Negative reviews … we’ve all read them! It’s possible your practice has already received one. We certainly feel better when our reviews speak highly of our practice, employees, product, services and so on, yet we can learn a great deal from criticism, and that includes negative reviews.
The statistics are staggering!
74% will change their mind based on a negative on-line review [Harris Interactive]
89% of users trust the reviews they read on-line [Cone, Inc.]
92% of users read on-line reviews [Etailing Group]
Social media gives patients/customers an easy platform for posting reviews. The ability to remain anonymous allows more freedom to write harsh reviews.
We recommend reading the guidelines below so you can be prepared and have a plan for when you receive a negative review.
Monitor your reviews and respond as quickly as possible. Some media platforms (such as Google+) allow you to respond publicly. This will show the reviewer and other customers that you’re responding and taking an interest in what your customers are saying.
When you discover a negative review, you’ll most likely be upset, perhaps angry. But here are some tips that may help you handle them, if not well, at least better:
- Don’t respond until after you’ve calmed down.
- Apologize if the situation deserves a legitimate apology.
- Thank them for the review.
- Offer your thoughts as to why you believe the review is incorrect (if applicable.)
- Share what steps you’re taking to improve the situation.
- If a refund, discount or additional service is offered to keep the reviewer as a customer, make sure it is consistent and that every customer/patient who complains is treated the same.
- If the social media platform does not allow for a public response, it’s still important to respond directly to that customer.
- Never threaten or write a harmful or disrespectful message toward a reviewer.
- Keep your message as positive as possible.
It’s important to respond to every review, both positive and negative ones. Customers are taking time to write about your service or product and you should definitely thank them. Engage the reviewer by asking additional questions – if applicable – and be sure to share details about the product/service they mentioned.
Don’t post or have an employee post a fake review. If a potential client were to find out, the damage to your reputation could be severe.
Use what you learn. For example, if you get a handful of people suggesting that they’d use a new service, different product, or would like a change to be made, try to initiate the change.
Beware of Trolls! There are nasty people online known as “trolls” whose main thrill in life is to harm as many people and businesses as they can. If you believe that you’ve got a “troll” leaving you negative reviews, politely and generically thank them for their review but try not to engage them. They’ll hopefully get bored and move on to another target. Don’t argue, ban or block them from the site because they’ll get their troll friends to bombard you with even more negative comments.
Unfortunately, some competitors stoop to low tactics to post false reviews to trash their competitors. There are programs that can mask their I.P. (internet protocol) address so they can post numerous reviews from a list of aliases from one computer. If you believe this is happening, stand up for yourself and post about how their complaint has not occurred at your business. Again, keep your message positive and do not post any harsh words towards the reviewer. You may also want to work with an SEO company who can help design a campaign to counteract the bad reviews.
Above every thing else, encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. Give them a link to a place where they can leave a review. Again, engage with your customers to send the clear message that you care about them and their feedback.
We hope the suggestions we’ve shared will help you respond appropriately to less-than-positive reviews. We’ll leave you with a great quote and hope you will leave us your comments as well: “Customer complaints are the schoolbooks from which we learn.” – Anonymous
Schedule a practice assessment and we can discuss ways to gain positive patient reviews and grow your dental practice.
Toll Free 888-421-1808