With a growing demand for mental wellness services, getting mental health provider reviews is more important than ever before. Online medical reviews have been a major contributor to people finding the courage to consider seeking professional help for their mental health.
Since the pandemic, the world has seen unprecedented challenges not just in physical health but in mental well-being. Whether it’s getting laid off, losing a loved one or simply being isolated from friends and family, there are many new stressors making life difficult for people who are vulnerable to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
As more people type in search terms like “therapist reviews near me” and “psychologist near me reviews,” mental health professionals are increasingly being held accountable for their services and bedside manner. With Google as the go-to research tool most people use to learn about a business, mental health provider reviews can greatly impact mental health counselors or therapists and their practices.
Shifting Mental Health Services From In-Person to Virtual
Much of today’s negative mental health provider reviews are because of the shift from in-person therapy sessions to virtual ones. Most healthcare providers have switched to the tele-health or virtual model to avoid the risks of COVID-19 but a number of patients found it hard to make the adjustment and are unsatisfied with the quality of service in a virtual setting.
These challenges contribute to the difficulty of dealing with new or disgruntled mental health clients online and responding to their Google or Yelp therapist reviews.
How Online Counseling Reviews Differ From Other Industries
Unlike restaurant or hotel reviews, psychologist reviews and ratings are subject to privacy laws that apply to mental health professionals and their patients. In addition to privacy laws, mental health counseling involves an emotional and personal investment that people hold in the highest regard.
Here are some challenges therapists and counselors face with counselor reviews:
• Happy clients are reluctant to leave positive psychologist reviews and ratings for fear of exposing themselves.
• Responding to online counseling reviews can violate privacy laws because it will expose the patient to the public. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) law penalizes health professionals if they reveal a patient’s health information without their consent and publicly on online platforms like review sites.
• Mental health counselor reviews can be highly subjective. One patient may have a starkly different experience than their counterparts, so reviews might not be consistent and may even confuse prospective clients.
• Negative psychologist reviews do not always come as a response to the therapist but other factors like insurance coverage, wait time and facilities. While some of these can be improved by the owner of the practice, some factors are outside of the therapist’s control.
• Considering the many unique factors that affect a counselor review, it is apparent that mental health doctors need a specialized method of responding to medical reviews.
How to Respond to Online Counseling Reviews
Don’t let privacy rules and certain difficulties limit you from implementing a review response strategy that strengthens your online reputation as a therapist or counselor. Although you need to be cautious, you also need to assure your patients that you care about the experience they have with you.
Here are some best practices when dealing with psychologist reviews:
List Your Practice Online
Is your practice listed on Google, Yelp or Yahoo? Having Google or Yelp therapist reviews visible for your practice can increase your lead generation and acquire new patient appointments.
Until you’ve properly listed your business, you won’t have the best visibility online. When people search for “psychiatrist reviews near me” or “psychologist reviews near me,” they expect to find mental health doctor reviews to help them make a decision.
That’s why you need to list and optimize your business so it appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) and not just review sites like Google or Yelp. Showing up on the first page of Google when a user types in “psychiatrist near me reviews” can help organically acquire new leads and patients.
Focus on Local SEO
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a method of designing your content with keywords that would specify your location, narrowing a person’s search to his/her area and giving your practice more visibility on the SERPs. Some keywords you can use to optimize your business listings are:
psychologist near me reviews
psychologist reviews near me
psychiatrist near me reviews
psychiatrist reviews near me
therapist reviews near me
It’s important to include all possible terms to describe your business. The average person might not know the difference between psychologist, psychiatrist and therapist. A person seeking mental health professionals might search for “psychologist reviews near me,” while another one might use “psychiatrist reviews near me.”
To cover all kinds of mental health doctor reviews, you need to have a diverse keyword optimization plan in place. Using all three keyword variations in your local SEO strategy can give you better results, so it would be wise to consider including “psychologist near me reviews,” “psychiatrist near me reviews,” and “therapist reviews near me.”
Acknowledge the Patient’s Feedback or Concern
Because patient information should be confidential, responses to mental health doctor reviews should not mention the patient’s name and any other private information. As a counselor, you can focus on the patient’s concern instead. Give the patient assurance that you have taken note of their concerns. Even if you can’t provide a solution right away, letting the patient know that you are working on the problem can make a big difference.
Here’s an example of how to respond to a counselor review:
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are sorry to hear that your experience doesn’t match the high patient care standards we strive for at [name of your practice]. We would like to speak with you about this further and see how we can help. Please contact us at [phone number] or send us an email at [email address].
Take the Conversation Offline
Psychologist reviews and ratings, specifically negative ones, can often be a gateway for dissatisfied patients to start a lengthy argument with you. To avoid this, offer a way to reach you via email or phone (as shown in the example above) so you and the patient can come up with a resolution without violating HIPAA provisions and rebuilding customer trust.
Use Confidential After-Treatment Surveys
Even though therapists have the ability to understand a person’s mind, it does not mean they can read it. To pre-empt any dissatisfaction from patients, you can conduct a confidential survey for your patients at the end of their session. This will be voluntary and with permission from your patients, ensuring that it remains compliant with HIPAA provisions.
You can do this via email or a survey form that is sent out to your customers. This survey can help provide valuable information on what can be improved in your practice even before they show up online as psychiatrist reviews.
Take Advantage of Anonymous Review Platforms
If you worry that Google or Yelp therapist reviews might violate privacy laws, try anonymous review platforms. Review platforms like Healthgrades.com are made for healthcare professionals, including mental health doctors.
Patients and healthcare providers can freely communicate on this platform without violating privacy and confidentiality. Not only will counselors be able to reply to counseling reviews, but patients will feel secure in providing feedback knowing that their identities are kept private.
Seek Professional Help
For counselors or therapists with limited experience and resources for responding to online medical reviews, the process can get complicated and feel overwhelming.
There are many online reputation management agencies that provide review response services as part of their reputation management strategy. By leaving the work to experienced and competent reputation managers, you can avoid mistakes and get the best results.
COVID-19 may be a great threat to physical health, but it also greatly affects people’s mental well-being. Therapists and counselors have the crucial responsibility of helping people who are struggling in these difficult times. When people search for “therapist reviews near me,” you’d want your practice to be front and center – with mostly great reviews.
The best thing counselors can do is to listen to their patient’s concerns. That’s why monitoring psychologist reviews and psychiatrist reviews should be part of every mental health professional’s reputation management strategy.
If you want expert guidance in responding to mental health provider reviews, check out Rize. Rize has experienced healthcare reputation managers who can help you implement reputation management and review response services.