You know what they say – you could be the juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches. For most businesses, including dentists in 2018, negative reviews now just come with the territory.

But this isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, a negative review can give your practice the opportunity to show that it wants to listen to patient feedback, values opinions of patients, and cares about making things right.

So if you get a bad review, here’s how to address it in the best way possible to come out on top:

  1. Respond, no matter what. Even if this means you must cool-down for 24 hours before posting a response. Just be sure to respond within 48 hours.
  2. Apologize to the patient for their experience (even if you completely disagree with what they said).
  3. Sympathize and empathize with them. You don’t have to be over the top, but showing a bit of empathy can go a long way. Saying things like “I understand that would have been frustrating…”
  4. Offer to make it right and take the conversation offline as quick as possible. If someone was unhappy with the wait times at your practice, offer to send them a little gift as a token of appreciation for their patience. And, in your reply, simply state that you’ll be reaching out to them offline to make things right (this helps you avoid back-and-forth in a public online forum).
  5. Be authentic. Be real and honest with what happened (without shooting yourself in the foot). At the end of the day, patients just want to feel heard.
  6. Ask for a revised review. Once you talk with the patient offline, and things are settled away, ask if they would consider revising or updating their review so it doesn’t reflect poorly on your practice. You’d be surprised at how many patients are willing to take this extra step once the situation has been handled!

To avoid negative online reviews, it’s also a good idea to train your staff to ask how everything went at the appointment before the patient leaves your practice. This way if there was anything that went wrong, the patient’s issues or questions can be addressed before they go home and write a negative review about your practice.

Take control of your online reputation today by downloading this FREE Online Reputation Toolkit.