Google recently announced a major new update to their review policy – “Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”
As a result, many vendors who sell solutions that focus on “review-gating” or selective solicitation have had to modify their offerings significantly, or be met with penalties. Many doctors in fact have experienced a disappearance of hard-earned reviews because their vendors’ were in direct violation of this policy.
Why did Google make this update?
In short, to protect consumer interest. By ensuring that Google reviews represent an unbiased source of consumer opinion, reviews become a much more trusted and utilized resource.
Doctor.com’s philosophy and platform solutions have always hinged on protecting the authenticity and fairness of healthcare reviews. This is why we are an official partner of Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, Vitals, YP, and 40+ trusted consumer review sites and destinations.
Which vendors are in violation of Google’s new policy?
Since their announcement in April, it seems that many vendors known to participate in review-gating have recently updated their software to be in compliance. These companies include Birdeye, Podium, Banyan, Patient Pop, Empathiq, and many others.
If you’ve recently noticed a disappearance in your patient reviews, your vendor was most likely in violation of Google’s policies.
What does this mean for me?
To be safe, review your vendor’s solutions and policies and make sure they are in strict compliance with Google’s policies (as well as other popular sites like Yelp). If you still see any evidence of review-gating or other violations, it might be time to switch to a new vendor or risk losing your patient reviews or worse- get blocked from these sites.
Above all, keep doing what you do best- deliver quality care and a great customer experience to your patients.
How can I achieve a positive reputation online?
As always, focus on providing a great ‘customer experience,’ before and after patients enter the examination room since 96% of negative reviews are related to customer service issues (1). Secondly, make sure you have an accurate and up to date profile on all of the important healthcare sites. This way, patients can easily find you online and leave you feedback.
If you’re afraid of negative reviews- consider these two points. 78% of businesses on Yelp have a 3-star rating or better, and in fact healthcare providers as an entity have an average rating of 4 stars (2). Secondly, 95% of consumers don’t trust businesses who have spotless records – they’ll assume reviews are faked or censored if they don’t see bad scores (3).
For more helpful tips on maintaining a strong online reputation the right way- read our free guide on Mastering Online Reviews.
If you’re ready to take control of your online brand the right way, feel free to reach out to one of our practice-marketing gurus for a quick consultation.