How To Respond To Negative Patient Reviews

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

We recently discussed how online reviews are used by potential patients and what their effect on a medical practice might be. In this article we will look at how to approach a negative online review of your medical practice, whether that review is in the form of a legitimate complaint or an angry rant. How you approach each can have an effect on your relationship with the reviewer, with other potential patients as well as the online reputation of your business.

Responding to Negative Reviews

In the past, if someone was unhappy with a product or service they would let their friends and family, maybe neighbors and coworkers, know about their experience. Today an angry customer is more likely to go to their social media account and tell everyone they know about their grievance all at once. Or they might go to an online review site, like or where the complaint could potentially be seen by thousands. So, what should you do so that the negative review does not translate into lost business for your practice?

Legitimate Complaints

You may run a tight ship, but that does not mean that things will not occasionally go wrong. A patient may feel like they were forgotten and made to wait for too long on a particularly busy day. An employee who had a bad day may have been short with a patient. Maybe your new EHR system was giving you trouble. The end result is that a patient had a bad experience at your practice and now wants to tell the world about it.

People reading online reviews to guide their decision are not looking for perfection. Generally, they want to visit a doctor’s office that that majority of its patients are happy with. If they do come across a negative review, they want to know that the business takes it seriously and takes corrective actions. Most experts will tell you that an appropriate and timely response to a legitimate negative online review is good for business. Think about these points if you encounter a negative online review of your medical practice:

Angry Rants

Online reviews have been known to be vulgar and crude at times. If you decide to respond directly to an angry or rude online review be sure to stick to the specific complaints, avoid sounding defensive and by no means should you write an angry response. Remember, that most readers will not dismiss your business based on a single bad review, no matter how angry it is. Try to turn it into a positive if possible.

However, if it is a particularly bad review consider asking to have it removed. This will likely require a little bit of research on your part. The first place to go is the site’s Terms of Service page. This will be a document spelling out what the site does and does not allow with respect to reviews posted by their users. Many sites prohibit exactly the kinds of things you will find in an angry business review: profanity; naming specific employees. If you find that the review does in fact violate the terms of service, bring it to the attention of the review website. A reputable site will respond to your request and remove the post.

Managing your online reputation takes just a little work. Be sure to read the reviews your practice is getting and decide each time how to respond. A negative review will not likely have a large impact on your business if the majority of your reviews are positive. On the other hand, angry or spiteful reviews are rarely legitimate, and attempting to have them removed is an appropriate response.

ProMD Medical Billing is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 866-960-9558 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.

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