Negative Reviews: 9 Helpful Hints for How to Handle

The PS Team
negative review

It’s no secret that online reviews (Google or social media) hold immense power and influence. They’re a necessity in our digital world. Your online reputation plays a huge role in attracting new patients and retaining your existing ones. As the saying goes though, you can’t please everybody so a negative is inevitable.

We are of the mindset that every dental professional strives to deliver outstanding patient care so reading negative feedback can cause hurt feelings and make us want to just ignore it. However, that’s the worst thing you can do. So what do you do with a negative review? In this article, we will give you nine tips for how to handle the negative feedback, maintain your reputation, and possibly even create a raving fan.  

1. Keep Emotions in Check

Negative reviews can definitely sting, especially when you believe the criticism is unjustified. It’s important not to let emotions take over.

You want to approach the situation with a calm and composed mindset. Before responding, take a moment to analyze the situation objectively. Remember, this is the patient’s point of view. It’s how they felt or saw things from their perspective. Acknowledge your feelings and then refrain from reacting defensively.

2. Respond Promptly and Thoughtfully

When it comes to responding to negative reviews, timing is critical. Aim to respond to the review within 24 to 48 hours, demonstrating that you value feedback and take it seriously. Your response should be thoughtful and empathetic. You want to acknowledge the patient’s concerns and express your willingness to address the issue.

3. Take the Conversation Offline

You definitely want to acknowledge the review publicly so others can see that you addressed the matter. What you don’t want to do is have an entire conversation online for all to read.

Your response should communicate your commitment to resolving the issue in a personal and respectful manner and it’s good to provide them with a contact email or phone number in your response. We also recommend that you call or email the patient encouraging them to reach out directly.

4. Show Empathy and Understanding

Put yourself in the patient’s shoes and try to understand their perspective. Leading with empathy can help defuse tense situations. It shows the patient that you genuinely care about their experience and are dedicated to finding a satisfactory solution.

5. Address Specific Concerns with Care

In most businesses, you can respond to a negative review addressing the specific concerns raised in the review. This shows that you’ve taken the time to read and comprehend their feedback. However, in the dental field it’s important to respond in such a way that reflects your commitment to improving your services based on individual experiences while not divulging protected information about their treatment.

review tip

Feel free to use this script as a guide… “Thank you for your honest feedback. We’re sorry to hear your experience was less than excellent. To protect patient information, we will reach out to address your concerns personally. Or please feel free to contact [first name of the person they should speak to] at [your contact information]. 

6. Be Professional and Respectful

Regardless of the tone in the negative review, you want to walk the higher ground. Always maintain a professional tone in your response. Avoid engaging in arguments (in writing or otherwise) or becoming defensive. This makes things worse. Respond with politeness and respect, ensuring that your team is portrayed as mature and caring.

7. Keep Asking for More Feedback

Don’t let one negative review give you pause in asking you satisfied patients to share their positive experiences as well. Positive reviews act as a buffer against occasional negative feedback and strengthen your overall online reputation.

8. Learn from Negative Feedback

Every negative review presents a learning opportunity. Analyze the feedback objectively and use it to identify potential areas for improvement within your dental office. Embrace feedback as a valuable tool for refining your services and enhancing patient experiences.

9. Monitor Online Reviews Continuously

Make it a habit to regularly monitor your dental office’s online reviews on platforms like Google. This proactive approach enables you to address any issues swiftly and engage with your patients regularly. By staying on top of reviews, you can maintain a positive online reputation and swiftly tackle any negative feedback that may arise.

Summing it up…

Receiving a negative review on Google can be disheartening, we get it! It’s all about how you handle the situation. When a patient feels you extend professionalism and grace and when they see you respond promptly, empathetically, and respectfully, you can turn negative experiences into opportunities for growth and improvement. More times than not, you can turn that unhappy patient into one that will brag about how great you are! 

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