Dental Reputation Management, Reviews

5 Tips When Responding to Online Reviews of Your Dental Practice

If you read our blog How to Get More Online Dentist Reviews, you know the importance of generating online reviews to attract new patients and build practice revenue. If you haven’t, the reality for dental practices is that, where online platforms are a major source of word-of-mouth advertising, opportunities are lost when you hide from online reviews.

Dental Patients Post Reviews Online

Whether people are happy or not with the services that your dental practice provides, chances are they’ll express their views online, and it’s always in your best interests to respond regardless of whether reviews are positive or negative. Indeed, negative reviews aren’t a complete negative.

  • According to Reevoo, 95% of people suspect that reviews are censored or fake if they don’t see any negative ones.
  • According to Reviewtrackers, 45% of people are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.

Summed up by HubSpot: “By refusing to hide from [negative reviews], you give your company immediate credibility” and earn more trust from prospective patients.

How to Respond to Patient Reviews Online

Here are five tips when responding to online patient reviews (good or otherwise):

  1. Say “Thank you.” Many dental practice teams believe they should only respond to criticism or negative reviews. However, just as you would say thanks to someone for giving you a gift or letting you go ahead at the checkout line, be sure to thank people online for positive reviews and let them know how happy you are to have them as a patient.
  2. For a negative review, thank them for expressing their thoughts and concerns. Whether you agree with their feedback, keep a civil tone to avoid any negative follow-up comments that could escalate the situation. Don’t take it personally and remember what author Jay Baer wrote in Hug Your Haters. A negative review offers an opportunity to salvage a situation and may reveal any blind spots in your dental practice’s patient experience.
  3. Decide whether to take a negative situation offline. The last thing you want to do is respond with a comment that sparks an even nastier reply for everyone to see. In such situations, thank them for their feedback and let them know you’re 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 back-and-forth communications directly on a public forum.
  4. Give it 24 hours. If you receive a negative review, take some time to write a response, sit on it for 24 hours, then see how you feel about your response. It’s easy to become defensive, especially if you don’t agree with the review. However, with your dental practice’s online reputation on the line, make sure that you always communicate in a calm, professional manner.
  5. Highlight your practice’s values. There will always be people who are convinced that dental practices are trying to upsell them and don’t really care about their overall oral health. If someone posts an opinion like this and you choose not to take the conversation offline, simply state your practice’s values and that you really do care. You may not change the person’s opinion. Yet in the eyes of potential and existing patients reading the opinion, it doesn’t matter whether you can save the situation. What matters is that those people see you’re responsive to feedback, that you treat people with respect, and that you make attempts to address concerns and resolve complaints.

Tips for Handling Negative Reviews

Remember, negative reviews aren’t the end of the world, especially when they’re countered by multiple positive reviews. People can tell when an online review is a one-time rant against a dental practice or if there seems to be an overall trend of poor service. The most important thing is to show prospective patients that you do care about patient feedback, and you’re dedicated to providing great service and care.

To further help you with all this, download our free whitepaper Perfecting Your Online Reputation. This descriptive whitepaper walks you through how to manage, respond to, and gain positive patient reviews.

Here’s to your practice success.

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