If you follow our blog, you know that we are huge fans of reputation marketing for physical therapy private practices. It’s one of the few ways small practices can differentiate themselves and compete with the large corporations and hospitals.
Sometimes practices, and in this case E-rehab.com, are victims of fraudulent reviews though. Below is a case study from a recent experience of ours and some thoughts on how you can turn lemons into lemonade 😊 .
Rarely is a Business or PT Practice Immune to Fake Reviews and Spam Bots
Recently, we were the target of a fraudulent, negative review from someone by the name of Javelle Avant. If you’d like to read my previous post on the value of negative reviews, click here.
Here’s the rating and review:
Readers See Through Fake Reviews
One look at this review and you can tell it has no merit, but why would I say this? Well, let’s break down a rating and review into its components…all the different parts that consumers assess when judging the value of a rating and review.
There’s the rating – a 1-star rating, as it stands on its own, gives a reader a negative first impression. However, the negative rating is an opportunity for the reader to gather a different perspective from someone that may have had a bad experience. How do they do this? They read the text of the review.
The Review – The review is the written feedback provided by the consumer. In our case, this one says, “Don’t know anything”. Does this really provide any information that would help a prospect make a better buying decision? I would contend that the feedback of this review is no help at all…which isn’t surprising because it’s fake/fraud.
What You Should Do First
The first thing you want to do is report the review to Google. Don’t get your hopes up though, Google rarely takes down negative reviews. There’s no reason you can’t report it a second or third time either and choose a different reason. In my experience, Google will not respond.
To report a negative review, go to the negative review, click on the 3 dots to the right of the reviewers name and click Report Review.
Next, you want to choose why you are reporting the negative review to Google. In my experience, there isn’t one that’s better than another.
After you report the review, Google should get back to you within three business days. Again, unless it’s an obvious, egregious violation of their terms and conditions, they are unlikely to remove it. If you’d like to learn more about their review policies, you can click here.
Next, There’s The Opportunity to Respond and Educate
Here’s a quick video on how to respond to Google Reviews:
One of the best things you can do to combat a negative review is the following:
Take it seriously – a quick look at your Google Business Profile Insights demonstrates that your Google business listing (where positive & negative reviews are displayed) is seen hundreds if not thousands of times per month. For this reason, it’s important to respond to negative as well as positive reviews.
Sleep on it so emotions play a lesser role in your response – it’s normal for hardworking small business owners to emotionally react when they get a negative review ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS FAKE! When we received this negative review, my partner and a team member immediately asked, “Do you know who wrote this negative review?”
Respond professionally – in most cases, people that write negative reviews aren’t going to change their mind. The people that are going to read this review and your response, are prospects that want to do business with you. That being the case, you need to respond and keep it professional.
Offer to make things right – since you can never be certain that a negative review is from a real person (perhaps under a pseudonym/false identity) or it is a spam bot, you need to offer to make things right. If it is a real person, there is a chance that they will take you up on the offer. Add your name and phone number to the review if you want to make it easier for the person to contact you. In my experience and working with hundreds of other practices that get physical therapy reviews, they almost never will call you.
Use it to educate others and show other readers that you care about what customers think…if it’s a legitimate review – as I mentioned above, and in my previous post about negative reviews, you might choose to reply and educate others that are reading that reply.
This is how I replied to our negative review:
When a Negative Review Makes You Sour – Make Lemons Out of Lemonade
It’s a fact that sooner or later you are going to get a negative review. I feel for PT practice owners that work so hard to provide great care only to experience a fraudulent review.
Take a day to let the frustration wane, then report that negative review to Google and follow the advice above, and respond to it through your Google Business Provide
It’s what I had to do and you might have to do it in the future as well.
Thanks for reading – David Straight, DPT, Co-owner, Marketing Consultant