The “Positive” Side of Negative OnLine Reviews

Negative Online Medical Reviews, Medical Marketing EnterprisesNegative online reviews can build your practice.  Negative online reviews can show that you care.   While you may believe this to be personally insulting, take the negativity and turn it around to make “lemonade.”

Online reviews will only become more popular.  The most objective websites will attract the most loyalty.  “Legal” contracts forbidding negative remarks will disappear and so, too, will the “review” sites where only positive reviews will be published.

Here are a few ways to take “lemons” and make  lemonade.

You Are Not Perfect, You Are Human

In any business, it is impossible to please every customer, every time.  Of course you’ve had an unhappy patient, it happens to everyone…once in a while.

Our patients know we aren’t perfect.  Living in a world of only positive reviews is not realistic.  Humans make mistakes.  So, too, do medical practices.

The occasional negative review shows we are human.

Negative online reviews demonstrate your humanness and that you are willing to admit it

Fix Problems in Your Practice

Negative online reviews that are critical of  you and/or your practice can alert you to problem areas in the practice.

In addition, review sites can serve as a “suggestion box” alerting your practice of problems that need fixing.  These reviews provide an “outside” opinion of what needs to be fixed in your practice.

Show You Care

Whenever possible and in response to both positive and negative reviews, you should take the opportunity to respond to your reviewer.

Positive reviewers deserve a quick note of  “thank you” for taking the time, and effort, to share their experience and opinions.

Negative reviewers;

  • wait 24 hours before responding.  You want your emotions to calm down, yet you don’t want the “complaint” to go unanswered.
  • comply with privacy restrictions
  • be positive, professional and constructive.  Give it your 5 star hotel approach.
By responding, your objective is to show subsequent readers/patients you care.  You may not ameliarate the negativity, but you can absolutely take this opportunity to show you care about your patients, your practice and your service.

Showing You Engage

Most importantly, you are showing your online world that you are willing to engage them by starting a conversation as you respond to their plaudits or criticisms.  Demonstrating the ability adn wilingness to engage by creating a dialogue is fundamental to realizing the fullest power of social media.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization



How to Create a Google Alert

Creating a Google Alert to Protect Your Online Reputation

Monitor your online reputation with a Google Alert.

A Google Alert is an email alerting you of something recently published on the Internet about a subject of interest.

Google, for free, will monitor the Internet;  webpages, blogs, articles, press releases, comments, etc, for any search terms and/or subject you desire.  Anytime someone publishes content relevant to your search terms…you’ll get an email.


Google Alerts are great ways to;

  • follow conversations about a company, such as your medical practice
  • follow developments in a news story
  • follow the competition
  • follow yourself

Follow Yourself for Negative Reviews

Particularly useful and highly recommended is to set up a Google Alert on yourself, your colleagues and your practice.

With this simple tool, you can then monitor the Internet for any information published about you or members of your practice.

This is especially useful for keeping abreast of comments made about the practice; both good and bad.

Negative Comments

Negative comments posted on another website are a big concern.  It is our opinion that all comments be dealt with in the following manner;

Answer all comments within 24-48 hours, but not immediately.  Wait until the next day to calm down a little bit.  Answering quickly, however, will actually demonstrate that you care and are concerned, not only to the negative reviewer, but also to future readers.

Always be positive, never defensive nor accusatory just as a concierge handled your recent complaints at a 5 start hotel or fancy restaurant.

We have some other tips about how to handle negative reviews in another post.

Positive Comments

Just as important are finding and responding to the positive comments.  There are too many positive comments on too many review sites that remain idle….just begging for a response.

Take the time to find your comments and respond to each and every review remaining polite and thankful.

Responding to a positive comment can enhance your transparency, shows your practice is willing to engage and you are appreciative.  In addition, your responses alone (just the mere action of responding) will illicit even more comments in the future.

Patients innately want to say “thank you” and will do especially if there efforts are appreciated and acknowledged versus falling on dead ears.

Setting Up Your Google Alert

Setting this up is easy.  Make sure you (or someone in your practice) has a Google account.

  1. If you need a Google account, set one up via GMail.
  2. Here’s the address for setting up the alert:
  3. Follow on screen directions (should take < 1 minute)

TIP:  Placing “quotes” around the search phrase will only produce alerts using those exact words in the same order.  For instance, “Randall Wong”  will bring up only articles using that exact phrase.  Whereas Randall Wong (no quotes) will find anything containing Randall or Wong.

The point?  If you have a common name or phrase, you might consider using quotes to limit the search.  You can always go back and change it!

To Your Growth And Success!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization