How Can a Negative Review be a Good Thing?

Is there a way to avoid criticism?  The writer Elbert Hubbard once said, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”  Since your dental practice is in the business of doing something, something very beneficial for patients, you can expect criticism.  A bad review is part of doing business, and fortunately the criticism can actually be a good thing.

Consider the reviews you read before buying a product or service.  If you only saw glowing reviews, what would you think?  You would likely conclude the product or service was too good to be true, and you may wonder if the reviews were padded.  Negative reviews are therefore normal, and while that may not take the sting out of the criticism, keep in mind that patients expect to see something negative in your reviews.

The biggest opportunity with a negative review is in how you respond.  While you may want to challenge the reviewer to a dual over the complaints, keep in mind that an emotional response will only make things worse.  What will impress a potential new patient is that you responded to the criticism with professionalism.  You want to be concise, positive, and inviting.

An effective response indicates you are sorry to learn about the patient’s bad experience and that you invite the patient to contact you to discuss the matter.  If the review brings out something you need to fix, indicate you are going to address the issue and thank the patient for making you aware of the problem.

By addressing a negative review in a concise, positive, and inviting manner, you will demonstrate that when things do not go according to plan, you are proactive in taking corrective action.  And when you think about it, that is part of what makes you a good dentist in the first place, and now potential new patients can see firsthand thanks to the negative review.

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