June 4th, 2014

What Doctors Misunderstand About Negative Online Reviews




Recently a friend had a bad experience at a doctor’s office: they mixed up his chart and diagnosed him based on someone else’s tests. He’s young, very web savvy and he was understandably very upset by this. He logged into his Yelp account and submitted a negative review. When he went back to the doctor’s office, the staff told him they saw the negative review and treated him badly.

As a doctor or a staff member, getting a negative review can obviously be a serious matter. But what most professionals don’t understand is getting a negative review can be turned into an opportunity. An opportunity to:

• publicly show you care about your patients

• be seen more positively.


How? Here’s your recipe for “retribution” after a negative review:

1. If you can pinpoint the patient who left the negative review, address their concerns personally. Your negative review could be based on a simple misunderstanding.

If all goes well, you’re golden. Ask the patient if you can respond publicly on Yelp or whatever review site is applicable. (To be HIPAA compliant you may need consent from the patient.) This is a great opportunity to show you really care about your patients and about fixing problems responsibly.

2. If you have a lot of negative reviews and can’t seem to remedy the problems directly, your strategy is now a numbers game. Your objective: drown out the negative with positive. AKA make a campaign of encouraging satisfied patients to leave positive reviews.  This is the most common strategy used by consultants. But don’t stuff the ballot box! Most review sites are uncannily smart and will blacklist you if they think you are manipulating the system. Word to the wise.

3. Work toward remedying the main causes for negative reviews. This doubles as a great checkup for the health of your practice!

The main reasons for negative reviews are:

• Having to wait more than 15 minutes

• Getting less than 10 mins of the doc’s time

• Dealing with abrupt staff


Also consider: having a few negative reviews actually adds to the credibility of your practice. In other words, having all super positive reviews looks fake.

While dealing with negative reviews is no picnic, consider they could become relevant in a malpractice suit or in a case where the practice is being sold. So think ahead.

Start building a strong presence online now and any negative reviews will bounce off your armor.


POSTED BY Page Penguin AT 02:52 pm

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