What to Do If Your PT Website Gets a Negative Review

Pointing to a smiley face when considering online reviews for your PT website.

You’ve got a negative review. It may be the first time your Physical Therapy site has received feedback like this, so what do you do? The most important thing to remember is to try not to panic. Read the review then take some time to reflect. Then look at the review logically and make a plan on how you are going to address it. Of course you want everyone to have a positive experience with your clinic and your treatments, but sometimes mistakes are made and you can’t please everyone. Here are some tips on how to handle a negative review.

Take Some Time Before Forming a Response

The worst thing you can do is to respond immediately without thinking things through. It is easy to respond with a knee jerk reaction; however, this is being led by your emotions and not with your business in mind.  Let yourself react in your own time, then get someone else to read the review and talk to them about it. Don’t do anything without thinking about it first and make sure you are looking at the review from all perspectives. It is best to let any emotions pass before you respond either publicly or privately. If the review is really defaming you may need some professional advice before you act. m

Look at It From The Patient’s Point of View

Read the review properly from start to finish. Is there a valid point they are raising? Is there anything you could have done better? If you look at it as a learning experience then you may be able to prevent this happening in the future. Of course, there may be things that have happened that are out of your control or something that you simply cannot change. However, if it is about service or how clients have been spoken then you can address this with training and staff management. If it is about parts of their treatment you can again review the treatments and decide if there is anything you can do better.

Protect Client Confidentiality

You may or may not know the patient who has left the review. If you can identify the patient from what they have written, but they have not identified themselves then you need to think about confidentiality before you think about responding. If you do respond, especially if this is on a public forum, then you need to make sure you do not disclose any details that may be personal or lead to the identification of that client.  Even if they have signed off with their name and details, you should still not discuss treatment specifics in a public environment and this could be a breach of confidentiality.  Just be very careful about what you put out in the public domain.

Decide How You Will Respond

Are you going to respond on the public forum or review site or are you going to approach the client directly to address the issues? It will depend on the content of the negative review to how you respond. You need to consider that other clients and potential customers will read the review and your response if you respond publicly. This can impact how you are seen as a business and affect any future bookings. If there is a general issue then it is wise to reply on the site, however if it is something more personal this should be addressed directly with the client.

Don’t Be Defensive

You may feel like you are on the back foot, but if you come across as defensive it may seem like you are making excuses. Instead show that you have read and understood the reviewers concerns and that you take the opinion seriously. If any information in the review is not correct, you should be tactful in how you address this. Use facts and not emotions and be professional in what you say and the language you use. It can be difficult if the review seems unfair, however you need to show professionalism and try to rise above it. Laying everything out like it is will show you are happy to be open and honest about your service.

Make Changes or Improvements

If the negative review is genuine then you will want to want to address the problems as soon as possible. If there is something that you can do immediately, such as make changes to some patient information or talk to an employee about what has happened then it should be done as soon as you can. Then, if you have made changes or intended to make changes then make sure this is in your response. Showing the client that their review has prompted some action may be more than enough to resolve the situation and initiate some damage control.

Do Not Ask for the Review to be Changed or Taken Down

This is a big no-no when it comes to negative reviews.  If you ask a client to take down a review, you are telling them you haven’t listened to what they are saying or taking them seriously. Like somehow their opinion does not matter and that they should not be sharing it. Any review positive or negative should be taken for its own merit and it can seem underhanded if you ask someone to change or remove a review, especially of it is a genuine one.

No Matter What, Thank the Reviewer

Even though the content of the review may not be nice, you should always thank the reviewer. Even if this is just for the time they have taken, to share their experience and to let you know there has been some problem. It is just a small gesture but is shows your business has compassion and that you welcome any feedback from your clients. Then if there is substance in the review, you can address any changes that you have made as a result of that feedback. Thanking them for helping you to make your business better.

Still Encourage Patient reviews

If you have many positive reviews, then one negative is not going to be a cause of too much concern. Plus, if you receive a negative review and you are still promoting you want to receive feedback, it shows just how confident you are in your treatments and service. You want to continue to receive reviews from your patients and hopefully in time all the positive reviews will outweigh the negative one.  Whether this is on your own website, social media or an external review site.

Weed Out Fake Reviews

Of course, you will hope that this does not happen to you and that any reviews posted to your website or other review methods are genuine. But what if you get a fake review, what can you do about it? If you know that the negative review is clearly fake, then you can ask for this to be taken down by whoever controls the site, you must provide evidence that this is fake however. If it is on your own website you can remove it yourself, but make sure you have an explanation about why the review is no longer there.  

Damage Control

Sometimes a negative review can cause problems for your business that calls for some damage control. If it has seriously damaged your reputation you may need to work quickly to save your reputation as fast as you can. You may need some help with reputation management and Patientsites can give you a hand with that. Take a look at the SEO and review management on offer to keep your brand in a positive light.

Create the Right Space for Your Reviews

You still want to encourage the leaving of reviews from your clients and you are not always going to have control of where they land. However, for those mediums under your control you should create the right space for reviews to be left. This could be your own website, social media pages such as Facebook that has the facility to leave reviews and also business pages such as your Google business page. That way you can set up notifications and monitor reviews as they are left. Giving you a better idea about how your service is doing and highlight any issues that you need to address.  

In the End : Don’t Worry

When you are in business not matter what your field it is inevitable that you wont please everyone. That means you are bound to receive a negative review or two every now and again. But as long as you are doing your best to offer the top-quality service and treatments then your clinic should speak for itself. If negative comments do come up, now you know how to manage them and if you are struggling you can always ask for some professional help. Focus on the positive and more positive reviews will come.  Remember if you receive a negative review, don’t react straight away, take some time and figure out what you want to say and what you need to do.