Review Time: Responding to Online Reviews for Your Practice

By Nancy Hyman


Little works more effectively in persuading potential patients than the word-of-mouth, first-hand account of a review. And the proper response, especially to the negative, often proves critical to a practice’s ascent. Sure, if every comment about your practice was a testimonial rave, you could simply sit back soaking up the praise and press forward. If everyone was 100% satisfied, there’d be little here to expound upon. Contrary to the common assumption, the negative review provides that profound moment where you can absorb and diffuse it, making that quantum leap into new strata. Dissatisfaction can come in an array of forms, but preparation for such assaults is more likely to shell out dividends. Rehearsing and reviewing a tactical approach with room for variation will help.

Suggestions for Your Counter-Response Handbook

  • Respond: An all too common misstep with a business is no response to a complaint. People want to be heard and have their issues addressed, and doing so can make all the difference.
  • The eyes of the client: Always be mindful to gear your response in a palatable way. After all, you want to bring new patients aboard and hold onto your current fan base.
  • Response time and proper tact: As soon as you have decompressed from the cyber punch to the bridge of your nose, respond in a positive manner, control the situation, counter politely the claim, and offer, if necessary, to remedy the matter immediately. Make sure to take the defensive and offensive out of your tone.
  • Educate and utilize ahead of the crisis: Stay up on all the available business response sites, and learn how to counter, edit, and request removal (if against site’s rules) of hurtful reviews for businesses/practices.
  • Learn from those who went before: Glean, if you can, others' examples of responses to criticism, especially those who have risen to paragons in their chosen field.
  • Time to shine: Recognize a negative review as something more than a bitter peel to shed and more like a sweet plum of an opportunity at the pit-less core. No business can escape the dissatisfied completely, but you and your detractor can unite (unbeknownst to them) in rational discussion to showcase what your practice is about. In the process of this apologetic talk-down, you wrap your responses with testaments and superlatives. A negative review makes your business appear real in the eyes of potential patients. A transparent, personal, and professional response may garner additional respect among potential and current clients, leaving your critic feeling they were heard.

Every setback, in the way of negative commentary on Internet sites, is a critical and decisive moment you will face in your practice. Not every customer will be satisfied. But if you get in there, prepared and ready to tackle any potential setback, the orthodontic's practice you've worked so hard to build can continue to thrive.

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