Are You Prepared for Negative Online Reviews?

We all look at online reviews when we want to pick the best restaurant, the best plumber, the best hotel and the best dentist.  Used to be word of mouth was the biggest determiner in gaining new patients but latest research points to online searches and reviews.  More like crowdsourcing for answers to picking the best providers of services and products.

What tips could there be to preventing negative reviews of your practice or your business?

  1.  Let’s start with the best care and customer service possible.  If you treat the patient or customer with respect and give them the product and service they want in the most professional manner, in turn, they will give you a great review.   Let’s take Jake, a new patient, who showed up on time and had filled out the paperwork online and was ready to be seated.  However, after the initial, “Hello”, he was ignored and left in the reception room for 30 minutes.  He had to get back to work so inquired at the desk.  He was told “We are sorry, we got behind with an emergency, you were a bit early, we will be with you shortly.” “Shortly” was another 10 minutes.

Jake’s online comment included the fact that he was left in the reception room for 30 minutes with no one telling him they would be late seeing him.

  1.   Another tip is to never give a reward or incentive to a customer or patient for a complimentary review online.  This is just not ethical.
  2.  Realize that 100% praising and positive online reviews looks fake to most people.  It is better to have more positive than negative and it does depend on the severity of the breach.  Having a mix of reviews gives more authenticity to the review process.
  3.  Never engage an angry reviewer with a war of words online.  This is not a win- win situation.  If you know who the person is, send an apology and a legitimate reason for what happened.  This can help the situation.   Restaurants who have bad service or a bad meal will often offer a meal replacement voucher.  Healthcare we cannot do that but can offer better service next time.

Monitoring online reviews and responding positively should be a system that someone in the practice oversees.  What you don’t want is to not know how your practice or business is being viewed by your customers and patients.



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