Negative reviews happen to the best of businesses and that includes dental practices. This can be a personal experience for a dentist, and can be very emotional. However, a negative review isn’t the death knell for your dental practice, and dentists have an opportunity to take control of the situation, and sometimes even win back a patient that had a negative experience.
Here’s how dentists can manage a negative review:
Negative reviews can feel personal – particularly for dentists. If you receive a negative review, be certain to take a moment (or longer) to pause and put that review in perspective. Most people – 88% in fact – read up to 10 reviews before forming an opinion of a business. So, if you have other positive reviews, then it helps minimize the impact of one bad review.
Carefully Read the Review
Evaluate the situation by reading the review to determine if the reviewer is being rational, and determine if they can reasoned with. Do they have a legitimate complaint, or are they emotionally venting without a specific critique of your dental practice? Remember that their perception, whether factually true or not, is their reality, and this is what you will need to deal with.
Work Towards Patient Satisfaction
If you feel that it’s possible to remedy the reviewer’s experience, then do what you can to make them happy. Even if you have to give something away for free like a cleaning or checkup, it’ll be worth it to retain another patient. It also gives the patient a chance to reevaluate how they feel about your practice, and maybe even remove the review.
No Response May be Your Best Option
If the person seems to overly angry or irrational, then it’s probably best not to respond online. You risk getting into a public argument with an unreasonable person, regardless of how careful you are with your words, or your decorum. While this situation is rare, sometimes no response is the best way to go.
Consider reaching out Off-line
If you feel that there is a good chance to remedy the situation, and you know who the reviewer is, you should consider reaching out personally through a phone call. If the complaint has been resolved, don’t hesitate to remind the reviewer how important your online reputation is and ask if they would be willing to edit their review to indicate their satisfaction.
Responses Should Always Be Diplomatic
If the person has a reasonable complaint or is likely to be reasoned with, then you should politely respond in an attempt to remedy the situation. If you feel too emotional about the review, don’t instantly respond. Instead, try sleeping on the negative review to take time and form your response. Try to respond between 24 – 48 hours of receiving the negative review. This shows the negative reviewer that you are listening to their feedback, and care about your online reputation. 95% of unhappy customers say that they will return to a business if an issue was quickly resolved.
Remember your Audience
Ultimately, your primary audience is not the reviewer. Instead, your response should be written to the thousands of other patients who want to see how you respond to criticism. Keep your response brief. Be conciliatory, but not apologetic; direct but not defensive. Try to comment about your policies, instead of the patient.
Don’t Get Personal
Avoid getting into personal information with the patient in a public space. This leaves your practice open to a slew of legal issues and HIPAA violations. It also makes your dental practice look petty and combative – traits that no one wants to associate with.
Do NOT ever reveal any personal information about the patient or their specific treatment.
Remember: Reviews are Important
Today, nearly 92% of consumers look at online reviews before making a purchase decision, and 68% of people say that positive reviews help them trust a business more. So, don’t let a couple of negative reviews weigh you down – it’s important to focus on building positive reviews through excellent customer service, and unparalleled pediatric dentistry. If you provide these 2 things, then positive reviews will organically follow.
But, you can also enlist professional help for more online review generation and management with Smile Savvy’s Review Pro – which is designed exclusively for dentists. Review Pro helps busy dentists and dental professionals manage all of their online reviews from one easy-to-use portal. This gives dentists control of their online reputations, and can help them persuade more local patients to visit their dental practice.
Click here for more about how Smile Savvy can help your dental practice generate more reviews, and take control of your online reputation.