A lot of practice owners and managers are afraid of online reviews as they are difficult to control and can be, at times, unpredictable. However, online reviews are one of the cheapest and most effective tools you can have when running a business. And yes, that applies to the negative reviews as well. Below, we explain why:
Always Be Professional
When responding to reviews, especially negative reviews, it’s never a good idea to lose your cool or start a petty back and forth between you and the patient. Even if you’re in the right, this will still reflect badly on your practice. When you’re responding to an online review, you aren’t simply responding to that one person – you’re sending a message to all past, current and potential patients, so it’s crucial that you maintain your dignity. No one is going to respect a practice or a dentist who gets into a trivial and public feud with every person who has something negative to say in the Google review section. Also, remember to reply to all of your positive reviews by thanking your patients and gently encouraging them to return.
Negative Reviews Can Become An Asset
There are two important ways in which every practice owner or manager should be utilising any negative reviews that they may get. Pretty much every practice will at some stage end up with some kind of online criticism, it’s simply the way the world of business works today.
These reviews should always be responded to politely, promptly and with an offer to somehow resolve the issue at hand. This publicly projects the image that you value your patients and are completely willing to listen to what they have to say, which goes a long way towards retaining that patient and perhaps even helping you to attract some new patients.
The second great thing about negative reviews is that they’re a very effective learning tool. If you notice a trend in negative reviews where people are consistently referring to a rude receptionist or extreme waiting times before appointments, then you immediately have strong indicators of your weak spots. Simply by giving your receptionist more training or implementing a more effective booking system, you will have rectified the issue and will be much more likely to retain your patients. When running any kind of business, it’s vital that you address your problems quickly and successfully rather than burying your head in the sand.
It’s Good To Have A Mixture
Surprisingly, it’s often better to have a few negative online reviews rather than have only positive ones. In today’s day and age, a lot of people are clued in on things like fake reviews that are paid for or generated by bots. By no means should you be aiming for a lot of negative reviews, but a few criticisms sprinkled amongst positive reviews actually helps to lend credibility to your practice and authenticity to the overall review section for your practice. I mean, let’s face it – nobody’s perfect all of the time.
Negative reviews from people who aren’t genuine patients can be very frustrating and distressing, especially when you’ve invested a lot of time and resources into building a reputable business and positive online presence. If you have one fake review, then your best option is to respond to the review by thanking the author for their feedback but by pointing out that no records of a patient or appointment matching their details/description exists. You should then invite them to call or pop in to your practice and that you’ll ensure the issue is resolved. This kind of response is gracious and maintains professionalism while also alerting other viewers that this is likely a fake review.
However, if you’re talking about more than one or two fake reviews, it’s a bad idea to use this method. If viewers see a lot of negative reviews with the exact same or similar response, they’ll think you have something to hide and are refusing to accept constructive criticism. If your practice is under attack from an influx of fake reviews, then you may want to consider consulting a lawyer. In fact just a few months ago, in a landmark case, an Adelaide-based lawyer was awarded $750,000 in damages after a woman posted three negative online reviews about his business, despite the fact that she had never been a client.
At Dental Depot, we have supplied dental equipment to countless different dental practices in a huge range of suburbs across South East Queensland. These years of experience and expertise have given us an in depth knowledge and understanding of what works within the dental industry and what doesn’t. To learn more about how we can help to transform your practice, get in touch with us today!