Dentist Reviews and What to Do
Have a Bad Online Review of Your Dental Practice? Here’s What to Do.
As a dental practice owner, nothing is more crushing than a bad review. These types of negative feedback can be damaging in a personal sense and also damage your business’s finances. Fortunately, when this happens, you do have options.
Let’s get the facts straight: You are eventually going to get a bad review.
These days, for the most part, this type of negative feedback is almost always hurtful. Most often it is seen on directory services or social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, on a blog, or any other internet-based service; even Google.
Customer service is always paramount to any successful business person’s bottom line, even a dentist’s, so when someone clearly doesn’t value the effort that we put into the customer experience, it hits particularly hard.
Put your chin up! Even though it seems bad, this type of review isn’t as bad as you think. You can make your bad reviews work for you. In addition to this, you can also do something about these reviews, though it isn’t what you’re expecting.
Let’s Establish One Thing: A Bad Review Doesn’t Mean that you are Bad
The key is dealing with bad feedback objectively; this should be your first step in the process. The more patients your dental practice serves, the more chance of garnering a bad review. Simply put, you can’t make everyone happy, and unhappy people like to make it known.
You’ll want to get used to the experience as best you can. If you have a few hundred reviews and a few are more negative than the others, what’ll happen when those reviews reach into the thousands? You can definitely expect more bad reviews at this point. As the saying goes, “you can please some of the people, some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.”
Consider these five points; they will help you add some objectivity to the negative review experience:
1. Perhaps the bad review came from a patient that just didn’t find that they were a good fit for your type of procedures.
Simply put, your dental practice can’t be perfect for every type of customer, and that might seem unfortunate, but that’s actually good. Meeting our customer’s needs is important, but a 100 percent satisfaction isn’t realistic. Your product or service is designed to fill a need, by its very nature that means that it won’t be able to fulfill the needs of people who aren’t looking for your type of product or service.
This situation is a major reason for bad reviews; not everyone can find their perfect solution in what you do, and that’s fine.
2. When You do Fulfill a Customer’s Needs, They Have a Tendency to Say Nothing.
3. Consider Every Bad Review a Unique Chance to Excel.
Even if your negative review is legit, no one is perfect, even businesses. Screw ups occur from time to time. They key is to recover from the mistake as gracefully as possible and take the opportunity to create stronger bonds with your patient base.
Many marketing professionals consider this the service recovery paradox. This effectively means that when you recover from a mistake, patients notice and stronger bonds are developed between your practice and its patients. As a matter of fact, many customers will become even more loyal.
You can never fully erase the chance at screw ups, so leverage the opportunity presented by a mistake and improve noticeably. You’ll foster a better connection with your patients.
4. Consider One Thing: The Bad Reviews may be from Patients in a Bad Mood.
Who hasn’t been in a mood? We have a tendency to take it out on others when we’re having a bad day, and this behavior can easily be directed at a business that we visit.
I’ve displaced my anger in the past and been a poor customer. It wouldn’t have taken much for me to have gotten on Yelp and caused some poor business owner some stress. This type of experience can extend to a dental patient as well. My anger didn’t have anything to actually do with the service, and this is a fact that you should remember.
5. There Are Negative People out There and the Reviewer Might be One of Them
Some patients like to:
Take pleasure from personally attacking people rather than their problems. This means that they’d rather attack other patients, potential patients, or members of your support staff. These types of patients are prone to profanity and just saying things that are in no way helpful to the experience.
These types of patients will display utter vitriol at the slightest provocation. Ignore these patients.
What to Do When You Get a Bad Review
Many businesses that have an online presence will actively campaign to get a negative review deleted. This is patently a bad idea.
The best course of action is to identify the problem that lead to the bad review. Typically, this is an event between your practice and the patient that caused them to provide the bad review in the first place.
If you want to turn a loss into a win, focus on improving on the situation that leads to the problem.
Always remember that the patient who complained is a person, so treat them with respect and empathize with their situation at all times. Show them that you want to make it right.
Walt Disney has a great way of managing unsatisfied customers, and it has yielded them excellent results. With 135 million customers yearly they always use the H.E.A.R.D. system:
Hear: Always listen to what your patients have to say. Oftentimes, that’s all it takes to turn an angry patient to a calm one.
Empathize: Another thing that a patient loves to hear is that you understand.
Apologize: If you’re not contrite and it’s clear, nothing will make a patient angrier. Express sincere apologies about their unfortunate situation. It’s great to be sorry about it anyway.
Resolve: Always ask what can be done to help resolve the patient’s situation. Quick resolution is absolutely imperative. Dental procedure issues can be resolved just like anything else.
Diagnose: This will work your investigative muscles. Find out what happened and fix it.
This customer service technique was developed to work with live customers not online patients, but this technique is still useful for the denizens of the internet as well.
Always respond quickly and publicly to online negative reviews and never defend yourself.
As a business owner, I’m sure that if you were thinking about doing business with a company and a negative review came to light, you’d prefer to see that that company took the high road as it pertains to the issue.
You’d want to see that the business addressed the issue, took responsibility, and offered to fix the issue. If you saw that business getting defensive, wouldn’t it seem problematic for your business relationship? While this might seem like a strange allegory, many businesses simply forget to treat bad reviews as an opportunity to create lasting loyalty.
Just remember; always respond in a public forum.
Reaching out to them individually might help them, but the bad review will look like it wasn’t responded to, which leaves a bad impression forpotential patients. Reply in the place where you got the negative review, on their blog, or on social media.
If you use the H.E.A.R.D. system in this situation, you can turn things around.
The Drown Out Method
Rather than getting the bad reviews deleted, try this method. I’ve found that if I solve the underlying issue, negative reviewers are more likely to actually delete their own negative reviews. Even if they don’t delete, they can even edit, stating about how the customer service resolution was positive and things were made right.
In the past, I’ve found that dealing with the underlying issues, really can help a brand excel and become stronger so that patients become increasingly loyal.
Any business can learn. A key takeaway that you should consider, especially if you are building leads from directory-based services like Yelp, Amazon, Foursquare, or even App Stores, is to work to provide a service that earns more positive reviews.
Consider this, if you were checking out a business and saw that there were 265 good reviews and 15 bad, would you consider the company as having a bad customer service experience? Of course not; this is because good reviews tend to outweigh the bad.
If you are looking to develope a powerful online reputation and increase your positive dentist reviews The 5 Star Dentist, is a great resource to help you minimize the effects of bad reviews. The service will also increase your 5 star reviews.