How to handle negative feedback.

Negative Feedback: Handling a Bad Review in 8 Easy Steps

Did you know that 47 percent of consumers say a physician’s reputation matters? Or that a whopping 88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Online reviews can increase search rankings and impact the number of individuals who visit your practice. If you’ve received negative feedback online, don’t panic! Here’s how to handle a bad review in eight simple steps.

1. Respond quickly

Responding promptly to negative feedback shows you care about the patient and want to rectify the problem. So keep an ear to the ground! Online reputation monitoring tools crawl the web and notify you when someone has reviewed your practice. Then you can act quickly. Replying to a complaint in a speedy time frame could placate an angry patient and turn the entire situation around.

2. Discuss the problem in private

Have you received negative feedback that could damage your reputation? Evaluate the patient’s complaint and respond appropriately. While it might be tempting to refute the claims in the heat of the moment, don’t. Instead try to pause, take a deep breath and work out how to navigate the negative. Ask the patient to contact you by phone and discuss the problem in private. Although other people won’t be able to hear your side of the story, they’ll know you tried to fix the issue.

3. Encourage your patients to leave good reviews

If more people leave positive feedback about your practice online, the good will soon outweigh the bad. Encourage patients to post a positive review on the web if they are satisfied with the service they received. You can ask for reviews via email or post a message on your website. Don’t think it’s worth the hassle? Good reviews attract more visitors to your site and boost sign-ups. In fact, a massive 90 percent of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions.

4. Build a social following

In 2015, Google placed a greater emphasis on social signals — likes, shares, and comments from platforms like Facebook and Twitter — to determine search rankings. While online reviews are still important, you can build a following on social media and regain control of your online reputation. Social networking is a powerful way to market your practice on the web. You can attract new consumers to your website with high-impact content. Plus, you can communicate with patients on your social pages.

5. Take ownership

If bad feedback was justified, perhaps due to a small mistake you made, fix the problem. Reply to the complaint and lay down the facts. Holding your hands up when you’ve made an error is never easy. However, prospective patients who see your response will know that you tried to put the situation right. If the person who left the original complaint wants to take the matter further, ask them to contact you by phone. Then, try to resolve the issue away from the pubic forum.

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6. Contact the review website

If you feel that a review is unfair, or was posted by a rival practice trying to damage your reputation, communicate with the review site. Ask them to delete the post. This can be tricky — especially when large review sites are reluctant to delete reviews — but there are lots of cases when a business owner has successfully removed unfavorable feedback. If the comments are particularly damaging, this approach may be worth the effort.

7. Ask a patient to remove negative feedback

Research shows that 39 percent of consumers would change their mind about buying a product or service if a business had three negative reviews. If you don’t want to jeopardize your overall rating on a review site, asking someone to remove poor feedback can quickly solve the problem. Perhaps a patient was just having a bad day, or, now that you’ve given your account of what happened, the reviewer realizes he or she acted too hastily.

8. Don’t let a bad review get to you

Finally, try not to let negative feedback ruin your day. A particularly nasty complaint might read like a personal attack, but as long as the review is genuine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Who knows, you might even learn something from your feedback and make changes to your workflows or customer service processes.