Review Management Best Practices

Why your practice needs to stop removing reviews

1) People can tell your Direct Primary Care practice is filtering the reviews.

68% of people trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores (Econsultancy, 2012). People are more review savvy and can spot when things look too good to be true. 95% of people suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores (Reevoo, 2015).

2) It looks fishy, like your practice has something to hide.

30% of people assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews (Webrepublic). Only 8% of people expect a practice to have a 5-star rating before they will consider using them (Brightlocal, 2016). If there are only five star reviews on a review site, people know that your practice is grooming your reviews and assume it’s because your have something to hide.

3) Reviews that are removed will only anger patients trying to share their experience.

If your practice doesn’t allow or encourage reviews, your patients that have something to say, good or bad, will find it odd that they can’t leave a review for your practice. Patients can still leave reviews for unverified listings and profiles so just because your practice can’t see the bad reviews, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

4) It looks like your practice doesn’t value patients enough to win them back.

If your practice doesn’t allow for feedback, it appears to people that you don’t really care about them or value customer service. If people can’t expect good service, don’t expect them to want to visit your practice. People like to see physicians that are open to feedback and especially the practices that are listening enough to try to win patients back.

5) It doesn’t give your practice an opportunity to win back their trust.

If a review isn’t published, it can be very infuriating to people. If your practice did fail the patient, it gives you a chance to win them back. Since your practice is responding to the reviewer publicly, your practice can possibly win them back as well as show other people that you care about how you treat your patients.

6) Physicians are missing out on valuable feedback to improve.

While patients at times can be unrealistic with their expectations from a physician, some can provide feedback on possible oversights. Oversights happen to the best of us and there is always room for improvement.

Situations when it is okay to gate reviews

Here are the situations when it is acceptable for your practice to filter out which reviews are published:

1) When the review contains graphic material or inappropriate language.

If the review is inappropriate, contains explicit language or graphic material. Fortunately, many review sites are all over this, but if they happen to miss it, you can flag it as inappropriate.

2) When reviews are irrelevant to your practice.

If a review doesn’t provide any mention or context to your practice, products or services. Sometimes patients leave reviews but they really want to ask a question. If it really doesn’t add context as a review from a patient, it is okay to suppress that review.


3) When reviews are spammy or someone is plugging another practice.

If a review isn’t related to your practice but is obviously spam, or if a person starts talking about their business instead of your practice. In the example below, the review was for a direct competitor and was a case of mistaken identity.


4) When the review is a fake or planted by a competitor (and your practice knows it is).

In the case of review fraud, it is completely acceptable to suppress the review and remove it. In the example below, the person hasn’t ever been to the establishment, they just left a review that they read other reviews.


Unfortunately, reviews have been used as blackmail and this sort of unscrupulous behavior does occur. The fact that this behavior is on the rise speaks to the importance of practicing review management and using reputation management software. If you want help determining if a review is a fake or not, try the free Review Skeptic tool backed by research from Cornell University.

Again, Please Don’t Review-Stuff

The review below is an example of a business owner promoting his own business. There’s a lot of specific detail that even the most committed reviewer wouldn’t delve into. On top of that, the review is so long many people will probably just skim over.


How can your practice practice white-hat review management?

Here’s how your pracrice can practice white-hat review management:

  1. Provide exceptional customer experiences
  2. Ask your patients to leave a review (in person signs, surveys, etc)
  3. Read and analyze the review. Does it meet the criterion to suppress or remove?
    1. If yes, remove and you are done managing the review
    2. If no, the review stays published
  4. Respond to the review
    1. If the review is positive, thank them for their feedback
    2. If the review is negative, try to move the conversation offline. Try to remedy the situation to win the patient back. If you have remedied the situation, try asking them to adjust their review. If not, then at least the patient may come back.

White hat review management visual guide


Why it’s best to take the review management high-road

At the end of the day, people can tell that if your practice is grooming your reviews if all of your reviews are too positive. From a patient’s perspective, it is better to see a practice with a mix of reviews, mostly positive but with some negatives as well. So long as a practice is trying to remedy the situation by responding to the patient and following the proper review management protocols, it actually says more about the physician and practice than a business with all perfect five star reviews.