Online reputation: dealing with negative reviews - Hamilton Fraser


HHow you manage your online presence can make or break your reputation as an aesthetic practitioner.

Nobody is immune from negative reviews or comments – even the most eminent aesthetic practitioner’s reputation can be ruined in an instant by a bad online review if it is not dealt with effectively.

While there is much you can do to encourage positive reviews rather than negative ones, all it takes is one dissatisfied customer, or worse, a cyber bully or troll, and your professional reputation could end up in tatters.

In this article, we’ll look at the increasing importance of online reviews in consumers’ purchasing decisions. We’ll then explore how you can manage negative reviews and what to do when a negative review oversteps the mark. Shubha Nath, Director at Nath Solicitors, will share her advice on how to remove negative reviews, and what to do if you think a review is defamatory or in breach of Google guidelines.

Online reviews are increasingly dominating purchasing decisions

In today’s digital age, it is crucial to recognise the extent to which the dialogue between consumers themselves has gained increasing importance, with online review sites at the forefront of this ‘consumer to consumer’ (C2C) marketing evolution.

Online reviews are often the first thing a potential customer will look for when considering whether to use your services and are therefore a crucial aspect of your or your clinic’s reputation.

Even if your potential patient has been referred to you by another customer, the likelihood is that they will go online to confirm the existing customer’s view and seek out the opinions of other patients before making a firm commitment.

Research by Feefo found that 96 per cent of consumers said that reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions, and 64 percent read customer reviews before making a purchasing decision. furthermore two-thirds of consumers (68 per cent) are willing to pay up to 15 per cent more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.

Online reviews are clearly pivotal to influencing customers when they are making purchasing decisions, both about which practitioner they are most likely to trust, and how much they are prepared to spend.

Online consumer reviews are, today, considered to be a trusted source of brand information and are therefore a crucial component of the buying decision process.

Managing negative online reviews

It may seem that there is little you, as a practitioner, can do to rectify the aftermath of a negative online review.

The good news is that there are techniques to help you manage negative online reviews or comments and keep your reputation intact.

So long as you view online reviews as an opportunity to build interaction and transparency with your customers and ensure that you are communicating consistent marketing messages, you can leverage them to your advantage.

But what should you do if, despite your best efforts, you receive a negative online review?

Beautiful young woman taking notes while learning from home

Top tips for managing negative online reviews

We have all seen businesses reacting defensively to a negative review, or worse, ignoring it entirely. The crucial thing is not to ignore negative reviews. And, rather than responding defensively to a bad online review, it is important to take onboard insights into how your target audience views your brand.

1. Read the review and incorporate feedback

Take the time to read reviews carefully and objectively, be open to feedback and ask yourself honestly whether there is anything you can learn from the review. Incorporate relevant feedback, particularly if you identify a pattern or trends and take it on board as constructive criticism that you can use to identify areas for improvement.

2. Respond personally to the reviewer, ideally offline

Often, by picking up the phone and making an effort to speak to the customer, you can turn a bad situation around and the customer may be prepared to retract or update the negative review. For this approach to work however, you must take the time to listen and empathise.

3. Respond promptly but allow time to cool off if needed

Make sure you respond as soon as you can but if a review makes you upset, wait until you feel calm before doing so. Resist the temptation to get emotional or defensive and remain polite and professional at all times, even if you feel the reviewer is being unreasonable.

How you handle a bad review is often of more interest to others than the actual complaint. See every poor review as an opportunity for you to retain patients and acquire new ones by demonstrating your high levels of customer

service and empathy.

We all know the old adage that a customer who has complained and had their complaint handled well, becomes more of an advocate than those who have not complained at all. And in today’s rapidly expanding aesthetics industry, how you handle those online reviews is more important than ever.

But what should you do if you receive a review which oversteps the mark, isn’t truthful and could be harmful to your business?

Negative reviews about my aesthetics practice – what are my options?

Protecting your online reputation: dealing with negative reviews | Negative reviews

As Director of Nath Solicitors, Shubha Nath has plenty of experience in removing negative and defamatory online reviews about aesthetics treatment. Here, she shares her insights.

Complimentary online reviews are now a major way of generating business and cementing the reputation of a practice. But because treatments are so personal in nature, professional aesthetics practitioners always face the threat of unwarranted negative reviews by clients. Whether they appear online or in more traditional media, illegal and defamatory postings can fatally undermine even the most lucrative, professionally run aesthetics practice. At Nath Solicitors in London, we have extensive experience in reducing this type of threat through:

  • Informal but effective negotiation with the individuals behind negative reviews
  • Discussions with search engines like Google
  • Tactical use of recognised legal remedies such as injunctions and claims for monetary damages

Is the online review defamatory?

It won’t be possible to remove every online review you take exception to. That said, even if there isn’t a legal case to remove a particular piece of online content, we can help manage the situation to minimise any negative impact on your business.

Where an online review is untrue however and you can show that it has caused you serious harm (you have lost business as a result for example) then you could have various options open to you under the Defamation Act, 2013. In addition, we may be able to advise you on a claim for harassment and breach of your data privacy rights under GDPR and related legislation.

Protecting your online reputation: dealing with negative reviews | Defamation

Does the review breach Google guidelines?

Google has a comprehensive set of guidelines in relation to the content that appears in its search results. We regularly work in conjunction with Google to speedily remove online reviews that contravene these guidelines. When a review is submitted to Google, processes mean the content is automatically scrutinised to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam.

To comply with its legal obligations the search engine states that it may automatically remove such reviews. Google also undertakes not to accept content that’s illegal or which ‘which infringes anyone else’s legal rights’.

To discuss any of the issues raised, you can contact Shubha Nath of Nath Solicitors, specialist online defamation lawyers in London on 0203 983 8278 or get in touch with the firm online  or by email

About the author

Shubha Nath

Shubha Nath is the Founder and Director of Nath Solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience as a specialist defamation lawyer. A boutique London law firm, Nath Solicitors specialises in defamation, privacy and online reputational matters and provides exceptional support and solutions to protect the hard-earned reputation and brand of their clients, which includes executives, high net worth individuals and even Hollywood celebrities. If you need a tenacious social media defamation lawyer to have offending defamatory material removed and with compensation for loss or damage to your reputation, Nath Solicitors can help you.

Shubha Nath | Nath Solicitors

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