What feels like a sock in the jaw? A bad online review of your practice, that’s what!
As a business owner, you may have experienced one or two of these. The review may have come from
- an honest customer who had a bad experience
- a “quack” who revels in leaving a trail of reputation destruction throughout the web-o-sphere
- evil competitor who will stop at nothing to destroy you.
Whatever the source, receiving a bad review can hurt your pride and your bank account.
Whatever the source, your first response to a bad review from a dental patient is, most probably, “How do I make it go away?” As many a Web Marketing expert will tell you, “that all depends”. When you discover a bad online review, here are four important questions that will put things in perspective…
Question No. 1: Does the review seem legitimate – or a just malicious fake?
If the patient review in question seems to be on the level, your strategy should be based not on how to delete the review, which is often impossible, but rather, how to communicate with the customer and “make it right.”
It will often be the case that you actually know who wrote the review – we advise trying to contact that dental patient, resolve the issue, offer some kind of compensation, such as a discount, and ask him or her to write a positive follow-up at the site of the bad review.
In addition, most review sites give the business owner an opportunity to answer the review online. So it’s important to be wary of reviews for your business and to have account with the most popular sites so that you can reply to the review.
The general strategy here is to demonstrate to the public that you are responsive, and that you care about your online reputation and your patients. That can actually help your business a whole lot – turning a negative into a positive!
Question No. 2: Does the review reflect an inherent truth about my practice, or is this just a “one-off” comment?
It is difficult to be self-critical, especially when you think you’re perfect, and many of us do, but being able to take objective criticism is crucial for long-term business success.
View legitimate, negative online reviews as a clarion call to improve the customer experience of your practice, especially if the same type of complaint shows up more than once.
Question No. 3: Is this customer review a malicious fake?
If the answer is yes, depending on the review site, you may be able to either respond to the review online, or contest the review with the site. Again, every review website is different, so check the rules and take action.
Fourth: Am I doing enough to encourage positive customer reviews and feedback?
Simple fact: Most all review sites post in chronological order, from newest to oldest. So the latest favorable reviews you receive can effectively “bury” the older unfavorable reviews. Essentially, the best defense against bad reviews is the encouragement of good ones.
Our advice is to adopt an online reputation management system or protocol that promotes customer feedback and advertises positive reviews – on your website, in search engines, and in social media.
The Bottom Line on Bad Reviews
As a business owner, it’s important to understand that you will never please people 100% of the time, no matter how hard you try. Ultimately, negative reviews are just part of doing business. Use negative online patient reviews as a positive force, and you’ll never wish to make them going away again.