Online reviews can make or break a business, but it's how you react to those reviews that sets the tone for your practice. Regardless of whether you get positive or negative client reviews, you need to know how to approach every review with confidence and superb customer service.

Always Encourage Client Reviews

Happy customers make the best brand ambassadors. A stellar online review is essentially free advertising, plus it's generally a trusted source because readers view it as someone's firsthand experience with your dental practice. That's why you should always encourage clients to leave online consumer reviewers on sites like Yelp, your business's Facebook page, Angie's List, LinkedIn, and others.

Because consumers are more apt to leave scathing reviews after dealing with negative experiences, you want to encourage satisfied customers to visit your profiles on various review sites. Do this by offering incentives. For example, each client who leaves a review within a certain timeframe will be entered into a giveaway.

If a review site doesn't allow incentives (Yelp, for example, does not), you can easily include links to your review profiles in an appointment follow-up email, on your website, or in the monthly newsletter. Printing out a flyer and posting it in the waiting room or at the exit can also encourage clients to look up your review sites.

Follow Up on All Negative Reviews

No one likes to see a negative review of their dental practice, but you can't please everyone, so when a negative review does pop up, get on top of it. This involves keeping tabs on your online reputation, but it's well worth the effort.

When reaching out to a dissatisfied client, you want to publicly demonstrate your level of service in the review follow-up. Never deny the client's complaint or argue with the reviewer, even if you feel the review was unjust. Instead, handle all responses with the utmost professionalism, offer an apology, and extend an invitation for the client to get in touch to see if you can make things right. Chances are they won't, but at least you've demonstrated publicly that you're willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

Report False Reviews

While rare, false reviews do happen, and they can be a pain to get rid of. They can also tarnish your reputation. Every review website has its own method of reporting false reviews, so be sure you're up to speed with how to handle them. Although it might be tempting to report every negative review as false, we don't recommend doing this, as even upset clients deserve the chance to be heard. If you know that a negative review is false, contact the review website and request they remove it, explaining how the information violates their terms of use.

At the end of the day, a dental practice focused on maintaining an exceptional level of customer service will cultivate good online reviews. Make sure your staff is well aware of the importance of first impressions, and you'll be rewarded with plenty of positive feedback.

Featured Image via Flickr by planetc1