More than ever, people online use review sites like Google and Yelp to help them evaluate everyday decisions. In fact, 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews, vs. 64% in 2014. That’s a lot of people to impress with positive reviews. But, we’re here to say that you don’t have to fear the negative review. Instead, you can use negative reviews to help improve your dental practice.
1 – Relax
So you’ve received a negative review, now what? As emotionally cathartic as it may be to respond to the reviewer with a witty response or comeback, it’s best to stop and breathe for a minute. Relax. A poor review doesn’t mean that you’re a bad dental practice; it just means that you can improve in certain areas. Don’t send an emotionally charged response, but leave the review alone until you can think about it for a minute.
Negative reviews can actually benefit your practice – if you play your cards right. In fact, 95% of people online suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see negative reviews. So, a negative review or two can actually improve your online reputation and make your dental practice appear more authentic. Just don’t get into a trend of earning bad reviews – that’s when you have a real problem.
2 – Take It in Stride
Negative reviews can benefit your practice, if you take them in stride and use them to your advantage. If the negative review is valid, then you have a chance to improve an area of weakness in your dental practice.
It can be difficult to determine the validity of a critique or negative comment, but it can be done. Usually, a pattern of similar critique indicates more validity, so comb over your negative reviews and look for any recurring themes. For example: If multiple people have mentioned that they didn’t enjoy their experience in your front office, then it may be time to reevaluate how it operates. By improving that area, you can improve the overall patient experience.
When reading negative reviews, try to keep an open mind and look for ways to use patient feedback to improve your dental practice.
3 – Consider a Response
When looking at negative online reviews, consider responding – but only to reviewers that appear reasonable. It’s best not to respond if the reviewer is angry and using offensive language. Sometimes, a negative online review is just an emotionally charged comment meant to vent patient frustrations, and there’s not much you can do to remedy the situation.
But, if the reviewer has a legitimate complaint, then you should seek to resolve the matter on a private channel. Respond to the reviewer with a quick apology and request that they email you at your dental practice. This way, you can resolve the issue out of the public eye and avoid any uncomfortable exchanges. Always seek to address their issues and find a way to make them happy. You can offer them a free cleaning, or something else of small value. Often times, this is more than enough to change your patient’s perception of your practice. In fact, if a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers return back to your business.
Improve Patient Experience Today
Remember: this is the patient’s experience, and reflects how they interacted with your dental practice. Ask yourself how you would react if you had a similar experience with a different establishment. Be empathetic to their experience, and attempt to remedy the situation. Remember: never ask a patient to remove a poor review, that’s their decision. But, you can hope that by mending the situation privately and improving their experience, that they’ll remove it on their own.
It can be difficult to find the time to continually claim and optimize your business listings, and respond to reviews. Luckily, Smile Savvy created ReviewPro for busy dentists that want to control their online reputations. Click here to learn more about ReviewPro, and how Smile Savvy can improve your online reputation.