Why Negative Reviews are Actually Good for Your Practice

You might be thinking, ‘Negative reviews are bad. There’s no way they can be a good thing for my practice.”

And to be clear, if you only have negative reviews then yes, they’re definitely bad for your online reputation. However, having a few sprinkled between your positive reviews is not the end of the world.

In fact, having a few negative reviews might actually improve the way prospective and current patients view your practice. And here’s why:

How Negative Reviews Can Positively Impact Your Online Reputation

Consumers use reviews to make decisions. And when trying to make a decision about a healthcare provider, whether for elective or routine procedures, reviews are what helps set you apart.

So when a prospective patient gets to a negative review, they’re more likely to perk up and read through the whole thing. They’re looking for key points that confirm or deny items they’re looking for in a provider.

For example, if you don’t accept insurance at your practice, it’s possible you might receive some negative reviews from people who are upset about having to pay out of pocket. However some prospective patients might not care that you don’t accept insurance because they’re willing to pay for top-notch care. This kind of negative review won’t affect their decision to contact you and also gives them more information about your practice.

It’s also important to point out that consumers do a fair amount of research before they make a decision. And they pick up on things as they’re doing their research. So what do you think they suspect when they don’t see any bad reviews about your practice?

Well, 95% of consumers will suspect censorship or that your reviews are fake. That’s definitely not something you want associated with your brand.

4 Tips for Handling Your Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are a part of being in business. Not everyone is going to be happy with your services, products, team, or processes all of the time. And that’s okay! However there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle the negative reviews.

Here are a few tips for spinning your negative reviews into positives:

  1. First and foremost, respond to the review! - Responding to your negative reviews is extremely important. If you can, it’s best to reply within the first 24 hours of receiving it. This shows prospective and current patients that you’re paying attention to feedback and actively trying to improve.
    Note: Responses to online reviews do need to be HIPAA compliant. Make sure to work with your HIPAA compliance officer to determine how your practice chooses to respond to online reviews.
  2. Be sincere in your response - When reading review responses, it’s evident when a company is responding just to respond versus responding because they want to be helpful. Take the time to craft unique responses to each negative review you receive. Address points they mention and what you’re doing to fix or improve the issue they had. Thoughtful responses show that you care about their experience and genuinely want to make things better if you can.
  3. Put a name to the review - Negative reviews come with a lot of feelings, especially from the person leaving the review. To help neutralize the review, add your name, email address, or phone number in your closing remark. This will show the reviewer (and readers!) that you’re human and that you’re open to talking about issues further to make things right. This also opens the door for people to contact you directly about future issues instead of posting another negative review.
  4. Remember that negative reviews aren’t personal - It’s all too easy to take negative reviews personally. It can be painful to read that someone wasn’t happy at your practice. But reviews aren’t personal. So, as you’re reading them, take your emotions out of the situation. This will help you see them from a business standpoint instead of an attack.

Negative reviews might seem bad at first glance. But they can actually positively influence prospective patients into becoming current patients if handled the right way.

MDidentity has great features to assist with timely, HIPPA compliant and template online review responses. If you need help monitoring, responding and managing your reviews so you can respond within 24 hours, MDidentity can help. Learn more about our review monitoring and response software to see how we can help you improve your online reputation.

Andrew Rost
Andrew is the Lead Product Manager for MDidentity, where he geeks out daily over digital reputation, data and graphs. When he's not equipping doctors and business owners with the tools and knowledge to manage their digital reputation, he's playing sports, eating granola and hiking the woods of Maine with his family.