How Dentists Should Respond to Online Patient Reviews
You already know the importance of generating online reviews for your practice. In today’s world, simply hiding from online review sites is not an option. (Check out our previous article on how to garner more online reviews for your practice.)
The fact is, whether people are insanely happy or displeased with the services that you provide, it is likely that they will take to the Internet to express their satisfaction or lack thereof. Regardless if the feedback is positive or negative, it is always in your best interest to respond, as more than half of customers expect to hear back from businesses within 7 days of writing an online review. Plus, 78% of consumers say that seeing a business respond to an online review makes them believe that the business cares about their clients.
When responding to online reviews, utilize these best practices to ensure you don’t dig yourself into a hole:
1. Say “thank you!” Many people think that they should only respond to criticism or negative reviews. However, quite the contrary is true. If someone leaves you a positive note, be sure to express your gratitude and let them know how happy you are to have them as a patient.
2. Even if it’s a negative review, thank them for their input. Whether you agree or disagree with the negative feedback, thank them for sharing their thoughts and expressing their concerns. Be sure to keep you tone civil to avoid any negative follow-up comments that could escalate the situation.
3. Take it offline quickly. When you get a negative review, the last thing you want to do is respond with a comment that sparks an even nastier reply for everyone to see. Thank them for their feedback and let them know you are sorry for their experience and want to learn more. Ask them how you can best get in touch with them via phone or email, to avoid a back-and-forth directly on your public reviews pages.
4. Give it 24 hours. If you receive a negative review, take some time to write a response, sit on it and see how you feel about your response after 24 hours. It’s easy to become defensive, especially if you don’t agree with the review. However, with your online reputation on the line, make sure that you always communicate in a calm, professional manner.
5. Highlight your practice’s values. Emotions run high when it comes to dental work, and people can become very opinionated. There will always be people who are convinced that dentists are trying to upsell them and don’t really care about their overall oral health. When you get a negative opinion like this, help them understand your practice’s values and that you truly do care.
Remember, negative reviews aren’t the end of the world – especially when they’re countered by multiple positive reviews. People are able to form their own judgements and can tell when an online review is a one-time rant or if there seems to be an overall trend of poor service. The most important thing is to show potential new clients that you do care about patient feedback and are dedicated to providing great service and care.