So, Your Aesthetic Practice Got a Bad Review. Now What?

A single, bad review can be your worst nightmare. You’ve worked hard to establish a plastic surgery practice around your good bedside manner and patient care, but one day, POOF! Your hard-earned reputation is tarnished by a grumpy person having a bad day. Customer reviews can positively or negatively influence your Google search ranking, which takes into account your reviews across multiple platforms, including Facebook, RealSelf and Yelp. Depending on how many reviews you have, one disgruntled person can drag down your reputation and significantly hurt your search engine rankings.

So, what can you do? If you act swiftly, there are several ways to minimize damage to your reputation and your website’s SEO. Whenever any of MD Internet Marketing’s clients receive a negative review, we recommend they take these 5 simple steps: So, what can you do? If you act swiftly, there are several ways to minimize damage to your reputation and your website’s SEO. Whenever any of MD Internet Marketing’s clients receive a negative review, we recommend they take these 5 simple steps:

Don’t overreact
Evaluate the situation
Draft a response
If the review is fake, flag it for removal
Rectify the situation
Stay on top of it

1. Do Not Panic

A bad or fraudulent review can make you angry, setting off an impulse to give that person a piece of your mind or sue them for derogatory comments. However, we do not recommend taking those actions. A bad review is not the end of the world—every cosmetic surgery practice receives them at some point. Some research even indicates that bad reviews can increase sales. Take a deep breath, calm down, and proceed to step two.

2. Evaluate the Situation

Gather all of the facts to get a complete picture of the situation. Is this person really a customer? Can you find them in your database? Check your records to see if you have the person’s contact information. If they are a previous client, take note of when they came into the office. Speak with the provider or patient coordinator about the reviewer’s appointment(s). The more you know, the better equipped you will be to handle the situation and prevent it from happening again.

3. Quickly Respond to Negative or Fake Reviews

Responding to the negative review in a timely manner will show prospective clients that you are committed to good customer service. You are not only attempting to make the reviewer happy, but your response assures future customers that the same issue will not be repeated.

If someone leaves a fraudulent review—i.e. they have never been to your practice/used your services:

Address the complaint and apologize for the dissatisfaction
State you cannot seem to find them in your records
Offer to fix their situation and provide your contact information
Flag or report the review as fraudulent

If someone was not satisfied with your service/product:

Own up to their complaint, even if it is only partially true.
Never make excuses.
If there is a legitimate reason why they perceived the service/product as sub-par, be honest.
Assure them that this will never happen again.
Offer to fix the problem offline by leaving your contact information.

4. Remove, Flag or Dispute Fake Google Reviews

Most review websites offer a ‘dispute’ option. To flag a review on Google:

Open Google Maps and search for your business.
Click to see all your reviews; find the one you want to flag.
Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner, then click “Flag as Inappropriate”.

You also have two more options to further escalate the issue:

Call Google and follow up on your flagged review status.
Get legal. If the review can be counted as slander and false, you DO have an option to fill out a Google form for a legal removal request. The requirements for these are pretty high, so enlist the help of a legal professional. A cease and desist letter may also be needed.

Removing a review is part art, part science and part luck but something that MD Internet Marketing can handlefor your practice. Click here to learn more about our review removal service.

5. Rectify the Situation—No Matter How Hard

Changing the way your practice is run can be intimidating, but in this instance, the effort is vital. If you keep getting negative reviews, even just a couple, the problem is not them—it is you. Whenever there is a hiccup with a patient experience, make a solid effort to fix it. This may mean rewording your website, better staff training, or firing an employee. A negative review is a learning experience; reduce the chances it will happen again by discussing the situation with your team and tightening up the customer experience.

6. Stay on Top of Negative Reviews

Was that fraudulent review flagged or removed? Did you make up for the customer’s bad experience? Staying on top of the action can actually turn a bad review into a good review. For example, if a customer was unhappy with a service but you came right back and fixed it, with a little nudge they may change their review. Someone who leaves a bad review often just wants the situation fixed and will be willing to change their review from 1-star to 5-stars.

Negative reviews can be drowned out by positive ones, so accumulate as many as possible. Any overall rating of 4.5 or above is considered extremely good. If responding to negative reviews is not part of your business plan, MD Internet Marketing has a solution. To learn more about this process, give us a call at (954) 993-5154.


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