Negative online reviews can impact any doctor’s credibility and ignoring or mishandling such reviews only results in matters getting worse. If faced with a situation where one of your patients has posted a negative review about your services, here’s what you can do:
1. Do not ignore them: Ignoring a negative review can further disappoint or upset the patient. It also projects an impression of apathy. If you see a negative review, post a short response to show that you have made a note of the problem raised and are analysing it. The response should NOT convey your acceptance of mistake at this stage.
2. Move the conversation offline: Try to identify the reviewer and move the conversation offline. Reach out to the disgruntled party over the phone or through email. Promise them better service or remedial offers.
3. Be polite, and if needed, apologise: Never post an angry response to the reviewer. Politeness is the key to solving this problem. And if there is any evidence that the patient’s complaint is valid, do not hesitate to apologise. Tell the reviewer what steps you will take to ensure that the problem is never repeated in the future.
4. If everything else fails, hire professionals to do the damage control: Professional image management and PR companies can help mitigate a potential disaster and turn it into an image-boosting exercise. These agencies and professionals are worth the money they charge.
Once the grievance has been taken care of, the reviewer can be incentivised to post a follow-up comment stating that the problem was a misunderstanding or that it was taken care of to their satisfaction.
Negative online reviews can be acted upon to change perceptions, streamline processes, and educate staff on possible pitfalls. Use the opportunity as an image-building exercise.