How to handle a negative online review

How to handle a negative online review

News & Announcements

Posted: February 9, 2018

How to handle a negative online review
how to handle a negative online review

how to handle a negative online review

Patience experience is everything!!

Online reviews are becoming more popular and are now part of the decision- making process for consumers. For most dental practices, a good online reputation is critical.

72% of people say a positive online review will make them trust a local business more and numerous surveys have found that a high proportion of customers regard online reviews as credible.

Many review sites point out that very negative (e.g. 1 or 2 star) reviews make up a relatively small proportion of all reviews posted with most people taking the most notice of the average star rating. Still, negative reviews can have a significant impact, so it’s important to manage them effectively.

What to do if you get a bad online review:

  • Act swiftly: Investigate-explore both sides of the story
  • Make contact personally offline, be professional and empathetic. Thank them for their feedback and let them know you appreciate their input. You may be able to persuade them to change their review once they have been heard
  • If you can’t get in contact, encourage them to do so
  • If you can’t identify the person who left the negative review, leave a comment on the review, encouraging them to contact the practice
  • If possible fix the problem, patient loyalty is key, and you could turn them around to be a fan
  • Learn from it-listen to feedback and act where possible to make improvements
  • Encourage more positive reviews from raving fans

When personally making contact with the person who created the negative review:


  • Let the person speak and take their time
  • Listen
  • Acknowledge their feelings
  • If necessary, apologise
  • Reflect
  • Show you are interested
  • Ask questions


  • Take it personally, try not to get defensive
  • Tell the person to calm down
  • Get angry or aggressive
  • Raise your voice
  • Interrupt
  • Make false promises
  • Breach their privacy


Use this as an opportunity for you to control your reputation and define your brand, in a positive light, by showcasing your willingness to address their issue.

New patients are smart. Dentists and patients alike know that occasional challenging experiences at the dentist are inevitable and that a patient will sometimes react negatively to their experience. How the practice responds to a negative review will be the determining factor in whether the review is damaging to the practice or becomes a great marketing opportunity.

Things you can do to prevent a negative review:

  • Facilitate communication before they go online
  • Check in with patients before they leave the practice
  • Consistently provide an exceptional experience
  • Use online surveys to identify areas needing improvement

It can be a challenge, but it’s important that you try not to take it too personally, rather look at the situation objectively and use it as a learning experience to help you avoid a similar situation in the future. Try to use each negative review as a chance to learn something new and enhance your patient experience.

Sign up for the latest in dental tips, news and treatment