Veterinarians: Turn those bad reviews around


How should I respond to negative reviews of my practice that come up during a Google search?

Q. How should I respond to negative reviews of my practice that came up during a Google search?

"As you know, it's very difficult to make negative reviews on the Web go away," says John Volk, a senior consultant with Brakke Consulting. "Instead of responding, encourage your loyal clients to post their reviews. Then if potential clients see one or two negative reviews and 25 or 30 positive reviews, they're going to discount those negative ones."

In many cases, Volk says he discourages responding to negative comments personally because it can foster an online argument. "You could come off as defensive," he says.

On the other hand, if the negative posts get out of hand and you feel that someone has a campaign against you, it might be time to talk to your attorney. Sometimes a letter from an attorney will shut people down, he says.

By and large, clients love their veterinarians, Volk says. And occasionally someone might write a valid complaint about your practice. "In that case, try to fix the problem," he says. "You may not be able to get rid of that negative review online, but you can sure work hard to make sure it never happens again."

Dr. Dave Nicol will be speaking April 27 at CVC Washington D.C. on "Digital Marketing for Your Practice." Can't make it? He'll also be at CVC KC and San Diego.Visit for more info.

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