As a dentist, you know your online reputation is important to your online dental marketing and the success of your practice. Therefore, you can’t help but panic when your practice receives less-than-flattering patient reviews.
Receiving a negative review can make you feel like you’re not in control of your online reputation, but you’re more in charge than you might think. Plus, unsavory reviews can actually boost your credibility because patients understand that no one is perfect.
Minimize the effects of a negative review with a proactive approach. Read on to learn how to handle negative reviews the right way.
Take control of your dental reputation management strategy
Actively monitor for new online reviews
Proper dental reputation management requires staying on top of both positive and negative reviews. There are two ways to go about this: You can frequently monitor the review sites most important to you or invest in reputation management software to do it for you.
If you — or a member of your staff — have time, add a manual review of websites on a regular basis to your workflow. Many online review sites also allow you to claim your profiles and set up alerts for when a new review comes in.
Alternatively, investing in reputation management software can help save you time as it can give you a full picture of your online reputation all in one place.
Learn more: 5 questions to ask when evaluating reputation management software
Reply to incoming negative patient reviews, if appropriate
Now that you’re monitoring for online reviews, you’ll know when you receive a negative review. The next step to your dental reputation management should be to address negative feedback.
Almost nine in every 10 people read local businesses responses to reviews, according to BrightLocal. Even more telling, 30 percent of consumers say they highly value businesses’ responses.
Despite this, more than half of patients who’ve submitted negative feedback have not been contacted by the practice to address their concerns, according to PatientPop. This is a big mistake, as patient satisfaction nearly doubles to 99 percent when their negative feedback is addressed.
When crafting your reply, make sure it’s HIPAA compliant. This means you cannot share any private health information publicly, even if the reviewer divulged their own medical history. Therefore, it’s best to provide a somewhat generic response and continue the conversation offline, if necessary.
Also, be careful to never apologize for an alleged improper diagnosis or inadequate treatment, as this could be considered malpractice.
Check out: The dos and don’ts of patient reviews for dental practices
Actively work to collect more patient reviews
If you’ve received a negative review, you may be hesitant to ask for patient feedback for fear of receiving another one. But more reviews can help paint a more accurate picture of your dental practice. Plus, feedback is mostly positive: 60.8 percent of patients who’ve posted a care-related review have never posted a negative one, according to PatientPop.
However, not all satisfied patients think to take this step on their own, so they might need a little push. Two-thirds of consumers said they have been asked to leave a review, according to BrightLocal. Of this group, 70 percent went on to leave a review.
Asking patients for feedback might make you cringe, but most patients won’t think anything of it. Simply inquire about their experience with your dental practice, and if they share kind words, take this as your cue. Think about what you have to gain from another glowing review, and be proud of the outstanding care you provide.
Related: Common mistakes dentists make when requesting patient reviews
Take action on negative feedback
Bad reviews always sting a bit, but they’re a valuable way to learn and grow. Some negative feedback will likely be one-offs or simply an indication the patient wasn’t the right fit for your dental practice.
However, if several patient reviews highlight the same issue — i.e., a rude employee or notably long wait times — this is something you need to address. Increase patient satisfaction levels by using this feedback to correct the problem now.
Read more: 4 out of 5 dentists can improve their practices by doing this one thing
Negative reviews will only derail your dental reputation management strategy if you allow it to happen. Staying on top of unflattering feedback and actively working to remedy the situation shows patients you truly care.
Are patients and healthcare providers on the same page regarding reputation? Check out “Doctors and patients agree on impact of reviews, comparison shows” to find out.