The Dire Dilemma of Bad Dental Reviews

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Patient Attraction Episode 874

Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth advertising. Negative reviews, if not addressed and properly handled, can cause major problems for your dental practice. After the break, I’ll tell you how to deal with the dental patients and prospects who badmouth you online. Stay tuned.

– I’m Colin Receveur, founder and CEO of SmartBox Web Marketing.

– Thanks for tuning in to the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– This is the first of a 3-part series about online reputation management.

– Google says that people will consult 10.4 sources of information online before making a buying decision.

– Reviews by consumers are at least some of those sources.

– If your dental practice is garnering bad reviews online from unhappy patients, your dental prospects are far less likely to choose you to be their dentist.

– Review sites are springing up like weeds.

– Yelp, Healthgrades, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and many others – including your own website, maybe – give unhappy patients an online voice.

– It’s easy to shrug off complaints, but dentists ignore bad reviews at their peril.  

– Bad news travels fast, and that includes reviews.

– So, here are 4 tips for online reputation management.

– Number 1: Monitor reviews frequently, if not constantly.

– You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken.

– Google Alerts can notify when your practice is mentioned online.

– There are also software programs that will notify you or collect all your reviews.

– If you do have a negative review, you need different approaches for unfounded versus founded complaints.

– Unfounded complaints are best handled publicly.

– You can gently explain the misunderstanding or misperception that led to the complaint.

– NEVER react defensively or attack or belittle the reviewer.

– Keep a helpful, concerned but firm tone that lets you establish that you’re not in the wrong but are still willing to address the complainer’s dental issues.

– You may find that your happy patients will publicly take your side.

– Founded complaints need different handling.

– Unless you’re willing to publicly fall on your sword, which sometimes is the only thing to do, try to reach that legitimately unhappy patient offline.

– A phone call, a personal email, a letter, or even an arranged personal visit can go a long way toward mending fences.

– If you’re in the wrong, readily admit it and apologize.

– Within reason, offer something to make amends for the failure in service or poor patient experience.

– If possible, ask the patient to revise their review or update it to reflect their new satisfaction with your practice.

– You won’t win over all unhappy patients, but they’ll be less likely to vent even more online.

– Tomorrow’s podcast continues our 3-part series on reputation management.

– Until then, keep moving forward.