Etna Interactive
709 Fiero Lane, Suite 43
/ San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Tel (866) 374-3762
Fax (805) 543-2014

Responding to Online Doctor Reviews

Did you know?

  • 3 in 4 patients will stay away from doctors if their online reputation isn’t great?
  • On the flip side, if visitors see nothing but 5-star reviews, they get suspicious.

So, what’s the goal with online reviews? Finding a balance. One bad review won’t kill you, but it can’t be your only review.

How do you handle negative reviews? As the ambassador of Google, Matt Cutts, says, “The answer to bad speech is more speech.” You likely won’t get your bad review removed, but taking part in the conversation is your contribution in the broader discussion about your reputation.

If you receive a negative review, it’s understandable that your immediate instinct will be to respond to the comment or simply ignore it. First, though, you should spend time summarizing the facts prior to responding or determining your next steps. Ask yourself the following questions:

What do you know or suspect about the reviewer? Is this person:

  • The Critical Reviewer: These are people who share constructive criticism with the office.
  • Crazy: As we like to say, crazy is as crazy does.
  • Deceptive: This could be competitors and disgruntled employees.

What is the nature of the content?

Determining whether the review is a result of customer service or clinical care will help determine your next steps. If it has something to do with clinical care, consult your attorney or medical malpractice carrier regarding how to respond to negative reviews.

What about the site where the comment appears?

Is it a search engine, review site, or forum? Make sure to learn the mechanics of the site to see whether you can contact the administrator to determine your next steps and understand what the review guidelines are.

Once these components have been outlined, respond to the bad review quickly, with kindness and compassion, because regardless of the issue, it was important enough for the patient to leave a review.

Learn more about what you should do in this video. In less than 15 minutes, you will learn:

  • How to forecast your response (hint — there are 5 courses of action)
  • The 2 reasons to remove a negative review
  • Response mechanics

Replying to reviews shows your online community that you care and are committed to your patients’ outcomes and customer service.


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