Instead, follow this simple advice. You’ll create happy patient advocates, get more patient reviews, and defuse the occasional grumpy one.
Do this. Visit Yelp. Search “dentists” in your community. You’ll see that practice owners, perhaps you, too, hardly ever respond to patient reviews.
Most don’t know how to. Whether a review is from a happy, grateful patient to whom you can just say “Thanks!” and a few friendly words. Or from that rare unhappy, vocal patient who is onstage.
Greater patient advocacy happens when you respond to BOTH.
Happy patients love hearing thanks from you. Readers see this and take it to heart. They think, “I like this dentist. My dentist never says thanks.”
Hundreds read your reviews, the excellent reviews and the occasional other.
A grumpy reviewer attracts readers who become spectators watching to see how you respond (or if you respond at all).
Interestingly, review writers – happy and grumpy – don’t expect a response from their dentist’s office. Your response surprises them. It shows there’s a real person at the practice who cares.
When you respond your practice stands out and your response is read closely. Why? Because you are the rare dentist that talks online with their patients.
Your empathy and thoughtful listening are evident. That’s very powerful. It goes a long way when that gumpus patient believes they’ve been heard by the practice. It goes a long way with others, too. It tells them that you are caring. It can attract new patients.
But Reply Only Twice
This prevents getting into a heated debate which may be what that patient desires. Keep your composure. Do not respond emotionally, even if you want to because, on social media, review readers are kindred souls. They believe the complaining patient. They see a victim.
Show a genuine attempt to solve a patient’s problem without compromising your reputation. A reasonable solution, as well as an invitation to take the conversation private, if the matter is complicated, can save the relationship. It shows the readers, many of them prospective patients, how professionally and respectfully you care for your patients and manage your practice.
Exceed your patients’ expectations 100% of the time. Respond to online reviews in a timely manner or answer privately.
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