With the majority of patients likely finding you via the Internet and social media, your practice’s online reputation matters now more than ever. Since it is nearly impossible to please everyone all of the time, negative online reviews may happen. When they do, view them as an opportunity to bring attention to your practice’s many positive qualities and a chance to improve the practice in order to prevent recurring mistakes or complaints.
When responding to negative reviews, there are three important factors to keep in mind.
- General is better. Briefly acknowledge the patient and the issues at hand, and then deal with any specifics within the confines of a private conversation (whether it be in person or over the phone).
- Never be defensive. Even if the patient is misinformed or incorrect, online the patient is always right, even if you disagree.
- Encourage conversation. It is hard to get entire thoughts and emotions out in just a few words via the Internet. Call the patient and talk through the issue. This will allow you to salvage and foster the relationship, and learn from the experience to ensure it never happens again.
Here is an example of a negative review response, to use as a general template:
“We appreciate hearing your feedback and we apologize that you didn’t have a good experience at our office. We would love the opportunity to talk with you. We will do our best to contact you as soon as possible so that we can make things right.”
Of course, your specific response may vary based on your practice culture and what you feel comfortable posting.
Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Monitor your reviews on a weekly basis and respond as needed. Follow these general guidelines and your online presence will continue to flourish!