder and that your doctor was able to refer you to a specialist.”
    • HIPAA-COMPLIANT RESPONSE: “Thank you for your review. We seek to provide high-quality healthcare to everyone in our community and have a large network of specialists we work with if a referral is needed.”

In the non-HIPAA-compliant response, the patient’s name is used and the text verifies they had a visit. In the HIPAA-compliant response the thank you is for the review without acknowledging anything else — it then makes a statement that is applicable to anyone, not just Max.

A similar approach is used on negative reviews: Make broad statements about the organization, policies applicable to all, and how any negative feedback is addressed. Remember, this is a public forum. Your response should acknowledge the review, not divulge any patient info, and provide answers applicable to anyone.

PANO Marketing provides outsourced marketing department services. Clients pay a monthly subscription to have an experienced marketing team, led by an industry professional, for a fraction of the cost of one full-time employee. Many of our clients outsource all of their marketing to us, while some outsource specific verticals and elements…such as reputation management.

PANO Marketing can handle all of your Google Reviews including…

  • Review Requests
  • Review Responses
  • Survey Requests
  • NPS Scoring
  • Satisfaction Reporting
  • Satisfaction Communications

If you prefer to manage any of these on your own, we offer PANO Perspective Suite plans where you are in control and we are there for help and IT.

It all starts with a meeting. Contact us today!

3805 E Harry St, Suite A127, Wichita, KS 67218

3805 E Harry St, Suite A127, Wichita, KS 67218