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Try as you may to take great care of your clients, there may be the occasional patient who just doesn’t connect with your office well. Unfortunately, the truth is, it’s almost impossible to make everybody happy. 

So, what should you do if you get a negative review online? Step One, don’t freak out. Studies show that having slightly less than 5.0 stars actually gives more credibility to your reviews than if all you have are only 5.0 star reviews. So, if you respond online, avoid the urge to challenge, confront, or discredit the reviewer immediately. Being nasty online will only pull both of you down a losing path.

Now, just because we said having below 5.0 stars rating adds credibility, let’s not get too carried away! Having a rating below 4.0 stars will disenchant up to 80% of the online consumers out there and it gets worse if your overall ratings is below 3.5 stars. (Source: ReviewTrackers

People who are anxious or looking to have high-risk procedures done, will actually seek out negative reviews to look for potential “red-flags” before they choose an office. If an office doesn’t respond to a negative review, it implies that either the office doesn’t care, or the review is true and the doctor doesn’t have a rebuttal or even make an effort to “correct” a negative situation. 

You should be responding to all reviews, especially any NEGATIVE review – and within 3 days.

How to respond to a negative review.

  1. If it appears to be a valid complaint, such as having to wait over an hour, a mistake in billing, or error in the appointment book, fear not. Stuff happens. People understand. Acknowledge that it happened, give a brief explanation that is not your typical policy or way of handling that aspect of the business. If you can refer to specific situation that probably caused it such as “We had three emergency patients walk in at the same time and my head assistant was out sick that day”, rational people can forgive that. If you are able to apologize for any inconvenience and offer some token of appreciation to them to smooth things out, now is the time to be a little extra generous publicly. 
  2. Look at each negative review as an opportunity to BUILD your reputation online. Own the review, but express that a “positive patient experience” is your number one focus and that you will do everything in your power to make it right with them. Offices that “go over the top” to make things right and “fix the problem” can potentially win back patients and impress online viewers.
  3. If you recognize the person who made the complaint, it is often best to call them on the phone and try to handle it “offline” first, if you think it might help them change their mind. They will see that there is a caring human being attached to their review who is interested in resolving their concerns and improving the situation. Study their complaint thoroughly from their perspective and be prepared to clarify anything and help make it “right” from their perspective. You may be able to have them delete or modify their review if you can make things right
  4. Unfortunately, because some platforms allow anonymity online, you may from time to time receive a “fake” review. This could be from a disgruntled ex-employee or even from a competitor from across town. If you truly believe the review is fake, you may be able to contact the platform that it is posted on and present your case. (“We don’t even do this procedure they describe”, or “This was an ex-employee, because only an employee would know this”, etc.) You may be able to flag it if it’s obvious and they may help you remove it. Obvious slanderous posts are sometimes automatically screened by the platform within 36 hours anyways! As many as 61% of reviews (both good and bad) for electronic products on Amazon are fake! (Source: Marketing Land.) It is estimated as much as 20% of the actual reviews online are not real clients! Wiser consumers are getting savvy to this. (Source: Reputation X)
  5. Finally, always take care of your clients. If you are defensive and harsh or attack them or ask them to do something that isn’t reasonable online, you will not look caring. If that is your current mindset, it might be a good idea to run your comments past a colleague or employee before posting it for feedback. Never post when you are angry!

The next best way to handle negative online reviews is to build more positive reviews online and bury those negative ones! Check out this article on The Number One Tactic to Get More Positive Reviews! Praze™ is here to help you do exactly that! Call us today at 888-587-0005, or schedule a demo or to learn more online at www.praze.com