Online reviews are an integral part of the modern business environment. Third-party review sites allow customers to rate and review the businesses around them, including healthcare facilities like hospices. It is all but inevitable that someone will leave a negative review, potentially harming your business reputation. Review management is a valuable component in risk management for long-term healthcare facilities, supplementing the risk protections of nursing home insurance. In this guide, we will explore best practices for addressing and responding to negative reviews.
Why is Review Management So Important?
Numerous studies have been conducted on the power and reach of online reviews. According to a consumer survey conducted by BrightLocal in 2020:
- 93% of consumers search the web to find local businesses.
- 72% of consumers say they have written an online review.
- 94% of survey respondents indicated that positive reviews influence business decisions.
- 92% of respondents indicated that negative reviews make them less likely to do business with a given company.
- 79% of respondents trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
This and similar studies show that positive reviews can help spur business growth, while negative reviews can have an outsized effect on business opportunities. Even a single negative review can harm your reputation and can influence a consumer’s decision on whether or not to do business with your hospice.
Reviews as a Learning Tool
Before diving into online review management, it is important to change mindsets about what reviews mean for a business like a hospice. Whether a review is positive or negative, each review represents a learning experience for the management and staff of healthcare facilities. Positive reviews let you know what is working; negative reviews can point to deficiencies you must address to build or restore consumer confidence.
It is also valuable to understand actionable versus unactionable criticisms. An actionable criticism is one that can be addressed by hospice managers, such as a disconnect in communication with patients and family members, quality of care issues, or expectations that fall short of experiences. An unactionable criticism, on the other hand, is one that hospice managers are hard-pressed to address, such as misperceptions about what the hospice’s role is in a patient death or intangibles related to the passing of a loved one.
Best Practices for Review Management
Unlike a restaurant or automotive repair center facing negative reviews, a hospice operates under unique circumstances. Hospices must deal with the anger and grief of family members as their loved ones pass away, potentially setting up the facility for negative reviews. Adressing the possibility of negative reviews, or managing the risks associated with them in the same way that nursing home insurance provides coverage against risks, hospice managers can use the following best practices:
- Refrain from responding negatively to reviews, no matter how unflattering.
- Approach negative reviews with understanding and compassion. Emotions are often tied to these reviews.
- Accept responsibility for negative reviews – owning up to mistakes or less-than-satisfactory experiences helps to restore trust between the facility and patients/family members.
- Use each review as a learning opportunity, encouraging staff members to identify potential weaknesses in your operation and to make the necessary adjustments.
Nursing home insurance is only one part of a broad risk management strategy for long-term care centers. In today’s digital environment, review management is a critical component of managing risks, supporting the protections of nursing home insurance and other liability policies. With the right approach and the right mindset, hospice operators can continue to provide compassionate care while reinforcing the positive reputation operators have worked so hard for.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.