Why dealing with bad reviews is essential for the morale of the dental team – Amy Jones Dental DesignFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 19th October 2019
Your practice is busy and thriving; you have the odd bad day of course,
but mostly it is a happy place to be. You have built a dental team of talented professionals, who are all proud of their reputation for delivering patient care of the highest standard. Then – boom – you get a bad online review, affecting your team’s morale.
A negative review may be the result of a misunderstanding that wasn’t resolved at the time, or entirely unjustified – but regardless of how it came to be, it must be addressed. We live in a digital age and when it comes to making a complaint, people often prefer to vent from behind a screen. Finding the right email address to complain to isn’t always easy, but posting a comment online is. From review forums like Google, to social media platforms such as Facebook, there are plenty of places to give instant feedback on a business or service provider. The reach of the biggest sites is staggering – as of January 2019, there were 40 million Facebook users in the UK.[i]Most dental practices now have their own social media pages and that’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where patients can read about what you do and how you do it, from people just like them. According to statistics, nearly 90 per cent of consumers trust an online review as much as they trust a personal recommendation.[ii]
The impact of a bad review on the dental team might be harder to quantify, but can still cause distress and anxiety. The key to a successful dental practice – and its biggest asset – is the people who work there. In order to grow and survive, a practice must go on attracting andretaining the best of the best too.
So what happens when an unhappy patient has used a huge online platform, with a captive audience, to undermine what you do? The first step is to determine the best way of responding. An emotional reply is rarely the best way forward, even if the team is upset. If someone is being personally named, supporting them is fundamental – creating and nurturing a supportive atmosphere shows great leadership. Practice life is often stressful enough; negative online reviews are an additional source of stress that you can manage.
Let’s take the common scenario of a dentist running late, so several appointments need to be rescheduled. If a patient didn’t get the message and turns up only to be told they now can’t be seen at that time, they will be upset and angry. They may then post an online review, personally attacking the receptionist who now represents (to them) your poor service.
But the story behind this situation might be different. If three appointments needed to be cancelled, the unhappy patient may have been the only whom the receptionist was unable to contact. Maybe this event exposed a genuine flaw that you can now fix, putting protocols in place so that a patient who was un-contactable through no fault of their own can be offered an alternative that morning, with a different practitioner. Or maybe the unhappy patient simply didn’t know that the dentist was running late and this was why they couldn’t be seen. In either case, a prompt, professional reply can be given to their negative review, hopefully resolving the situation and with a promise to do things differently next time.
It’s about being proactive and positive and listening to the patient who has taken the time to post a review, then offering them a swift explanation and solution. At the same time you are also publically supporting any member
of the team who has been upset by the negative feedback directed at them.
Managing negative reviews correctly may sound difficult to achieve, but it is easily done with the right tools. EasyReview, a review management system from Dental Design, will do all the hard work for you. It will alert you to a negative review, then help you make an appropriate response. Because it enables you to see what unhappy patients are saying, EasyReview can help you make any necessary improvements to your service. This means that even negative reviews will ultimately work for you, not against you.
Practices need a system in place to manage online reviews, even when they are bad. Team morale can be knocked by negative feedback and and morale is something that must be protected. The dental team is your biggest asset – when they feel happy and supported, they will want to go the extra mile for you and your patients, helping your practice to deliver dentistry of the highest quality.
[i]Statistica: The Statistics Portal. Leading countries based on number of Facebook users as of January 2019 (in millions). Link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/268136/top-15-countries-based-on-number-of-facebook-users/(accessed April 2019).
[ii]Invesp Blog. The Importance Of Online Customer Reviews. Link: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/
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