As a Doctor, what should you do if you receive a bad online review? The very first thing to do is ...nothing...that is... until you cool off. Our businesses and reputations are like our children, attack one or the other and we want to attack back but that’s a really bad idea.
Reputation management is about keeping your reputation clean and professional. If you attack the person that left you a bad review, even if they are totally wrong and unreasonable, you will damage your reputation forever. Remember that once its on the Internet, it’s there forever. Cooler heads will always have a better reputation online.
Whenever something happens that angers you, the best advice is to put some distance between the issue that upset you and your response. This is especially true with reputation management and bad online reviews.
Think about a time when something really angered you, but after you had a chance to fully examine the situation, your viewpoint changed or perhaps the way you responded changed. This may be the case with a bad online review. Don’t jump to the conclusion that you are absolutely right and have done nothing wrong. It’s almost impossible to resolve a conflict unless you see both sides and do your best to take responsibility for both sides.
Properly addressed, a bad review can be a great PR opportunity.
Whether you’re dealing with a totally unreasonable person with a fabrication or a legitimate complaint, the handling starts the same way.
The first thing to do is to acknowledge the situation and then take it offline. Remember that anyone that posts a bad review is attempting to damage your business or personal reputation. Don’t help them by getting into conversation online, it always makes you look bad. If this person was truly interested in resolving the conflict in a mature manner, he or she would likely have addressed it with you, or your staff, personally rather than in the court of public opinion.
An example of how to handle a bad review
“I’m sorry to hear that you’re unhappy. My goal and the goal of everyone at our practice has always been to do everything in our power to ensure that every patient has a great experience with us. Please contact me personally at the office and let’s work together to be sure that this situation is resolved. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention so we can properly address this situation and make things right.”
Notice that we don’t say something like - “I’m sorry you feel as if you had a bad experience.” This makes you look bad as you are negating the bad experience and antagonizing the reviewer. A response like this will most certainly elicit another response from the reviewer and it won’t be good for you.
Now, some Doctors are going to say, there’s no way I want to respond like this. I understand that it may seem like you’re being a bit too nice to someone that tried to damage your practice or personal reputation. This response is more for others that will see this in the future than the person that attacked you online. Remember that your goal is to manage your reputation, not make the other person wrong. In our example, you absolutely look like the bigger person that really wants this person to be happy.
It’s hard for an attacker to keep coming at you online when you have responded so nicely and professionally. In the extreme case that someone does continue to attack, do not respond again. A person that continues to attack is simply trying to lure you into a bad situation online so they can make you look terrible. The very best way to handle this type of attacker is to be totally bored with that person. They will eventually get tired and go away. This kind of attacker is transparent to most others looking at your reviews and will be the one that looks badly online. In fact, very often, if you look at the other reviews that this type of person has shared online...they’re all pretty similar.
On the other hand, if you are seeing a number of bad reviews, you may want to examine what you are doing that may be causing the issues. It’s very hard to handle 20 bad online reviews no matter how nicely you respond to each one. Look for trends in the reviews and consider changes in your practice that may help with diminishing the bad reviews.
What can you do to manage your reputation on a daily basis?
The best thing you can do to keep your reputation strong is to keep a steady flow of positive reviews showing up online. Make sure that you look good on Healthgrades, Vitals, Wellness.com and the other healthcare review sites. Reviews are most effective in the first 90 days that they appear online, so keep adding reviews.
Many potential patients search the big review sites to learn about you before they decide whether you are the right provider for them or not. Having a large number of great reviews will outshine one or two that aren’t stellar.
The best way we have found to make this smooth and easy is to use the laptop we supply our clients to collect 4 and 5 star reviews while the patient is still in the office. The reviews go on your website and out to the major healthcare directories. They help your organic rankings and may add stars to your site in the search engine ranking pages.
If you would like assistance with reputation management or review collection. Reach out to us and we’ll show you how our clients do it with great success!