Negative Reviews: An Opportunity to Turn an Unhappy Patient into a Raving Fan

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It just happened …  

You might be frustrated, even burning under the collar.  

All defense mechanisms on high alert!!! “But, but, but …”  

Ok, calm down.  


Negative reviews are inevitable, regardless of how awesome you are.  

More importantly, negative reviews are a great opportunity to turn an unhappy patient into a raving fan.  

Let me explain …  


Businesses typically only hear from 4% of dissatisfied customers, leaving 96% of dissatisfied customers who don’t provide any feedback. (Helpscout)


91% of dissatisfied customers simply never come back. (Helpscout)

Let’s look at negative reviews through a different lens:

A negative review provides you with information and opportunity to improve your service or product. It uncovers part of your patient journey that may not be executing as planned. Without a negative review, how would you ever know?

Most customers don’t care about you or your practice and will simply move on. However, someone who leaves a negative review for you had high expectations that were not met … and they took time out of their busy schedule to share that disappointing experience with you.

Now that you have a different lens to view negative reviews, what should you do and not do next?

Avoid These Knee-Jerk Reactions to Negative Reviews

1) Don’t delete the negative review:

First, the unsatisfied reviewer, more than anything, wants to be acknowledged for the substandard experience. So deleting a negative review is sending a message to the reviewer that his experience is unimportant, which is the worst thing you can do.

Second, prospective patients need to have trust and faith in the reviews they are reading. If you are deleting any unfavorable reviews and get caught, they will not trust all the great reviews you have.

Note: There is a difference between an unhappy customer and a “troll”. A troll exists for the sole purpose to upset and discredit you and/or your practice. Don’t feed the troll … here it is appropriate to delete the review and move on.

2) Don’t get personal and insult the negative reviewer:

There may be an impulse to ambush the unsatisfied reviewer with colorful four letter metaphors. And those colorful metaphors may be extremely well deserved.

Don’t do it.

Just don’t do it.

You are a professional and have to act like one (even if you feel otherwise).

3) Be careful with Canned Responses:

There are a lot of great usages and purposes for bots and auto-responders, but you have to be careful. While deleting a negative review can have the effect of telling the unsatisfied customer his complaints aren’t important, an auto-responder or copy-and-pasted response can have the same effect.

What Should You Do? … Head to Starbucks for a L-A-T-T-E!


First head to Starbucks to cool off, then review the Starbucks LATTE System for Customer Service.

· Listen to the Customer

· Acknowledge their complaint

· Take action by solving the problem

· Thank them

· Explain why the problem occurred.

Listen: Your unhappy reviewer took the time out of her busy schedule to let you know that her experience was subpar. She wants to be listened to, so try to listen as objectively as possible to her complaint.

Acknowledge: Remember, this is an online experience, so to confirm you have listened to your unhappy patient, take time to respond to her negative review.

Take Action: This will be situational, but do your best to take action towards resolving the problem. Sometimes a phone conversation is all that is needed to clear the air. Be cognizant that others will seeing your response, so this is a great way to demonstrate you care about your patients and their experience.

Thank You: Good manners help.

Explain: An explanation can go a long way towards helping your patient understand the situation better and realize that you are doing your best. Where there is not a good explanation, an apology can go a long way too.

In Closing

Negative feedback isn’t necessarily bad and should be looked at as an opportunity. If handled correctly you can turn the situation around and an unhappy customer can become a repeat customer, a fan, and a brand advocate who tells everyone how awesome your services and products are.

Download your LATTE Cheat Sheet to remind you and your staff how to deal with negative responses and people.

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