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Handling A Bad Online Review Of Your Medical Practice

Dr. Lawerence Broder of Beleza Med Spa in Austin, TXGuest Post by Dr. Lawerence Broder of Beleza Med Spa in Austin, TX

Online review sites have done a lot for promoting practices for many doctors who have worked hard to establish a good reputation among themselves and their staff. Unfortunately they can also do a lot of damage when vindictive or disappointed patients go out of their way to leave negative reviews on these sites; some true statements of less than stellar service and other negative reviews that aren’t quite accurate. It seems that those who have a complaint are twice as likely to make the effort to make their grievances known so learning to handle these bad reviews and perform the proper damage control is essential to keeping your practice in good standing.

As mentioned, there are generally two types of negative review circumstances, one in which the patient or consumer has a valid, accurate complaint for a service that was less than what it should have been and they were let down in receiving care that was less that you hope for from your staff. Then there are those whose expectations are probably not in alignment with what you provide as a practice and may have unreasonable demands or are easily aggravated.

When a client has been let down by an off day at your practice, the best move is to take responsibility for the situation sincerely and offer both an apology as well as a remedy for the disappointing service. Recognize that replying to a negative review is often an opportunity to prove your genuine interest in your patients by responding to their complaints. Those who have a legitimate complaint should be handled professionally and an offer for a redo might be suggested. Some irrational complaints are bound to occur, but this still provides an opportunity to respond with a level head and a rational comment so that others who might come across the review can judge for themselves between the two comments. Regardless of the nature of the complaint, even if it’s completely absurd, be sure to respond to show that your practice hears the complaints and feedback of their clients regardless.

It’s important to maintain brand consistency when responding to reviews online by responding with a name that coincides with the practice instead of your own personal account or name. The name you respond with should show the name of your practice as well as your title as the owner or main practitioner. If you have someone else who manages your social media accounts on your behalf, make sure they login with the appropriate account before posting.

Work towards transparency in all your online messages and responses. Instead of working to hide any negative feedback (which can make it seem as though you’re brushing negativity under the rug), respond professionally and resolve matters as they come up. This will help in building a reputation as a trustworthy practice that provides top notch service and fixes their mistakes when necessary.

Dr. Lawrence Broder is a cosmetic surgeon and founder of Beleza Med Spa in Austin, TX. Dr. Beleza now has 5 locations in the area and is one of the most successful medical spas in Austin.

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Reader Comments (6)

Everyone gets them. It's how you deal with them that can turn this into a real benefit, or an albatross around your neck.

09.3 | Unregistered CommenterJSDM

Really there is a third as we had in my area. A local spa took to the notion of writing scathing reviews of physicians and nurses in the area. The person never had the nerve to declare their identity but wrote such things as this doctor was snorting cocaine in a back room, I saw this as I walked down the hallway. In another review they wrote that the doctor was a bigot and do not make an appointment if you were a certain descent.

All of these were posted on an internet site and there is little one can do because of the laws protecting these sites. Basically anyone can post anything about you and as long as the site did not compose the letter themselves they are held harmless so forget about suing the sites , google , FB etc.

It really makes on line reviews worthless until there is a means of validating the posts.

09.3 | Unregistered Commenterburned

Sorry to hear that Burned... There are certainly lots of problems with the internet but trying to identify everyone isn't going to happen and you wouldn't want it to. (Try living in the UK and expressing an opinion for example.) Free speech is protected but only as long as it's an "opinion". Your comment crosses the line even in the US. What you are describing is called "Libel" in the US and there are remedies for that. (Loosely applied "Libel" is stating something disparaging as fact in order to harm someone's reputation with the knowledge that it is a lie.)

Libel example: I saw Dr. White snorting cocaine. (If untrue)
Free speech example: Dr. White looks like he snorts cocaine.

This issue is something that many clinics deal with... I wish that this site would put together some course on how best to deal with these issues... I'd take it since this is now a cost of doing business.

Interesting... Haven't run into this yet but I'm new. It will only be a matter of time I'm sure. (I'd like more info on this too.)

09.4 | Unregistered CommenterReMD

This seems to come up every so often. I've heard of physicians or clinics being brutally hammered and accused of all sorts of things by competitors (many of those being other physicians). This has always happened with competitors bad-mouthing others, the internet just gives those slurs greater reach and staying power.

09.4 | Unregistered CommenterCresusDo

My 2 cents: Some people are just bad actors and will constantly try to hurt you and your business. It's often the case that these nefarious types are hurting for business and on their way out, trying to hurt your reputation to steal a patient here or there. I've found that if you can just stay above the fray and wait that they'll soon be out of business.

However, there is another type; the physician who feels that they "own this market" in their area and the thought that someone may be taking business away from them. These guys are the ones that are the more insidious. They generally drop hints to their existing patients that they've 'heard stories' or 'they're being sued" about competitors and let the rumor mill go to work... It's just human nature. The internet just makes it more accessible.

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