Here are some tips for dealing with a negative online review of your dental practice –

  1. Respond with an apology online. Some review sites allow you to respond to the reviewer. The message should be apologetic, not contain excuses, not argue that the reviewer is presenting false information and not contain any personal health information. Depending on the actual complaint you can say what steps will be taken for that issue not to occur again. Do not respond if you cannot do so in the above manner.
  2. Attempt to get the negative review removed either by the site or the submitter. It is often difficult to get a negative review removed by the site unless you can prove it is from a competitor or blatantly false. You may be able to ask the patient to remove the review with a personal phone call and apology. Sometimes the dentist taking the time to call makes a positive impact because the patient appreciates this kind of reaching out and the opportunity to be heard. If there is something that can be done to rectify the situation that caused the complaint, offer to do that.
  3. Work to build up positive reviews on the site with the negative review to increase the overall star rating and to present the positives of your dental office to balance the negative review. If you do not already routinely ask positive patients for reviews, take some time to brainstorm a list of patients who might be willing to submit a review for you. Email them with simple directions and a link to the review site to make it quick and easy for them to write a review.
  4. Continue to monitor all reviews to be able to respond quickly if a negative review appears. You can assign a member of your staff the weekly task of checking the major review sites to see if any new reviews have appeared or you can pay a company to monitor your online reputation. The free Google Alerts service can be set up to notify you whenever your business is mentioned by name, but this will not necessarily notify you of all reviews.
  5. Examine if the particular complaint is something that needs to be addressed with your staff so it does not happen again.