So You Got a Bad Online Review

By Dr. Greg Jorgensen
Rio Rancho, NM –


If it hasn’t happened to you, it will. You are going to get a bad online review. You can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. Even if you have 99% of your patients who are delighted with what you and your team do, you are bound to have someone who thinks you are too expensive, too busy, or whose treatment is taking too long. Unfortunately happy patients rarely go online to report their experience on their own. Upset patients always seem to find time. At the 2014 Annual Session in New Orleans I will be addressing the topic of managing your online reputation. There are four basic steps in my approach.

First, identify the sites in your locale that have reviews for orthodontic practices. There are dozens of review sites online, but there are a few main ones that will show up if you do a search for orthodontists in your community. You should Google yourself and your colleagues and see where reviews already exist. Once you have identified these main sites, verify or claim your page so that you are in charge of it. Not only does this allow you to edit the information about you and your practice, it also gives you the ability to respond to bad reviews when they appear.

Second, a good offense is the best defense. Although happy patients rarely write reviews on their own, they can be encouraged to do so. When you identify a raving fan, ask them to put their praise in the form of an online review. In addition to personal invitations by you and your staff, there are also companies that specialize in asking your patients to review you. You want to make sure that you have good reviews in place BEFORE bad ones show up. Nothing looks more suspicious than a bad review followed by four good ones within a week.  Consistently appearing good reviews helps dilute the effect of a bad ones that occasionally show up.

Third, monitor review sites looking for new reviews, both good and bad. You can do this manually or hire a service to do this. Another benefit of claiming your business as mentioned previously is that some email you when a new review appears. Google Alerts are emails that Google sends you when it detects that your name or practice has been referenced on the web. These alerts are free and provide another way for you to know if someone is talking about you.

Lastly, respond to all reviews about you both good and bad. If you get a bad one, try to identify who wrote it. Attempt to correct whatever caused the bad review and see if the author will remove it. When you respond, be humble, informative, and kind. Potential patients will judge you not only for what the bad review says, but also how you respond to it. If the review is true, use it as a teaching moment in your next morning huddle.

Online reputation management is a necessary activity for all practices. Join me in New Orleans as I share more information on this constantly evolving aspect of our online world. See you there!

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