Bad reviews and morale

Are negatives reviews having an impact on your team? Amy Rose Jones suggests how you can deal with the bad feedback and stay feeling positive

Your practice is busy and thriving; you have the odd bad day of course, but mostly it is a happy place. You have a team of talented professionals, all proud of the practice’s reputation for delivering excellent patient care. Then 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 or entirely unjustified – but regardless of how it came to be, it must be addressed.

Posting a comment online is easy: from review forums to social media platforms, there are plenty of places to give instant feedback on a business or service provider.

Most practices 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 like them. According to statistics, nearly 90% of consumers trust an online review as much as they trust a personal recommendation. 

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. To grow and survive, a practice must attract and retain the best of the best.

Best response

If you’ve received a negative review online from an unhappy patient, the first step is to determine the best way of responding. An emotional reply is rarely the best way forward. 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 post an online review, personally attacking the receptionist who 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 one whom the receptionist was unable to contact.

Maybe this event exposed a genuine flaw you can now fix, putting protocols in place so a patient who was uncontactable through no fault of their own can be offered an alternative with a different practitioner.

Or maybe the unhappy patient simply did not know the dentist was running late and this was why they couldn’t be seen. In either case, a prompt, professional reply can be made to the negative review, hopefully resolving the situation and promising to do things differently next time.

It is about being proactive, 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 publicly supporting any member of the team who has been upset by the negative feedback directed at them.

Managing reviews

Managing negative reviews correctly may sound difficult to achieve, but some tools can help. One such tool is Easyreview, a review management system from Dental Design. 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 make any necessary improvements to your service.

Practices need a system in place to manage online reviews, even when they are bad. Team morale can be knocked by negative feedback 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.

To find out more about Dental Design’s services, visit, email [email protected] or call 01202 677277.

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