Stop the Rumor Mill: What to do if you *gasp* get a negative online review

Stop the Rumor Mill: What to do if you *gasp* get a negative online review

A negative online review would never happen to you, right? You are an upstanding citizen. You take pride in providing the highest level of service to your patients. And most importantly, you are a darn good dentist! The truth is that even if you and your staff do everything in your power to please, delight and take great care of your patients, negative online reviews can happen to anyone.

The ever-increasing use of social media and review websites now allows dissatisfied patients, ex-employees and over-zealous competitors to take their frustrations to thousands. If patients feel like they were underserved by you (whether they really were or not), they want to share it with the world. In the past, this meant telling their spouse or neighbor, but today, it means taking to Yelp, Angie’s List or any other review website to tell their story. In short, people love to “vent” and they want as many people as possible to validate their feelings.

A negative review can do nothing but harm to you and your practice’s hard-earned reputation. How? According to the Opinion Research Corporation, 84% of Americans say online customer reviews have an influence on their decision to purchase a product or service. That means that 84% of potential patients will Google you before booking an appointment and yes, they will be able to see a negative review when they do so. Additionally, negative reviews can also cost you money! For a look at what the cost (in actual dollars) is for one negative review, read our previous blog post here.

So, what do you do if it happens to you? For dentists who have worked hard to build a practice, a negative review can often feel like a personal attack. That is an understandable feeling, but simply ignoring the review and “hoping” it will eventually get lost somewhere in the depths of the Internet isn’t a good strategy. Fortunately, there are some simple tips to consider when diffusing a negative review:

1. Be the Better Person – This is a tough. A negative review can feel like a punch right in the gut, but it’s always important to remember that firing back online can do nothing but more harm. While it may give you an immediate sense of satisfaction, it will be short lived as it will just entice the negative reviewer to post even more.

2. Take a Deep Breath…and Respond! – While people are used to writing negative reviews, they usually aren’t so accustomed to a company actually responding to it. Imagine what might happen if you immediately responded to their concern? First, the reviewer would be shocked that you even responded and usually, they’re grateful that you did. In some cases, you could even turn a negative review into a positive one!

3. Remember your Responses are Public – Responding to negative reviews is a good strategy but remember…any reply you give is public. When potential patients Google you, your responses will show up in their searches. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want them to read. Additionally, Google says that your business name will appear as the “author” when you respond to a review, so always consider the integrity of your business in this situation.

4. Keep it Short and Sweet – Google advises that people appreciate review responses that are truthful and genuine, but get weary of long posts. So, simply address their feedback and move on.

5. Thank Them – Say what? Thank them for a negative review?!? Well, don’t thank them for the negative review, but DO thank them for taking the time to give feedback. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts to help you and your staff improve patient experience in your office.

A negative review can take any dentist by surprise and can do some real damage to a practice if left unaddressed. Our team at Bullseye Media will help you monitor the web for negative reviews and provide your practice with a proactive strategy that protects your brand and takes control of your online reputation. How? We use a powerful software that scours the internet 24/7 looking for reviews, social media mentions and local directory citations of your practice. If anything negative shows up about you, we are notified immediately and we can help you take action.

Don’t leave your reputation up to someone other than yourself. If you want to take a more pro-active approach to protecting your online reputation, contact us today at (800) 506-9817 and learn more about our new online reputation management services.