What Not To Do With A Negative Review...

We get a lot of questions about what to do about the dreaded negative review if-and-when it rears its ugly head.  Obviously, the first thing you should do is contact the patient privately to resolve the issue.  More often than not, these issues can be easily resolved when the doctor takes the time to listen to the patient's concerns.  In the event that you can't resolve the problem at hand, the next thing to do is even simpler - do nothing.

The truth is, a negative isn't the worst thing ever - unless you make it the worst thing ever.

You could reply publicly to the review, dragging yourself down into a online mud-slinging contest & potentially violating HIPAA laws by disclosing the patient's Protected Health Information in an attempt to defend yourself.

You can always threaten to sue the review site, incurring a massive legal bill for nothing since review sites are only 'content providers' and not legally responsible for what users post.

You could also threaten to sue the reviewer, again incurring a massive legal bill for nothing since the lawsuit will be thrown out under the anti-SLAPP law.  (The law barring any "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.")

Unfortunately, all of these approaches will also serve to do you more harm than good.  It's something we online geeks refer to as the "Streisand Effect."  Yes, Babs provided the benchmark on what not to do back in 2003.  When Streisand took legal action to force the removal of online images of her beachfront property from a website documenting the California Coastline.  What resulted was even more publicity around the images, along with negative publicity around Streisand's attempt to censor the photographer.  (Which failed, as the lawsuit was thrown out under anti-SLAPP laws.)

Don't fall into the same trap.

Simply let it go.  Instead, focus on getting more positive reviews online to drastically outweigh the occasional negative one.  Like we always tell doctors - people don't expect perfection, they do expect honesty.  When potential patients find out you're trying to muzzle your exiting patients, they'll go elsewhere looking for an honest doctor.   One who's confident enough in their own abilities not to be concerned with covering up a negative review.

About the Author

Mike is a marketing guru and online reputation specialist. He as worked witha variety of companies improving their marketing strategies, specifically working with...

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