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Let’s Talk Reputation Management: A Q&A with Whitney Salamone

Miranda Carney
Miranda Carney
Content Marketing Editor

1a21ad29-0257-462a-add5-30631fceac87Last week, we discussed the importance of engaging with your online reviews. This week, I sat down with our reputation management assistant, Whitney Salamone, who works one-on-one with facilities to help them respond to negative and positive user reviews.

Whitney received her Masters in Public Health from Boston University, concentrating in social and behavioral sciences with a specific focus on health communications. She went on to work with a research and consulting firm providing technical assistance to SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment grant recipients. She also provided direct service as a mental health coach before beginning her role in reputation management with American Addiction Centers.

To speak directly to Whitney, call 877-762-0281 for one-on-one help managing your facility’s online reputation.

Miranda Carney: Tell me about your position and what it entails. 

Whitney Salamone: As the reputation management assistant, my position is basically split into two different facets: one for Rehabs.com and our clients there, and one for American Addiction Centers. I deal with all of their external reviews. In terms of Rehabs.com and our clients, I work with the clients that the sales team sends to me, to help them better respond to their reviews, understand the best tactics, and help them acquire new reviews so they can get the best rating on their page possible. In terms of AAC, I respond to all the external reviews we get. I mostly focus on the negative reviews but I try to respond to all if possible.

MC: What exactly is reputation management?

WS: Reputation management is basically putting your best foot forward to manage what people are saying about you online. When you’re responding to a review, it may look like you’re responding to one person, but you’re really putting information out there to control the narrative about your facility.

MC: What’s the most common concern or question you get from facilities that might have negative reviews out there?

WS: One of the most common questions I get from facilities is if they should just ignore the negative reviews and focus on the positive reviews. They think that engaging is just going to start a “he said, she said” thing, and it’s not going to make a difference. But it has been shown when consumers are looking to make a purchasing decision, or in this case, choosing a treatment center, they really do look at reviews. When you’re responding to those reviews, you control the narrative. So if someone says something negative about your facility, you can respond back with what you want the consumer to see.

MC: What’s the best thing a facility can do when they have negative user reviews?

WS: Respond as soon as possible, always thank the person whether it is positive or negative. Thank the person for taking the time to write the review, and be grateful that they wanted to share their experience. I never argue with someone. Their experience is their experience and they’re entitled to share that and their opinion, so I would never say something like no that didn’t happen, or this is a lie. You just state the facts. So if someone says, you don’t offer any holistic offerings, or I didn’t get to participate in any of them, I would say something to the effect of “our facility offers equine therapy and yoga three times a week” so that way you’re stating the facts and not arguing. And then always end on a positive note, thanking them for taking the time to write the review, and wishing them the best of luck.

MC: So you said to never get into an argument or tell a reviewer they lied, but what if someone is on a site like Yelp and they write something libelous that you know isn’t true?

WS: People on the internet are definitely going to say things that are not true, and people reading reviews are smart and they are well-aware of those things. But like I said, this is your opportunity to control the narrative and you don’t want to look petty or argumentative. As I mentioned before, the main purpose of reputation management and responding to the reviews is showing the consumers as a whole what you are about, not necessarily responding to that one person to try to ease their complaint.

MC: Is it important to respond to positive reviews too?

WS: Of course, you always want to be grateful. Those positive reviews are really going to help your business thrive since so many people make decisions based on them. The only reason I would prioritize negative reviews is that reviews play such a strong role. You want to counteract the words people are saying right away.

MC: What would you say to someone who thinks their reputation is completely unmanageable? They’ve just gotten too many negative reviews and they just think there’s no way they can get out of it?

WS: It’s never too late to start. Of course, sometimes it’s going to be impossible to go back and respond to the hundreds and hundreds of reviews you’ve received – some good, some bad – but you can’t necessarily worry about that. Slowly set goals for yourself: how many reviews you want to respond to each week, how far back you need to go to make sure that the appearance to the consumer looks good and is very visible. If you don’t have time to go back, just start now. There’s no reason not to. It doesn’t take that much time once you’re on top of it. If you get ten reviews a day, it’s very easy to respond to 10 reviews a day.

MC: Are their certain websites that are more important for treatment facilities to be active on than others, or is it important to be active on all of them?

WS: There’s definitely some top ones you want to respond to. Rehabs.com is obviously very highly ranked and has great SEO value for treatment facilities. It is also situational. You want to prioritize the ones you have lower ratings on to get those ratings up. In general, you want to have all your bases covered across review sites.

MC: What about facilities with small staffs? How should they prioritize reputation management and how much time will it take out of their day-to-day schedule?

WS: It can definitely be difficult. There’s a lot of chaos in treatment facilities often, and obviously, clinical matters take priority since they have a lot of clients and alumni. If you can just dedicate a team of one to two people who maybe work in the admin side of things or have close contact with clinical care, have them dedicate a couple hours a week to start. Just once a week, go through all the reviews received in that week and go back through and respond to them. Especially for the smaller facilities, that would be sufficient.

MC: What is the importance of acquiring new reviews?

WS: Putting in the effort for review acquisition is incredibly important. That’s another major component of reputation management. It’s not only responding to reviews, but it is getting good reviews in. There are a lot of tactics you can use to do that. At Rehabs.com and through ClientReach, we give all of our clients a survey link that they can send out to alumni, which allows an efficient way for alumni to write a review and give feedback to the facility. It’s really simple to do and there are so many avenues you can send that link throughout the internet.

MC: What’s the benefit of being on ClientReach?

WS: Being on ClientReach is super, super helpful because you have a really easy and efficient way to respond to your reviews. All of your reviews on Rehabs.com are very easily displayed for you in one area. You’re able to see them all and you’re able to respond to them all right through ClientReach which makes it so efficient and fast.

MC: You talked about being able to help clients respond to reviews. How do you help them?

WS: We have a lot of resources they can use. We have our reviews kit, which maps out exactly a formula of how to respond to reviews. I’ll do an onboarding process with them, that will walk through that guide, and how to respond to them. I always tell clients that they are more than welcome to call me so they can call me or email me with any kinds of concerns about responding to a review. While I can’t tell them exactly what to say, I can help look at a review and draft a formula on what they should address. I can read over their responses for them and I can help them brainstorm ways to acquire new reviews so those negative ones do not play such an impact on their rating.

To speak directly to Whitney, call 877-762-0281 for one-on-one help managing your facility’s online reputation.

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