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A nice online review of your dental practice is a many-splendored thing.
“Look, they like me!” “Wow! This should bring in business!” “Hey, this Internet thing could work to my advantage!”
On the other hand, nothing deflates the day quite like a bad review posted online.
Reactions range from worry to fury, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. While there’s not much to help that wounded feeling, you can ease the sting with some strategic thinking.
First, be proactive about monitoring your online reputation. Consulting firm Modern Dental Practice Marketing (MDPM) advises setting up an email alert – search as Google Alert – for your name as well as your practice’s name. You will receive emails whenever your name and other phrases you’ve identified are used online.
Second, and probably most importantly, take a deep breath and think carefully about your next move.
“If you find a negative online review,” recommends MDPM, “the best way to address it is to first post a level-headed reply, backed by facts and steeped in compassion.” Hire someone if you can’t summon the right language and tone.
The firm notes legal threats and actions rarely work. And depending on the site, exchanges by attorneys may be posted online for an audience to read and possibly draw additional unfavorable impressions.
Yelp, the website that invites reader reviews of everything from restaurants to hospitals to tattoo removal shops around the world, does a good job of walking all business owners through a bad review.
“Keep it simple,” Yelp advises in its Support Center, “Thank your customer for the patronage and feedback.” The next step is to contact the reviewer one-on-one.
“The good news,” says Yelp, “is that by contacting your reviewer and establishing a genuine human relationship, you have a chance to help the situation and maybe even change this customer's perspective for the better. We've heard lots of success stories from business owners who were polite to their reviewers and were accordingly given a second chance.
Another Yelp tip is to upload your photo, which evokes an air of professionalism and sincerity, to personalize the exchange with a reviewer. “You can use Public Comments (a Yelp tab) to tell the community what you've done to address a specific concern raised by a reviewer, provide correct information when a review contains inaccurate or outdated information, or provide your version of a difficult situation when you're unable to resolve a dispute. . . . Remember to be polite and stick to facts since your comments are public and can be seen by potential customers.”
Finally, look to replace bad with good. Court positive reviews from satisfied customers, as described last month. Good reviews not only will counterbalance a rogue negative review but will also push down the posting on websites.
Negative reviews are simply part of the online landscape now. With a plan and a cool head, they can be overcome.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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