In the digital age, online reviews are a vital part of a dental practice’s reputation. Google reviews for dental practices, in particular, play a significant role in shaping public perception and can influence potential patients. They’re also mission-critical for local SEO and ensuring your practice ranks highly in search results. Responding to these reviews, both positive and negative, is an essential part of managing your practice’s online presence. Here are five specific tips and tricks for dental practice owners and managers on how to effectively respond to Google reviews.
IMPORTANT: Remember, protecting patient privacy and confidentiality is crucial. Never share protected health information (PHI) in a Google review response.
1. Acknowledge Feedback and Thank Patients for Positive Reviews
A 5-star review is one of the best compliments your practice can receive — and it may be influential in motivating a potential patient to call your practice and book an appointment. So don’t ignore them — and definitely don’t take them for granted.
Demonstrate Gratitude and Make It Personal: When a patient leaves a positive review, always express your gratitude. A simple “Thank you for your kind words” goes a long way. Personalize your response by mentioning something specific they said, like “We’re glad you felt comfortable during your treatment.” This shows you value their feedback and pay attention to their experience.
Encourage Continuous Feedback: Encourage them to keep providing feedback. You could say, “We look forward to hearing about your future experiences with us.” This not only fosters a relationship but also conveys that you are committed to continuous improvement.
2. Address Negative Reviews with Tact and Professionalism
Negative reviews happen no matter how well a practice serves its patients. You can’t please everyone. When you get a negative review, though, it’s critical to respond. This is your opportunity to resolve the issue (and potentially get the review updated or removed) and, just as importantly, show other potential patients that your practice cares about its patients’ experience and is committed to making things right. How you handle negative reviews is a reflection of the character and integrity of your practice.
Provide Prompt and Thoughtful Responses: Negative reviews should be addressed promptly and thoughtfully. Begin by acknowledging the reviewer’s concerns and apologizing for their less-than-ideal experience. For example, “We’re sorry to hear that your visit didn’t meet your expectations.”
Offer Solutions: Where possible, offer a solution or ask for a chance to make things right. You might say, “We take your concerns seriously and would like to learn more about your experience. Please contact our office directly so we can address your concerns.”
Keep It Private When Necessary: If the issue is sensitive, invite them to discuss the matter privately. A response such as, “We understand your concerns are of a personal nature. Please contact us directly so we can discuss this in a more private setting” is appropriate.
3. Be Professional and Avoid Defensive Language
Potential patients are reading reviews before choosing a dental practice, and how you engage with dissatisfied reviewers matters. No matter how tempting it may be to clap back, keep your powder dry.
Maintain Professionalism: Always maintain a professional tone. Avoid using defensive language or making excuses. This demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and respect for your patients. Remember, even if you dispute the patient’s review, it’s still important to acknowledge their perspective and seek resolution.
4. Use Responses to Showcase Your Practice’s Values
When you respond to a Google review, you’re not just addressing the reviewer individually; you’re also sending a message about how your practice does business to other potential patients. Use your review response as an opportunity to reinforce your practice’s values and earn trust with a wider audience.
Highlight Your Practice’s Commitment: Use your responses to highlight your practice’s commitment to patient care, comfort, and satisfaction. For instance, in responding to a positive review, you might add, “We are committed to providing the best dental care in a comfortable environment for all our patients.”
5. Keep Responses Concise and Focused
Be Brief and Relevant: Ensure your responses are concise and focused. Lengthy responses can seem overwhelming or insincere. A few thoughtful sentences are usually enough to convey your message effectively. And remember, resolving patient issues or concerns are generally best handled “offline” in private, one-on-one conversations.
The Bottom Line
Responding to Google reviews is an ongoing process that requires attention and care. By following these tips, dental practice owners and managers can enhance their online reputation, demonstrate excellent customer service, and potentially attract new patients. Remember, each review is an opportunity to showcase your practice’s commitment to patient care and satisfaction.
Is your practice prioritizing 5-star Google reviews? Learn more about review generation and reputation management campaigns from DentalScapes!