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Reacting to Unfavorable Reviews

We recently talked about how prospective patients use online reviews and what impact they may have on a medical practice. This article will discuss how to respond to a critical internet evaluation of your medical practice, whether it is an honest critique or an incendiary tirade. Your relationship with the reviewer, with other possible patients, and your company's internet reputation can all be impacted by how you respond to each.

In the past, if someone was dissatisfied with a good or service, they would likely tell their friends, family, neighbors, and maybe coworkers. Today, a displeased consumer is more likely to get into their social media account and broadcast their complaint to everyone they know at once. Or they might use a review website like or, where thousands of people could possibly read the complaint. What then should you do to prevent the bad review from causing your practice to lose clients?

Authentic Complaints

Even if you have a tight ship, mistakes might nevertheless happen from time to time. On a very busy day, a patient can feel as though they were ignored and kept waiting for too long. It's possible that a disgruntled employee was rude to a patient. Perhaps you were having issues with your new EHR system. The end result is that a patient wants to spread the word about their unpleasant experience at your office.

People who use online reviews as a decision-making tool are not seeking perfection. They typically seek for medical facilities where the vast majority of clients are satisfied. They want to know that the company takes unfavorable reviews seriously and responds appropriately if they do come across them. The majority of professionals would advise you that it is advantageous for your organization to respond appropriately and quickly to a real unfavorable online review. If you come across a critical online review of your medical practice, keep the following things in mind:

  • Be Prompt — A prompt answer conveys that there is nothing to conceal, that your business takes the complaint seriously, and that you want to make things right. Take the time to ensure that your response is truthful and insightful, though.

  • Apologize- Remind yourself that we are talking about a bad review that you have confirmed is real and apologize. Avoid coming across as trying to shift blame. The majority of online reviewers will value a business owner's openness and willingness to improve their operation.

  • Keep it Simple - Often, all that is required is an apology and an invitation to the patient to continue the conversation. Be careful to state who you are and what role you play in the business. If you're going to respond to the complaint online, stick to the precise points that were raised and succinctly outline the solutions.

  • Determine whether the allegation is genuinely a persistent problem in your practice and take appropriate action. Call the accountable staff members' attention to it. Inform your staff of the significance of any changes to your practice's internet reputation.

Rants Intense

Online evaluations can have a reputation for being crude and obscene. If you choose to respond directly to a harsh or furious online review, make sure to focus on the specific complaints, avoid sounding defensive, and under no circumstances should you write an angry answer. No matter how irate the review may be, keep in mind that most readers won't judge your company only on one negative review. If you can, try to find a way to make it better.

However, if it's an especially negative review, think about requesting its removal. You'll probably need to do a little amount of research for this. The website's Terms of Service page should be your first stop. This will be a statement outlining what the website does and does not permit in terms of user-posted reviews. Many websites forbid using profanity or mentioning specific employees, both of which are common in irate customer reviews. Bring it to the review website's notice if you discover that the review does, in fact, violate the terms of service. A trustworthy website will comply with your request and take down the message.

A small amount of effort is required to manage your online reputation. Always consider how to respond after reading the feedback your practice receives. If the majority of your reviews are good, a negative review is unlikely to have a significant effect on your company. A proper response is to try to have angry or spiteful reviews deleted because they are rarely legitimate.

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