Managing negative google reviews for dental practices

Dental practices are not like other businesses! Social media is promoted as a way for businesses to get a closer relationship with its customers.  Few businesses would have a more intimate relationship with their customers than the dentist. Dentists aim to build a trusting relationship. The ideal is for patients to feel totally comfortable questioning, and confirm, complex and personal treatment requirements. But what we don’t want is to be handling this relationship over a social media platform. Although every business owner must know how the SEO process works about which one can find more information on these seo videos. The process of social media and SEO is only there only to promote the business. Most of the time crooked teeth could be a problem caused by the wisdom teeth that may not be coming out like they should be, they could even cause really bad pain, that’s why you should go to your dentist for a Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery so there aren’t anymore complications with that perfect smile. Now check out Mama’s picks for giving your family a healthy,

Aren’t dentists lucky that we don’t need to say “thanks” to good reviews in cold social media but can thank people in person when they next attend our dental walk in clinic.

How many other businesses are as fortunate as dental practices where we have contact details for negative reviewers. As a general rule, people don’t want to move from dentist to dentist. Patients are looking for a lasting relationship so we really need to recognise our value base.

Dentists should be mindful of the following:

  1. A negative review is not an AHPRA complaint. Management of a negative review is a PR exercise. Dentists need to put away their instinctive focus on informed consent or justification of their own actions, when handling google reviews.
  2. Dentists should, if at all possible, use their surgery records to contact the patient and resolve the issue. Online is the last resort for contact. Ring them. Don’t ask them to ring you.
    Many practices have found that direct contact with the person, via a personal phone call, has resulted in the person removing the negative google review.
    Making contact via social media may prejudice you against the patient removing the negative review.
  3. Don’t write up the Google review management in the patients health records. Use a separate incident report system.
  4. If the patient has felt the need to use social media to complain then you should seriously examine your feedback pathways.
    Did you miss signs the patient was unhappy? Did the patient complain to other staff? Why have they used social media?
  5. If you don’t recognise the reviewer patient, then become an investigator. Check out their other reviews; the locations and dates. What can you discover about them? If you cant work out who it is by the comment or their other reviews then don’t respond but first try to get Google to remove the review by flagging it.

Dentists need to put away their instinctive focus on informed consent or justification of their own actions, when handling google reviews

Handling negative reviews that Google will not remove

No-one likes negative reviews but not all negative reviews are illegal. Genuine reviews by genuine patients will need to be managed by you or your practice. A genuine negative review should be seen as feedback for improvement of your business.
The aim of responding to negative reviews is to get that person to feel differently about you. You are not aiming to change their mind about the reality of the situation or alter their world view to align with your view.

You want to change how that person feels about you.

Managing this review should follow the Starbucks concept if possible:
listen , acknowledge, thank , take action, explain what you are going to do to resolve the issue and improve next time.
Complaint handling is a learned technique in public relations and if you or your staff are not experienced then you should seek help. Most people find role playing and rehersing the potential conversation are very helpful. Basic information on good complaint handling is a training module in Smartdentist. If you try and have a legalistic attitude towards the complainant you may end up with a legal solution! Public relations is a different skill set.

How not to respond online or offline (these are all genuine examples you can find online) 

  1. Tell the patient all the things they have done to be annoying e.g. making numberous phone enquires before the appointment. Your dental friends might be sympathetic but you have lost any new patient prospects.
  2. Tell the patient they agreed with the treatment plan
  3. Tell the patient they agreed with the quote. e.g. you charged $500 and it took you 15 minutes. (Generalised explaination: This patient is not interested in your great productivity gains. Perhaps you should explain it will only take 15 minutes!)
  4. Tell the patient how you value good service. This sounds as if you either treated them differently or are unwilling to listen to their grievance. People don’t want to hear how good you usually are! Other people just think you are arrogant.

Handling negative reviews that Google will remove

If you have a review that fails to meet Google’s policy on what is acceptable then you can ‘flag it’. Definately don’t respond to it. By responding your increase its legitimacy.
Google may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.
You can flag reviews for Google to remove through your Google My Business listing. Only flag reviews that violate Google’s review policy. Be courteous and be patient. If the review has not been removed after 2 weeks then consider asking for help on the Google My Business forum.
Google’s review policy has the following as inappropiate and therefore subject to removal by google.

  • Spam and fake content – reviews by someone you can prove never attended. An example is a person who gives multiple negative reviews of a surgery that has multiple locations
  • Conflict of interest – negative reviews by current or former employees
  • Off topic – if you get a resturant review you will probably be able to get it removed from your dental practice
  • Restricted content
  • Illegal content e.g someone elses copyright material
  • Offensive or sexually explict
  • Dangerous and derogatory
  • Impersonation

Understand the Australian legal situation:
According to ACCC, businesses and review platforms that DO NOT remove reviews that they know to be fake risk breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Reviews can be considered misleading if they are represented as impartial but were written by:

  • the reviewed business
  • a competitor
  • someone who have never used your business
  • someone who has been to your business but has written an inflated review to receive financial or non-financial gain

If you are considering defamation as a response to a bad review – take a break; take a holiday; phone a good friend!

 

Author: Glenda Farmer

Leading innovative Smartdentist to provide online dental practice accreditation and infection control solutions for SMART dentists and practice managers