The conversation about mental health has been gaining more and more prominence in recent years. The stigma surrounding mental health issues is dissipating, and younger people are more open to discussing their mental health status than previous generations.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 87 percent of adults in the U.S. believe that mental disorders are nothing to be ashamed of, and 87 percent agreed that individuals with psychological issues could get better with the proper treatment.
Thanks to this shift in views, more people are honest about seeking help from mental health professionals. As a result, the number of online reviews for mental health services is also on the rise.
The importance of online reviews can’t be downplayed since most people seek out reviews before hiring a service. However, like most areas in the healthcare sector, the mental health industry has strict regulations on handling reviews.
Keep reading to learn how to properly address reviews as a mental health service provider. This blog delves into the following topics:
- How to respond to a negative review
- Best practices for mental healthcare reputation management
- Seek support from reputation management services
How To Respond to a Negative Review for Mental Health Professionals
Negative reviews from patients are not the easiest to reply to, but your response plays an essential role in strengthening your online reputation. By acknowledging feedback (and well), you validate your patients’ concerns. You show that you’re willing to work with them in finding a more positive conclusion to their issue, therefore rebuilding patient trust.
However, responding to online therapy reviews is significantly more challenging because you risk the patient’s right to confidentiality. Your response to bad review confirms that you have worked with the patient, which violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
So, the best way forward is to contact the patient through email or phone. Every situation must be given the following treatment:
- Assess: Before responding to counseling reviews, take some time to assess the situation first. According to MedPB, 95 percent of patient complaints result from miscommunication. Careful evaluation is key to creating a better response to a bad review and improving the patient experience.
- Empathize: It’s easy to get carried away when responding to Google or Yelp therapist reviews but allowing your emotions to take over only worsens an already critical situation. A negative review is typically an outcome of a patient feeling powerless. Look at the situation from their perspective and identify what your practice could have done differently.
- No excuses: If a mistake was made, focus on making it right with the patient and take the necessary steps to avoid future lapses.
If you’re unsure how to respond to a negative review that aligns with your industry’s ethical standards, you can seek the advice of reputation management consultants. These professionals specialize in healthcare reputation management and enable you to successfully navigate the complexities of review response in your niche.
Negative Review Response Examples
You can only post a standardized message on public online therapy reviews to avoid HIPAA violations. The example below gives you a good idea of the right response to bad review:
“As a mental health professional, I’m not able to reply to public reviews because I must provide full confidentiality to my clients. I encourage you to call me at [number] or email at [email] so we can resolve this matter.”
Here are some negative review response examples to improve patient experience and allow you to control the conversation better:
- Can you walk me through your visit, so I can understand the situation better?
- What would have happened during your last visit if it was up to you?
- What is the primary problem you are concerned about?
These are simple negative review response examples that don’t violate ethical codes and standards. If unsure, you can contact experts from online reputation management companies. They know the best ways to answer client complaints within the limitations of your practice.
Ethical Practices for Mental Healthcare Reputation Management
Mental health professionals are not only restricted from responding to Yelp therapist reviews, but they are also not allowed to gather reviews from previous patients. According to APA’s ethical principles and code of conduct, psychologists should not solicit online therapy reviews from clients because their particular circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence.
So, how can you establish a solid online presence through counseling reviews if you cannot respond or collect them? These steps comply with the ethical code for mental health professionals:
Utilize Review Sites
While you can’t control what’s written about you on online review sites, there are steps you can take to improve your online reputation.
- Explain why you can’t respond: Review sites like Google and Yelp allow you to edit information on your profile. They are the best place to explain ethical concerns about responding to Google and Yelp therapist reviews. Clarify that if there are any grievances, clients can contact you directly.
- Fill out your profile: Ensure that all information is filled out so people can get a better sense of your skills and practice philosophy.
- Study the site’s terms and conditions: Review sites won’t typically allow the removal of reviews, but it helps to know the exceptions. Hate speech or blatant inaccuracies are just the most common grounds for the removal of counseling reviews.
Monitor Your Practice
Continuously monitor your presence online to catch negative counseling reviews early. A simple way to do this is to Google yourself regularly. You can also use notification services such as Google Alerts, Mention.com or Talkwalker.com. These sites will alert you whenever someone mentions your practice online.
Review monitoring takes a lot of work and usually requires staff to conduct online checks for your practice regularly. You can also employ online reputation management companies to handle your review monitoring for you.
Sharpen Your Presence Online
The best way to establish your practice as a credible mental health professional is to use digital marketing methodologies to sharpen your online presence. The following are the internet marketing methods that psychologists should look into:
- Content writing: Author many blog posts, press releases and research, then publish them online. Putting out valuable content will establish your credibility in the online space and can improve patient trust.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Regular content posting enhances your SEO efforts, the digital marketing practice that elevates your position in online searches.
- Social media: You can share your written content and other published articles related to your field on social media to maximize your visibility.
Seek Support From Reputation Management Services
Don’t hesitate to reach out to professional reputation management consultants whenever you need help in your healthcare reputation management processes. These experts deal with reviews day in and day out and are knowledgeable in improving patient experience and rebuilding patient trust.
In addition, online reputation management companies know the importance of online reviews and have the latest reputation management tool to streamline your review management and response methods.
Although certain limitations face mental health professionals in terms of review solicitation and responses, proactive review management is still possible.
The team at Rize knows the importance of online reviews to the success of your practice. We handle review responses with absolute sensitivity and care. We don’t rely on automated responses in our reputation management services – only humans are behind every reply. Our specialists also utilize the industry’s best reputation management tool to monitor online conversations about your practice, allowing you to take the necessary actions before bad reviews do irreversible damage to your reputation.
Contact us today and take charge of your digital presence.