How to Handle Negative Reviews

Jackie Ulasewich


Reviews are one of the most useful tools that the Internet has to offer. Anyone with a smartphone can use Angie’s List, Consumer Reports, Google, or more before deciding when and how to spend their money. When you’re a business or dental practice on the bad end of a review, however, the World Wide Web can seem small and unfriendly.

A negative review doesn’t have to destroy your digital presence, though. With a few smart tricks, you can even use a zero-star rating to demonstrate your loyalties to your patients.

Positively Proactive

The best thing to do to avoid negative reviews is to be proactive. Before patients leave your office, ask them about their experience. If they were pleased, suggest that they leave a review. If they weren’t, handle it right then and there to let them know they are valued.

Also, use an email campaign to solicit reviews from your regulars—who, let’s face it, wouldn’t be regulars if they weren’t happy with you. Make sure that your positive reviews far outweigh your negative reviews. That way, the negative reviews won’t stand out so much or hold a lot of weight.

Stop Negativity in Its Tracks

The occasional negative review is inevitable. Whether it’s due to a miscommunication or something completely out of your control, unhappy patients leave negative reviews to gain a sense of control over their situation. When you do receive a negative review, address it immediately and publicly so others know you take your reputation seriously.

Suppose a new patient was asked to wait longer than he expected. The anonymity of online reviews allows him to exaggerate to his heart’s content and claim that your office has no time management and does not value your patients’ time. This is an opportunity to make that person feel that he matters, as a little validation goes a long way.

Respond to that patient with an apology, thank him for giving you an opportunity to improve your practice, and offer to have an office manager call to discuss his disappointment. Not only is this a best practice, but also anyone who reads that review will see that your practice prioritizes the needs of your patients.

Bottom Line

Even when referred by a friend or family member, consumers use your Internet presence to determine if your practice is right for them. Managing your website, email, and social networking pages might be technologically tricky and time consuming, but doing so is well worth the effort. If negative reviews are addressed quickly, and positive reviews keep rolling in, you’re bound to be “liked” in more ways than one.

With over a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target patients, and grow their practice through effective marketing campaigns. When she isn’t helping dental practices reach their full potential, she can be found at the beach with her three dogs or immersed in everything food-related with her large Italian family. For more information, call (800) 689-6434.

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