An occasional bad review isn’t always bad news! When (not if) you happen to get the inevitable bad review, it might make you upset. You try so hard to provide great care for your patients and criticism can be defeating. But you can’t take it personally. Instead, you can use the negative feedback to your advantage.
It’s impossible to please everyone. Patients that leave negative reviews are often not the ideal patients for your practice anyway. It would be nice to be the perfect fit for everyone, but that’s just not realistic.
Negative feedback can lead you to discover ways to improve your practice and it makes you look more credible. Readers are skeptical when a business only has sugary sweet reviews. According to a study by IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center, shoppers are more likely to buy a product that has between 4.2 and 4.5 stars than a perfect 5-star rating.
So when you get a bad review, do your best to put it in perspective. Eventually, new positive reviews will flood in and outshine a single bad one. For now, rather than feeling like it’s the end of the world, consider the feedback with an open mind.
How can bad reviews improve your practice?
Patient comments might bring problems to your attention you didn’t even know existed. Many issues are fixable with minor adjustments. The hardest part is identifying the problem in the first place. An outside perspective can be enlightening. And what better perspective is there than that of your patients, the people you provide care for?
A common complaint from dental patients is that the wait time is too long. Yet, many dental teams are not even aware of the wait time in their offices because it is not tracked. Implementing a system such as YAPI can help if this is a relatable scenario in your practice. YAPI tracks patients’ arrival, appointment and treatment times. Patient avatars begin to flash if the patient has been waiting a while to alert your team that action is required.
Perhaps a patient writes a review that says the doctor was great but the lady at checkout was rude. This is a good indicator that you should talk to the team member and learn more.
Of course, you can’t always escape unjustified opinion that holds little truth. Maybe your scheduling coordinator did her best to help the patient. Perhaps the patient is unreasonable or your financial policy could benefit from a review. This is why you should consider all negative feedback but don’t dwell on unwarranted reviews.
Related: Your Guide to Online Reviews
Some features will deter certain clients but not bother your ideal patients. For example, a reviewer might say that the treatment cost was too high. This detail is helpful for potential customers because it gives them an idea of what to expect. Many will read it and not be turned off if you have other good reviews. When they call to inquire about the cost, they may be pleasantly surprised that it’s more reasonable than anticipated.
Negative reviews make your business trustworthy.
Since no one is perfect, people are unconvinced when a business has only 5-star reviews. Think of your response to a bad review as an opportunity to build an even stronger relationship with the customer.
According to Bazaarvoice, 70% of respondents said their opinion was changed after a business responded to a review. Responding shows you’ve made an effort and want to make it right. Your response speaks more about you than the negative review. You are not only responding to the reviewer; you are responding to anyone else who sees it. And where do your potential patients go to find information about you? They look on online review sites!
The next time you read a bad review about your practice, don’t take it to heart. Take a deep breath, think about what it says and talk about it with your team. Is there anything you can do to improve your practice based on this review? Is the person right or just angry? Respond with discretion, thank the reviewer for his or her feedback, offer an apology if indicated and move on. Smile at the new stream of positive reviews coming in.
Dr. Gina Dorfman completed her dental training at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry in 2000 and shortly after she started her own practice near Los Angeles. Her passion for creating systems and leveraging technology to streamline practice operations is what eventually led her to co-found YAPI. Today, among practicing dentistry, she is a published author, a motivational speaker, and a frequent contributor to the many articles found on our blog!