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How to Respond to Negative Online Dental Patient Reviews

People read online reviews before deciding to choose goods or services. The dental business is no exception. Reviews and testimonials are a great opportunity to let prospective patients know good things your business is doing. They are also good tools for them to know about your team and the environment at your dental clinic in general. However, situations are not always as we wish them to be and some patients get irritated and unsatisfied with your service.


Both people and organisations alike dread negative reviews. Although negative reviews do highlight your business’s shortcomings publicly, they are not the end of the road! In fact, as per the survey, businesses having a mix of negative and positive reviews are seen as more credible.


As reviews definitely affect your dental practice outcomes, reviews whether good or bad must be responded to! So how to respond to negative reviews? Following things must be always kept in mind.

Speed of response

Never ignore online negative reviews! Because you don’t want things to spiral upwards. People who are giving negative reviews generally do it soon after they had a bad experience. And that experience is still fresh in their mind. So, you must respond quickly as they are expecting a resolution urgently. This will position you as a dental practice that prioritizes customer satisfaction and are willing to do things required to improve it. This will also restrict the damage done.

Be thoughtful and honest

In addition to being quick, be empathetic and honest. Acknowledging the problem is usually the half work done as patients giving negative feedback are wanting to be heard honestly in the first place. All businesses have some shortcomings and yours is not an exception.

Practically, this is an opportunity to identify a potential shortcoming of your dental practice and improve upon it. Regardless of the offensiveness of the review, be calm and respond in a way you would have wanted your employee to respond in person. Your personalised and custom reply makes it more authentic and shows that you take them seriously.

Don’t get personal and be thankful

Even if you remember the patient who has given the negative medical review was not behaving in the right way, never retaliate. You have much more at stake. First of all, thank them for taking out time to give a review, being transparent, and providing a chance for your dental practice to improve.


If you honestly work on negative patient feedback, you will improve as a dental service provider and such negative interactions would automatically reduce. On the other hand, being apathetic and indifferent would lead to losing patients permanently.

Take it offline

The Best way to damage control is to acknowledge their displeasure, apologise and ask them the right time to reach out to them and take this conversation offline. Most of the time the treatment details and other medical issues could not be discussed in an open forum.

This is also one reason to respond quickly so that unnecessary online conversation stops.

Compensate if required

In rare cases, if the situation demands so and you feel that the treatment received by the aggrieved patient was not complete or further treatment would be required for him/her to make good any defects in the last sitting, you must compensate for the same. Compensation can be in the form of a refund or an additional sitting to rectify the problem.

You may like to send such patients a gift card, or a discount coupon for future treatments also.

Take appropriate action

If you find that your staff was actually at fault or there was a lapse in following the right process, take corrective action. You must make sure that such slip-ups do not happen in the future. Use such instances for continuous improvement.

Customers appreciate if they feel they have been heard and had an impact on your business. Let them know how their feedback affected your business.

Follow up and convert them into happy customers

Once you have taken all the above steps, interact with the patient and give feedback of what steps have been taken to redress his/ her issue and that now the issue has been resolved. Sometimes the patients do not respond after the initial negative review.

You need to follow up and try to ensure that they are happy and satisfied customers at the end. Also, try to convince them to respond to their earlier review and close it on a positive note. If they are satisfied that they have been treated fairly, they might even remove the negative review.

Conclusion

It would be unrealistic to expect 5-star reviews all the time as things sometimes go out of your control and will cause displeasure to your customers. However, such situations present an opportunity for your dental practice to improve and the way you respond to them gives an impression that you care for your patients and welcome their feedback.

For any queries or support regarding how to handle online negative reviews, please contact us at One Stop Dental Marketing. We are always ready to help. We also provide services of PPC, website design, social media marketing & SEO