We are sorry that you are feeling poorly after your root canal. Please give our office a call, and let us know how we can help you.
The following response would be considered appropriate. It acknowledges the patient’s dissatisfaction and offers to resolve the problem, but does not reveal any of the patient’s personal information:
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We try to honor our philosophy of gentle dentistry every day, and appreciate our patients. Please contact our office, and we will do our best to resolve this issue.
The first step in reputation management is finding out what’s been said about your dental practice online. You also need to be alerted to future mentions of your practice. The best way to go about this is by conducting a Google search for your name and your practice name, making note of any reviews listed on the first three results pages. Next, go to www.google.com/alerts and set up email alerts for your full name with and without your designation, and with and without “Dr.” in front of it. Also set an alert for your practice name.
Step 2: Claim and Complete Your Profiles
After you search for yourself online and set your Google alerts, claim and complete your profiles on the most popular review sites. With each established profile you claim, check to see if any reviews are posted.
Your dental practice will already be listed on some review sites. On others, you’ll need to create a profile. Use the reputation management worksheet at the end of this chapter to keep track of usernames, passwords, and email addresses you associate with each of your profiles.
First, set up your Google+ account and create a business page. The exact business name, phone number, address you use in the Google+ profile should be consistent in all of your online marketing. For example, if you are John H. Smith, DDS, this is how your name should appear on all your profiles. Do not use variations such as Dr. Johnny Smith or John Smith, DDS. Pick one configuration of your title and name and use it consistently on all your profiles.
Your website, blog, social profiles, review site listings, and articles or press releases published on third-party websites should include the same contact information as your Google+ page. This is an important point for overall search engine optimization. Write a unique paragraph on each profile, and be sure to include your website and email addresses. The more information you include in your profiles and the more activity your profile pages have, the more visibility you’ll earn in search engine results. Also note that in some cases, you can create a custom URL. For instance, you can opt to use your practice name in your Facebook URL, as in the example www.facebook.com/PracticeName.
The first step in reputation management is finding out what’s been said about your dental practice online. You also need to be alerted to future mentions of your practice.
While it may seem unmanageable, with a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can have a solid, positive impact on your online reputation. Like all good strategies, reputation management requires planning and follow up.
A word of warning when it comes to negative reviews: do not respond in kind. Your response should convey understanding, compassion, and kindness, despite the reviewer’s accusations and untruths. As with many disputes, negative online reviews often stem from a misunderstanding or a financial issue.
So what can you do if you want to respond to an online review? In situations like these, it is advisable to employ a “less is more” strategy. When responding, protect your patient’s information as if it were your own. Be sympathetic and courteous. Acknowledge the fact that the patient is upset and offer to discuss the situation in order to better understand it and address it in a meaningful way. Keep your response brief and to the point. Responding to negative reviews is an opportunity to rebuild trust with the reviewer, as well as cement your reputation as a reasonable and caring professional to others who may read the review.
The following statements are examples of the types of responses you can use if you choose to reply to negative online reviews:
• We value each of our patients, as well as their time. We apologize for any inconvenience caused if we ran behind schedule. Sometimes we need to change our schedule, such as when we need to accommodate patients with dental emergencies. When possible, we strive to communicate the delay and offer to reschedule appointments. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns about your experience.
• We appreciate it when patients take the time to post a review. We invite patients who have questions or concerns about their visit to give us a call so we have the opportunity to discuss their experience and provide any additional information they may require.
• We realize that dental care can be a significant expense, and we are happy to discuss financial arrangements with patients and answer their questions concerning our professional fees and payment arrangements. We invite patients to give our financial coordinator a call. She can answer any questions about our fee structure, as well as discuss payment plans.
• We want every patient to be pleased with their visit and the care they receive in our office. We urge patients with questions or concerns to contact us so that we can discuss their dental care and their experiences in our dental office.