If you’re a therapist, you know how important it is to get good reviews from your clients or patients. But did you know that Google reviews are also important?
In fact, Google reviews have a strong impact on your local search engine rankings and how your practice is displayed in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs).
About Asking for Reviews & HIPAA Compliance
As a mental health professional, its important to earn reviews in an ethical, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant way. It can be challenging to understand which details are considered electronic protected health information or ePHI.
Most of the time, messages that ask for a review include individually identifiable information and must be protected. If this identifiable information isn’t properly secured, the sent message will be in violation of HIPAA.
However, we must take considerations a step further when it comes to mental health patients or clients:
About Reviews & Mental Health Patients
As stated here, “the following health organizations don’t approve soliciting reviews, endorsements, or testimonials of current patients or anyone, because patients are at a high risk of being influenced. Mental health patients are at high risk of feeling pressured that if the patient doesn’t give a good review, the patient won’t get the care the patient needs – or because the patient may be vulnerable in some other way.”:
- The American Psychological Association Ethics Code
- The National Association of Social Workers Ethics Code
As you can see, asking a client for a review violates the ACA & NASW ethics codes.
As part of the mental health community, what you can do is ask for character references in the form of a review from friends, family, peers, and vendors you work with.
About Responding to Reviews & HIPAA Compliance
If a client or patient leaves you a review or responds to a review and includes information about their medical conditions, treatments, session or appointment-related information, you can’t acknowledge them.
For HIPAA compliance reasons, you cannot acknowledge their visit or the specifics. An example of a HIPAA-compliant message could be something like “We really appreciate your review.” It may seem impersonal, but the law is the law, and you face huge fines if you disobey it.
If you’d like to give a more sincere reply, we recommend reaching out privately through a HIPAA-compliant email or messaging system.
Please note that this information is not intended as legal advice. You should consult a lawyer if you have questions about online reviews and compliance.
How to Ethically Get Google Reviews for Your Therapy Practice
Here are some reliable, ethical ways to get more Google reviews for your therapy practice:
Make It Easy to Leave Reviews
Making it easy for clients to leave Google reviews for your mental health practice is essential to earning more positive reviews, improving online reputation, and boosting your therapy practice’s SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.
While you can’t ethically solicit a review when it comes to a mental health patient or client, you can still provide instructions or links to leave a review such as on your practice website.
Sharing a link on your site to your Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) is recommended to make it easy to quickly and easily complete the review process.
It’s also important to make sure that the link you provide is up-to-date and accurate. You can do this by regularly checking your Google Business Profile for any changes or updates.
Managing Negative Reviews
As a therapist, you know that negative reviews can be damaging to your business. Not only can they hurt your online reputation, but they can also cause people to hesitate before choosing you as their therapist.
While its exciting and beneficial to receive a positive review, it is likely that you will receive a negative review eventually.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the impact of negative reviews. The first approach is to respond quickly and politely to negative reviews. Thank the reviewer for both positive or negative feedback and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
However, when it comes to online or Google reviews for therapists and mental health professionals, this is another situation to make sure you are handling in an ethical, HIPPA-compliant way. Please see the information at the top of this article.
Additionally, you can reach out directly to the reviewer via a secure messaging system, email, or phone call to try and resolve any issues they may have had. This can help turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one, and it also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the client’s perspective.
Furthermore, consider proactively asking your clients for feedback after their appointment – this can help identify any underlying problems regarding mental health care or customer service before potentially leading to a negative review.
Responding promptly to Google reviews is an important part of maintaining a good online presence for not just mental health professionals, but all businesses with an online presence.
As long as its ethical and HIPAA-compliant, a quick response helps to show potential clients that you care about their feedback and take it seriously, which can help to make your private practice more attractive.
Set aside time each day to read and respond to reviews. Even if it’s just a simple “Thank you for your feedback!” reply, it can make a big difference in how people perceive your therapy or counseling practice.
Moreover, responding quickly and professionally to both positive and negative Google reviews can help to maintain your reputation and ensure that future clients have a positive experience.
Thank Your Clients
Thanking your clients for leaving a review is always a nice touch. It shows them that you appreciate their feedback and that their opinion matters to you.
You can thank them directly in your response as long as its a HIPPA-compliant message. You could also consider sending a surprise special offer or discount to those who have left reviews to show them how much they are appreciated.
Regardless of how you choose to thank your clients, make sure that it’s genuine and heartfelt – this will go a long way in building positive relationships with potential and existing clients.
Since Google reviews are public, potential clients will also see that you take your practice and client feedback seriously. This will help them make an informed decision and feel more at ease when considering your mental health services.
Start Earning More 5-Star Google Reviews Today
Google reviews can have a big impact on your therapy practice’s success. It is important to ensure that you are providing great customer service and mental health care, actively collecting feedback from your clients, and earning Google reviews in an ethical, HIPPA-compliant manner to achieve a strong online reputation and continued practice growth.
With the right approach, you can earn more Google reviews, boost your therapy practice’s SEO, build trust among potential clients, and get more clients in the process.
Want Help Growing Your Private Practice?
At Therapy Flow, we coach and support hundreds of practice owners with their marketing and sales efforts, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, SEO, operations, and sales.
We help private practice owners go from zero to full caseload or scale to 6-7 figures.
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