Fixing Bad Online Reviews

Posted on 22. Jun, 2013 by in Dental, Marketing

Does your practice have negative reviews online?  Are bad reviews scaring potential patients away from calling in?

Whereas most quality review sites do not allow reviews to just be removed, there are several courses of action you can follow that can help create and fortify a positive online reputation for your practice.

We have found that Dentist Base implements a great solution for its Dental practice clients.  They utilize “Review Blitz” and “Review Central” by Total Online Marketing ( to help bolster their clients online reputation.  We recently had a discussion with Dentist Base on how a practice can help remove or mitigate negative reviews.  Here’s a great strategy they shared:

First, you have to have a system in place that alerts you when you receive a review.  There are over 60 web sites that specialize in reviews that are very important to Google.  Some will not apply to you, like Urban Spoon – however, sites like HealthGrades, ZocDoc, and more are very important.  One of the most important things to do is to respond quickly to receiving a negative review.  The longer the review sits there unattended, the more damage it does.  You should also have all of your listings claimed so that you can receive alerts and respond as the owner to reviews, but more on that in a moment.

Second, many negative reviews are surprisingly fake.  Whether it be a disgruntled ex-employee or unethical competitor.  These reviews are easy to spot because often times by clicking on the reviewer you can see other reviews they have left.  Almost weekly we find a user that has written the same negative 1 star review copy and pasted to over 100 local dentists, but surprisingly one practice in the city gets a 5 star review from the same user.  And by the way, all of these reviews are left on the same day.  Must be really bad teeth…  Other negative reviews are less obvious, but by reading about the reviewer and where they work…hmmmm.  When you report these reviews as abuse or spam, many online review sites will not only remove the negative reviews, they will ban the user, all their reviews and sometimes their IP address too.

Third, many reviews are obvious fake or not applicable in that the person complaining did not receive service.  Maybe they are complaining that your prices are too high and so they went somewhere else (and probably got what they paid for).  Most review sites feel that if you walked by a restaurant, saw the menu on the window and chose not to walk in – you probably shouldn’t be leaving a review.  Same for a practice, if the user didn’t actually get service than how can they rate the doctor or his staff?  Again, reporting this as abuse or spam often gets the review removed.

Fourth is how you respond to a review.  You should attempt to respond privately with the user.  Don’t start an argument, be nice, and see what you could have done better.  This is a chance for you to improve your customer service – not a plea to take a review down.  Communicate with the user that your goal is to do better next time or help fix their dilemma.  They will be more likely to work with you and amend or remove their review.  If responding privately doesn’t work, or you smell something fishy – report the review and user to the review site.  Next, respond publicly as the owner.  Again, don’t start an argument, be nice and just state your side.  For example, “We are sorry but her insurance didn’t cover the certain procedure, thus the higher price.  We do our best to inform initially and work to get the most of your benefits”, etc.

Reporting reviews doesn’t always work.  Some sites are ultra responsive (like Yelp) whereas others seem understaffed and may not ever answer your messages.  But again, having your business listing claimed makes the communication process more trustworthy and quicker.

Need help getting good reviews, fixing bad ones and overall improving your online reputation – visit for more details.


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