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Dealing with Negative Reviews: How to turn an angry patient into your biggest fan (and get some free marketing)

Dealing with Negative Reviews: How to turn an angry patient into your biggest fan (and get some free marketing)

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Posted on 07-29-2011

With the rise of social media and online review sites, word of mouth is becoming more important to dentists and dental business owners than ever. It used to be that an angry patient could tell their friends and family that they didn't like your business, but that was the extent of the damage they could cause. Now, an angry patient can blast their complaints across the internet, potentially scaring off future patients from ever walking through your door.

Bad reviews happen to every business, but as the owner of a dental clinic, you can actually harness the power of these bad reviews and turn angry patients into your biggest advocates. The idea behind this technique is twofold. You want to make things right for the patient who felt wronged, but you also want to publicly show others that your dental clinic takes the satisfaction of their patients seriously. 

Even if you are treating your patients right and following up with patients after every visit, there is still a chance that someone will leave a bad review about your clinic. Fortunately, the following steps will walk you through what you need to do to turn this negative situation into a positive one.

Here is how to turn bad reviews into positive marketing for your dental clinic:

  1. Address bad reviews and comments as soon as possible. This means that you should be monitoring your online reputation so that you can quickly respond to any negative feedback. When you respond quickly to any problems experienced by a patient, you are demonstrating that you listen to your patients and care about making things right for them. Some helpful services for monitoring what people are saying about you or your clinic online include: SocialMention, Google Alerts, and Trakur.

  2. Reply to the negative comment or review by offering to right the wrong. Be willing to take responsibility for the bad experience, even if it wasn't your fault. Introduce yourself as the dentist or staff member from the dental clinic and let the reviewer know that you value their opinion and are sorry to hear they had a bad experience. Most importantly, offer to give them something for free or at a deep discount to demonstrate that you will do what it takes to make things better. Look at this offering as an investment. Your quick response and willingness to make things right is a bit of marketing that will show other potential patients that your dental clinic is a step above the competition.

  3. After you have responded to the bad comment or review, wait a few weeks and publicly follow up with the patient again to make sure that you have adequately addressed their needs. This step is crucial because it will really lock in the fact that you truly care to anyone who sees the exchange, including the original reviewer but also potential future patients.

This three prong approach will turn any patient from a complainer into a brand advocate for your dental clini. Instead of publicly putting your business under fire, they will be bragging to all their friends and family about what a great dentist you are. Even better, anyone who sees your quick response to the negative review online will feel like they can trust your clinic to provide the dental care they need.

Ok, now that you have responded to any bad reviews, the next step is to start generating new, positive reviews and comments about your clinic. There is a simple technique that will both prevent bad reviews and encourage patients to leave good reviews. All you need to do is first make it easy for your patients to leave reviews, and then start reminding them about leaving reviews while your services are fresh in their mind. For example, you might follow up with patients by email after each dental visit, asking for them to leave a review and making sure to provide them with quick links to your business profile at online review sites, such as your Yelp or Facebook profile.

Would you like to start getting reviews but are overwhelmed with all the different review websites and social services? Want help linking your website up with places your patients can leave reviews? At DentalMatrix, our Premium and Elite marketing packages are specifically designed to help dentists market their business effectively and our marketing specialists will do all the work for you, including helping you get set up on multiple online review websites. We will even create a "Share Your Experience" page on your website for you, making it easy for patients to leave reviews for your dental clinic. Interested? Contact DentalMatrix today!

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