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How to Respond to Negative and Positive Reviews from Patients

January 28, 2022 | 4 min read

tab32 thanks Tyson Downs of Titan Web Agency for the insights in this post

Today's consumers rely heavily on online reviews for almost anything they might buy, from personal hygiene products to healthcare providers. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers read at least one online review before buying a product, and 83% say that reviews must be both recent and relevant to be trustworthy.

What we can learn from these statistics is that reputation management for dentists must include review management to be effective. 

Why Responding to Reviews is Important

For dentists and dental practices, online reviews offer an opportunity to interact with patients and demonstrate a commitment to patient care and satisfaction.

Google has confirmed that encouraging patients to leave reviews and responding to these reviews as they are posted are important elements of local dental SEO. They specifically mentioned that the presence of high-quality reviews combined with responses from local businesses work to increase business visibility and help attract potential customers — or in the case of dental practices, new patients.

Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews

You know that responding to reviews from your dental patients is essential, and this includes both positive and negative reviews. Businesses sometimes neglect positive reviews in the mistaken belief that they do not require a response. However, patients who are happy with your services deserve recognition. They may further express their happiness by referring others to you. With that in mind, here are some best practices for responding to positive reviews.

Express Gratitude

The first thing to do is to thank the person who left the review. Every positive review your practice receives can help you attract new patients, and that deserves a thank you. You don't need to go into a lot of detail, but the reviewer will appreciate that you took the time to express your gratitude for the review.

Encourage the Patient to Come Back

After you say thank you, it is also a good idea to encourage the patient to come back to your practice. This type of encouragement is always helpful because it demonstrates that you care about your patients and their health and that you will value them on an ongoing basis.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Finally, keep your response brief. You need to acknowledge the review but a sentence or two should be enough to make the person who wrote it feel valued and appreciated without taking too much of their time. Plus, short responses are easier for prospective patients to read!

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

It is undeniably important to respond to any bad review because prospective patients may make a special point of seeking out negative customer reviews and your responses to them before booking an appointment with you. Negative feedback is a learning opportunity and here are some pointers to consider.

Respond Quickly

The first thing you must do is respond quickly without responding in anger. It's natural to be upset when you receive a negative review, but a quick response can help you avoid any damage done by a negative review by showing that you care about the reviewer's experience.

You should respond within 24 hours or fewer. That way, any prospective patients who see the review will also see that you responded quickly and took it seriously.

Acknowledge the Complaint

Your response should immediately acknowledge the complaint that was in the review. Acknowledgment is essential because it validates the reviewer and shows humility. Also, remember to keep in mind that your acknowledgment should not be softened with excuses.

For example, if someone left a review complaining that they had to wait too long during an appointment, your acknowledgment might be, "We understand that you experienced a long wait time at your recent appointment."

Apologize and Empathize

After you have acknowledged the complaint, the next step is to apologize for the issue that led to the negative review and empathize with the reviewer. Building on the example from the previous step, you might say something like this:

We are so sorry that you had to wait longer than you anticipated. We know that your time is valuable, and we never want to waste it.

Make the apology and the empathy specific to the complaint and make it clear that you care about the patient's experience.

Take Responsibility

After you have apologized, it's time to take responsibility for the reviewer's negative experience. It doesn't matter whether you think the reviewer is right or wrong. What matters is that you show yourself to be accountable for everything that happens in your practice. For example:

We strive to treat all patients in a timely manner, but we failed in your case, and we want to make it right.

People who read your response will appreciate it if you don't make excuses, but rather, take responsibility for what happened.

Invite the Reviewer to Discuss the Matter Offline

Finally, invite the reviewer to connect with you offline to resolve the matter to their satisfaction. You should include a phone number or email address for them to do so and make sure to respond immediately if they reach out to you.

In many cases, this response method will lead to a speedy resolution and may even prompt the reviewer to go back and edit their review after you turn a bad experience into a positive one.

Conclusion

The best way to respond to online reviews is to develop a patient review strategy for your practice that includes methods to encourage reviews as well as protocols for responses to reviews. By taking a proactive approach and encouraging reviews, you can improve your online reputation, attract new patients, and grow your dental practice.

With tab32, you can simply text your patient a review link right from the appointment window as you are checking them out. Click below to learn more about how tab32 can help you get reviews from your patients.

Book a demo now!

 


Tyson Downs 1 Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenue goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and enjoys spending time with his family. Particularly on the baseball field.

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