Negative Feedback on Social Media

DENTISTS: Here’s How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media

You work hard for your patients. You work hard for your team. You work hard to make everyone smile.

And yet, no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone all of the time.

In a world dominated by social media, it’s a fact of life: Public negative feedback.

But what should you do when confronted by one? Get angry? Ignore it? Respond?

It’s time to take a look at what to do when you’re on the receiving end of negative feedback.

Define the post

Before deciding how to respond to negative feedback, it’s important to know why it happened in the first place.

To help, a University of Nevada professor created a relevant flowchart for people in any public industry. You may want to consider using it when poor reviews are posted about you or your business. 

First, you’ll need to categorize the post:

Is it degrading? These would be posts that cross the line from criticism to personal attacks or threats against you.

Is it misguided, meaning the author of the post has used inaccurate information to criticize you? Perhaps they’ve merely confused “Family First Dentistry” with “Family Values Dentistry.”

Is it unhappy? These posts come across as a venting opportunity, and even if angry in tone, often stem from legitimate complaints.

Identifying the type of post is important, because it will determine if you respond, and the words you’ll use if you do.

Should You Respond to Negative feedback online?

A degrading post ought not be responded to, no matter how much you might want to.

Instead, you should closely monitor any future posts from that person. Feel free to delete and ban posts of this nature. And if any threat appears genuinely threatening or concerning, alert law enforcement.

A misguided post ought to receive a reply, and the substance and tone of your message should be one that clearly states your goal: simply to provide facts that clear up whatever confusion is present.

The unhappy post should also receive a reply. Your message ought to make clear to the author that his/her opinion matters, and you’d like an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Even if it’s frustrating to see these unhappy negative remarks, by responding to them appropriately you turn them into something positive. It shows other viewers that you do listen and take feedback seriously, building a relationship of trust.

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Let Technology Be Your Friend

Even though it seems like online feedback is a harsh, one-way street, that’s certainly not the case.

Many of the same technological tools that assist you in your teledentistry practice can be valuable in responding to customer service complaints.

ZenDesk reminds us that to “successfully meet customer demands for more immediate, personalized attention, companies are leveraging new technologies that go beyond traditional voice and email. By implementing such channels as live chat, social media, mobile apps, SMS/text messages, self-help solutions, and more, companies can now be ready wherever and however the customer wants.”

If a patient reaches out through technology, it’s a great way to reach back.

The Disney Method

As you prepare your response, a little advice from the Walt Disney Company might go a long way.

Its staff are always reminded of the acronym ‘HEARD’ when it comes to dealing with the public.

  • Hear: Listen, and don’t interrupt. Quite often, people simply want to know someone is listening to them.
  • Empathize: Convey your understanding through phrases such as “That would frustrate me, too.” 
  • Apologize: A sincere apology is your best ally. You might not be responsible for what angers them, but an apology makes people feel better.
  • Resolve: Fix the problem, or make sure that your staff are empowered to do so. 
  • Diagnose: Figure out what caused the error. Blame no one. Make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

The Takeaways

It’s not always easy dealing with the public, especially when they’re free to reach for their nearest phone or tablet and blast away.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless.

Negative feedback doesn’t have to cripple your dental practice or your online brand presence.

Take the time to consider where the anger or frustration is coming from. If it’s not a legitimate review, deal with it appropriately and don’t stress. If it’s a genuine complaint, take the time to calmy listen, apologize, and resolve the problem.



About First Choice Dental Lab


First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.

We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.

We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!

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