What’s up everybody, it’s Dr. Nick with LVRG Media! I want to talk to you about one of my least favorite topics. The three most avoidable reasons why chiropractors get one-star reviews on Google. Reviews should definitely be a part of any chiropractic marketing strategy. It’s my least favorite topic though because when you get that notification from Google My Business that you have a new review, you get all excited to see which of your favorite patients gave you five stars. Then when you open it up you see the dreaded one star and your heart just drops.
One-star reviews can come from lots of different factors that may not be in your control like staff member doing something out of your control or when a customer is just too difficult to please. Even though doctors don’t control all the reviews they get, there’s are some types that they can avoid.
Anything you can do to avoid a one-star review is worth it. It takes 80 five-star reviews to completely erase a one-star review. That is a lot of work, a lot of asking those people that that might be willing to give you those five stars. Anything you can do to avoid a one-star review is well worth the effort. Here are the three most avoidable ways to earn a one-start review.
1. Making People Wait
Many offices are just busy, and because of this some appointments might have a wait time.
If you do have people that wait when they come into the office to get adjusted, just make sure that you’re clearly establishing expectations upfront or consider adding more staff or reconfiguring your schedule. If it’s a chronic issue, they’re supposed to have a 3:15 appointment and you don’t ever get to them until 3:45, eventually you’re either gonna lose the patient or get a negative review.
New or prospective patients are much more sensitive to this, existing patients are more like to be…patient. Anything you can do to help a patient get into the exam room and start the check-in process is helpful. You might have a staff member who does a portion of the exam for you or takes some notes, whichever helps get the process going more quickly. Don’t let new patients wait longer than 10-15 minutes at most.
There are certain things where it’s just out of your control, we’ve all experienced those crazy days. Whenever I see the the negative reviews from a new patient, they usually have something to do with the doctor’s attitude. They felt the doctor was distracted or didn’t apologize, they didn’t recognize the inconvenience or the patient’s feelings. It gives off the impression that the doctor doesn’t care.
Just today I had a scheduled appointment for my car to get picked up for an oil change, something this company has done for me before multiple times. They’re always right on time. But today, they were supposed to meet me outside my house at 2:30. At 2:50 I started calling them, but couldn’t get a hold of anybody. I finally got a hold of someone who was going to find out where my service person was at. They hung up on me and I couldn’t get back in touch with them! It was just a terrible experience and I ended up having to wait for an hour when I thought it would just be a five minute errand.
I’m pretty easy going, if the guy would have been like overly apologetic or offered me a car wash I would have just moved on with my life, it’s not the end of the world. But the attitude that the guy gave me, he really did not care whether I was upset, and I was audibly upset over the phone. He could care less, he was just trying to move on with his day. That’s what you want to avoid. The doctor’s attitude is usually the make or break piece when it comes to whether or not someone leaves a review, especially if someone had to wait.
2. The Bait and Switch
This happens a lot with Facebook ads and Groupon ads. You always run the risk whenever you’re running a new patient special, that if the author is not 100% clear with language about the offer you can start to get into issues where somebody feels they got slighted somehow. Most of the time these patients weren’t even looking to become long-term patients, but you bring them in anyway and it just tends to create more problems than it’s worth.
Here’s my quick aside about Groupon. If offer a Groupon for a non-provider service, like CryoSauna, it’s very easy to them up. They experience it and there’s nothing really that they could get upset about. We delivered on the thing that we said we were going to deliver on. When you start to combine chiropractic care with a few other treatments like massage and occasional acupuncture, it adds in a layer of uncertainty that I think starts to become more of an issue.
Whatever you do on the first day with a new patient, you have to do that for the special you are offering, no matter the price. People don’t read the fine print, they don’t read all the bullet points. Following the standard process for specials will help eliminate those feelings that people think they’re being taken advantage of.
A big problem I see is trying to upsell after they come into the office. They see the $29 special and they’re halfway through the exam only to learn that X-rays are an additional $50. The special may have said, X-rays aren’t included, but, again, they didn’t read the fine print. They feel like you’re just getting them in there to sell them the X rays and all of a sudden the whole dynamic has changed. Even if you have an amazing script for this and you handle it perfectly 99% of the time, the other 1% is not worth it. The value of a patient is not in their Day One, it’s in securing them, and their family, as a lifetime patient. So make sure that whatever your special is, includes everything you do on day one.
The other thing I think really starts to create a problem is combining a chiropractic new patient special with massage and then hiding the massage behind this big long sales process. A lot of the people that sign up for those packages only care about the massage, they don’t care about the exam. They’re just taking advantage of the special because it’s cheaper than going to Massage Envy.
Don’t make them feel like they have to jump through hoops to do the thing that they actually want, which is part of the deal. It doesn’t matter how much it says it in the fine print, THEY DON’T READ IT. There are plenty of people who will be fine with the combined deal, but avoiding the one-star risk is worth making that a frictionless process.
The last thing I’ll say is people don’t have a sound idea of how insurance works. If you’re offering a $49 new patient special, and somebody comes in, and their copay is $20, I would explain to them all their billing options. People don’t want to feel like they’ve come in for one thing and then you go and hit up their insurance for a ton of money. Get all the dollar signs out of your head on day one. It should just be about the offer they took advantage of. It’s a fair exchange you both agreed to, do the thing you said you were going to do.
3. Hard Sales
The most avoidable reason chiropractors get one-star reviews on Google is hard sales. All chiropractors provide different types of care plans. Some are per visit, some offer monthly or yearly plans. And there really is a right way and a wrong way to sell care plan sales.
If you are doing hardcore sales, in the age of social media, it’s only a matter of time before you get the dreaded scam review. 10 or 15 years ago you could get away with more hardcore sales practices and people would tell a few friends about it afterwards, eventually to forget about it and move on with their lives. These days, however, no matter how many happy patients you have, bad reviews live on Google forever.
The problem is that those reviews are probably costing you a ton of silent money. Silent money is all those people that see those bad reviews and never even give you a chance. It’s the worst because you don’t even know that you’re missing out on it. They don’t call you to say they didn’t choose you because of bad reviews, they just call somebody else. You may never feel the sting of it, but I can promise you that there is money being left on the table and a lot of people are not getting the help they need.
No matter how nice you are, no matter how perfect you are, you’re gonna get some one-star reviews. No matter what the one-star review is about, always make sure that you’re reaching out to those people. A lot of the time it’s just miscommunication, but be proactive about it, be compassionate when someone is upset or angry, even if it’s not your fault. Even if you’re not in the wrong or they’re being unreasonable, try to work your way through it. You may be able to save the relationship. That’s really a valuable life lesson, if I do say so myself.