How to make Google Review fairer for medical practices?

( A Practical Guide to Practice owners struggling with bad Google Business reviews. by Paul Soloviev, the Director of HCNet Practice Management consultancy)

Google Business is a very important part of marketing for almost any medical practice. When someone googles ‘medical clinic in St Kilda’, for example, there is a list of clinics appears on the page. The list contains the names and contact details of General Practices and other medical clinics in the area.

Medical practice in st kilda

The list also contains reviews and a rating based on the maximum 5 stars rate. When we look at the list we see medical practices with various ratings. Look closer and you see that the practices that have a higher number of reviews are bigger, older and have rating 3 and below. Smaller, newer and have a rating of 4 and above. Why there is such a clear tendency?

Look at the examples of 4 clinics in St Kilda, an inner City suburb of Melbourne neat St Kilda Rd and a clinic in Mentone. Newish under 1-year-old clinics Fitzroy Street Medical Centre and Mentone General Practice have a 5-star rating. The oldest practices in the area – Acland St Medical Centre has 3.4-star rating and St Kilda Medical Group has a 4.1-star rating.

This tendency is based on a simple fact. A study by Paul Soloviev showed that 0.001% of unsatisfied customers of medical clinics leave, naturally, negative reviews. Only 0.000025% of satisfied customers of General Practices leave positive reviews. Interestingly, the Google reviews for General Practices are mostly either 5 stars or 1 star. The emotions run really high and people leave cardinally polar reviews.

There is another aspect of rating of the medical practice.  Those who rate the service are unwell, in pain and, naturally, are hard to satisfy at that particular time. This needs to be taken into consideration.

The results of this study show that a clinic that services 100000 patients out of which 1% are not satisfied, will have 1 bad review. The rest 99 000 of satisfied customers will leave 2.5 good reviews.  The overall result is around 3 stars rating.

It is apparent that Google reviews are not fair to the medical industry just because of the customers who are in pain or another kind of suffering at the time of the service.

What practices can do to remedy this situation?

Let me start with what you should not do. Do not jump on Fiverr and order 100 positive reviews for $50. Although, it may never be discovered by Google, this is unethical and if, in fact, discovered by Google – the account of your practice will get penalised.

As many other difficult and equivocal situations in medical practices, this can be addressed by patient education.

Firstly, it is a good idea to explain what you have just read above in your own words on your practice’s website. Potential customers must know why your benchmark practice has only 3.4-star rating. This information can also be included in the patient’s information sheet.

Now it is the time for much more serious action. You could make up a leaflet asking All your patients to review your practice. Remember? If you make an effort to be a benchmark clinic, 99% of your customers are satisfied ones. Even if a small fraction of them ( higher than 0.000025%) will leave the reviews, the rating of closer to 5 is guaranteed.