There are two types of fake patient reviews: the positive ones and the negative ones. Now, you may be thinking: “A fake positive review isn’t that bad, right?” After all, the more positive reviews you have the better – right?
Yes – unless they’re fake. Little by little, Google is learning how to decipher between accounts and businesses with a dubious review history. However, this process is still imperfect and leaves gaps for fake accounts to damage the reputation of honest businesses.
Some companies, both in healthcare and other industries, have taken to purchasing fake reviews to boost their ratings in an attempt to draw more real customers in. If a practice has dozens of good reviews all from blank accounts with only one review, for example, it may look like a great practice at first until you realize that these may be fake positive reviews. As Google slowly zeroes-in on these unethical practices, these companies may get bumped from their search page rankings. That’s why fake positive reviews can be just as damaging as the negative ones. Instead, we always recommend working with your patients to improve your online reputation.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the more malicious variety of fake reviews – the negative ones. Inherently, we know that anything negative is bad, but sometimes real negative reviews can shed some light on real issues that your patients are facing. Whether they’re addressing a problem with your appointment system, staff, the facility itself, or even you, these real negative reviews could provide you with the chance to improve and grow.
But the fake negative reviews? Those are different – very different.
These reviews often attack the personal character or education of the provider and “document” harrowing stories of what, in reality, would be considered medical malpractice via their online review. These are attention-grabbing, often in all caps (hey, FAKE NEWS does make you pay attention, right?), and aimed directly at getting people in research-mode to move on and not make that appointment.
If you aren’t careful, fake negative reviews can bring down the rating of a good office before you know it. At RepCheckup, we’ve seen clients of ours, who are accomplished practitioners with hundreds of happy patients, be hit with multiple fake reviews overnight or in a short amount of time. Without a reputation management system put in place, and active efforts to get true positive reviews, these attacks can really hurt and result in less patients making appointments.
Getting negative reviews from mysterious “patients” online can be a confusing time, so you may be asking yourself who are these people coming after you and what can you do about it.