Online reviews – love them or hate them – are a significant and unavoidable facet of gaining new dental patients online. So, it’s important that you know how to respond in every situation. Here’s a basic guide to help prepare your dental practice for each of the major types of reviews your dental practice will inevitably receive.
1 – Respond to (almost) Every Review – Particularly the Bad Ones
It’s incredibly important that you respond quickly and frequently to all reviews. Responding to a reviewer lets them know that you value their time, and feedback, and goes a long way in improving your patient’s experience. In many cases, responding to reviews will also increase your visibility.
Your responses to reviews are often the first “customer service” experience that many prospective patients will see as they search for a dentist online.
2 – Keep it Short
Responding to a review doesn’t need to be a dissertation. In fact, we suggest keeping it shorter than the review itself. It’s often ok to simply say, “Thanks! We’re happy you enjoyed your experience,” or, “I’m sorry your expectations weren’t met. Please call our office so we can discuss it in more detail.” Remember to vary your responses and sound like a real person, not a robot.
3 – Craft a Fun Response
It is ok – and encouraged – to respond to positive reviews in a fun, creative way. It can help build a rapport with your patients and shows prospective patients that your dental practice has a fun, welcoming personality.
4 – Empathize with the Commenter
You don’t want to take responsibility for a negative experience at your practice, but you do want to express empathy about it. Essentially you are saying, “This is regretful – we want to work with you to make this right.” This helps the negative reviewer know that they’ve been heard and opens the door to reconciliation – if that option is available.
5 – Only Respond to “Reasonable” People
Unfortunately, some negative reviews can get into the weeds, and result in emotional tirades of vulgarities and maybe even name-calling. It’s best not to respond to these types of reviewers, since doing so would likely make the situation worse. Always use your judgment when responding to negative reviews, and be sure that the person is reasonable and of sound mind. Feel free to use the “report review” feature on Google or Facebook. This doesn’t always result in a review being removed, but it’s worth a try.
6 – ALWAYS Take the Highroad
Never get into an emotional argument with someone online. It looks bad on you, and your dental practice and it won’t resolve anything tangible. Moreover, potential patients will see this and reconsider choosing your practice.
7 – Keep it HIPPA Compliant
Never discuss someone’s personal, protected health-related information online. If a patient asks to discuss their dental records online, ask that they contact your office for more information, and leave it at that. Don’t discuss the specifics of a visit or a procedure, even if you’re attempting to clear up a mischaracterization of what may occurred. It’s best to simply refer to your written office policies or not respond at all.
8 – Try to Remedy the Situation Offline
When trying to resolve a negative experience at your practice, be sure to do so offline. When responding to a negative review, ask that they call your office so that you can resolve their issue over the phone, and out of the public’s eye. If resolution is made, don’t hesitate to let the reviewer know how much reviews matter to your practice and ask that they consider editing their review if they’re needs have been met.
9 – Use Each Review to Improve Your Practice
If someone has brought up a legitimate problem at your dental practice, use the opportunity to improve your practice. No one enjoys receiving a negative review, but sometimes, constructive criticism is necessary and benefits all parties. It’s also important to remember that perception is reality for that specific patient, so look for ways to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding in the future. Often, most negative reviews come from a failure in communication.
Is Your Practice Attracting Enough Reviews?
Online reviews help your dental practice earn more new patients, and provide dentists with constructive feedback on how they can improve their practice. Consider adding Review Pro – the premier review-building tool for dentists and dental practices. Review Pro makes it easy for patients to review your practice on numerous review sites, and helps dentists monitor all of their reviews in one easy platform.