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Handling negative reviews/feedback from patients

Patient reviews are one of the best dental marketing techniques to drive more patients to your practice, however, its effectiveness depends on their level of satisfaction.

Have you ever received a negative review on your dental website and were worried that it could damage the reputation of your dental practice? Have you received a negative review and just ignored it or not responded to it in a diplomatic way? Many dental websites often struggle to find the perfect response for negative comments or bad feedback but it really is important to remember to reply to these comments in a constructive manner.

In today’s society it’s impossible to please everyone and someone is always likely to disagree with the way that you carry out your business practices but the most important thing to remember is that you can significantly reduce the potential damage of these negative reviews by simply replying to them in a positive way.

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to always respond to any feedback from patients, whether it’s good or bad. You should also profusely apologise for any inconvenience they may have suffered while trying to obtain information about why they had a negative experience. In order to minimise the risk of this negativity spreading on your platform, you should advise the patients to fill out a form via a online link that allows them to write out their complaint in full.

In order to reduce the chance of lots of people seeing this negative review, you should try and “move them aside” as quickly as possible, while making sure they know that you’re taking their complaint seriously. You should always try and actively resolve the complaint and instead of responding emotionally to the negativity (which can sometimes happen if you think the patient is wrong, but remember – the patient is never wrong!). Try and consider the patient’s perspective of the situation and ensure the patient that you take their feedback very seriously.

The main thing to remember in this situation is that you should try and take this person away from the crowd to avoid the negative review to escalate into further comments or reviews by the complainant, as that certainly could potentially be very damaging to your reputation. You should also ensure that their feedback has been duly noted and that you will endeavour to rectify the situation to the best of your ability.

Regardless of how negative the comment is you should always try and respond to the best of your ability so that you can reduce the risk of it happening again. Make sure you respond to the feedback as quickly as possible on the initial reviewing platform but then try and divert the patient to another platform where you can discuss their complaint in greater detail without having everyone on the internet reading about it.

While it be may slightly disheartening to receive a negative review about your practice or a team member, it’s important to remember that negative reviews can actually be turned into positive situations; you can gain feedback from patients and you can see exactly what works for your website and what doesn’t. This will then allow you to make the necessary changes so that your dental website is as successful as possible.

A note from Shaz Memon, our CEO:

” We know the life of a dentist and dental team isn’t a walk in the park, so much red tape to be wary of, the GDC, indemnity defence, staffing challenges so on so forth and the last thing you want to see after trying your best is an unreasonable complaint. I mean – ‘why are people like this!!!’ I hear you shout. Unfortunately, and fortunately we live in a transparent era where people now have the ability to voice themselves louder than ever before. In a way, it helps us in other walks of life too i.e. Ahead of a car purchase, learning from reviews that the brand has a terrible history of reliability – which we may not have easily or accurately been known 15 years ago. Reviews do help us – or if on the receiving end can feel like our reputation has been sullied.  Luckily, most people won’t cling onto a bad review if the majority of your reviews are 5 star and plentiful – if you get a bad review and there is no way to get the complainant to remove it, then just bury it down the list with as many new reviews as you can! “