6 Important Tips That Doctors can Use to Address Negative Reviews Online

6 Important Tips That Doctors can Use to Address Negative Reviews Online

March 22, 20225 mins read

Key Takeaways

Reviews from customers or clients are very important for any business. After all, good reviews inspire trust and confidence, and help generate more business. Positive reviews are especially important when one is a doctor. The UK Local Consumer Research Survey 2020 puts the medical industry on the top of the list of industries where reviews are the most important.

Research also indicates that 84% people value online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations. Moreover, they only read 1–6 reviews to form an opinion about a healthcare practice. In light of this, receiving a bad or negative review can seem devastating. But, it doesn’t have to be. How doctors handle negative reviews makes all the difference. To know how to address negative reviews, keep reading.

Tips to tackle negative reviews 

Reply to all negative comments 

It may seem tempting to ignore the one-off negative comment about one’s services. However, doctors absolutely shouldn’t. The first step to addressing a negative comment is to reply to it. Not replying shows that the doctor doesn’t care about his or her patients.  

Further, doctors can take the time to draft a reply that follows this format. 

  • Acknowledge the problem.
  • Empathies with the patient.
  • State how the grievance will be addressed or how the problem will be rectified. [1]

Research has found that when doctors spend just 10 minutes a week on building their online presence and addressing feedback publicly, they can reduce the impact of negative comments by 70%.

Address Negative Reviews Online

Don’t obsess over stray negative comments 

If a healthcare practitioner receives mostly positive reviews and only a handful of negative ones, he or she shouldn’t worry. It happens to the best of doctors. As long as most patients are happy with a doctor’s services, their business will not suffer. The doctor will continue to attract more clients because of the quality of care provided. Also keep in mind that having only positive reviews may seem suspicious to prospective clients. Having negative ones in the mix can actually put patients at ease.

Highlight positive reviews 

If the practice is short-staffed on one day, it is possible that a doctor gets a negative review from a patient who had to wait longer than usual. In such a situation, explain the reason for the delay. But, also use the opportunity to highlight positive reviews. A doctor can do so on social media, through the official website, or other channels. Shift the conversation and draw more attention to the praise that that the clinic or practitioner has received in the past.

Don’t react when busy or tired 

Doctors are likely to snap, get angry or come across as defensive if they reply when they are busy or over-worked. It may also seem like they do not care and would like to simply move on as soon as possible. To make the reviewer feel heard, doctors should take some at the start of each day to reply to negative reviews calmly. Replying in this manner will go a long way in ensuring that the situation isn’t aggravated further.

Contact the reviewer 

Doctors are sure be extremely polite when responding to negative reviews. But, from a patient’s point of view, there is no way to know the other person’s tone when reading text on a screen. So, if the negative review is serious, it is best that the doctor call up the patient personally [2]. This will serve two purposes. 

  • It will show that they care about the patient’s experience enough to give it their personal attention.
  • It will help the doctor understand the events that transpired better and offer an ideal resolution.

Reply to negative reviews on time 

A delayed reply is as good as not replying. When doctors address a negative review months after it has been posted, they come across as a practitioner who doesn’t care enough. So, reply to negative comments as soon as possible. Apart from keeping existing patients happy, this will also impress prospective clients, as highlighted by a 2020 study. It found that 71% patients use online reviews as a way to find a new doctor. So, when they check reviews, they will see that the doctor prioritises the patient’s experience and satisfaction.

Apart from knowing how to address negative reviews, doctors can strive to offer an excellent patient experience. This too can help reduce the incidence of negative reviews.  

However, if a doctor notices frequent negative reviews or many similar complaints, he or she should take note. It’s important to analyse the root cause and do one’s best to make improvements. This could mean hiring more staff, renovating the clinic or using the right practice management system. After all, no matter how good a doctor one is, patients may not return if they routinely have a negative experience.

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Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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