Don’t Panic Over a Negative Patient Review


Getting a negative patient review can seem devastating, but it’s not the end of the world. You can learn from the criticism you receive, use it to make your practice better, and restore your relationship with your dental patient.

In this video, we explain the steps to follow to turn those bad review lemons into lemonade.

Want to dig deeper into marketing your dental practice effectively? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to engage and learn. You can also visit our website to schedule a quick Marketing Breakthrough Call!


Uh oh! Bad patient review!! What should you do?

Wait! There’s no need to hit the panic button!!!

Hi, I’m Alison Micheletti, Senior Dental Marketing Strategist at Golden Proportions Marketing, the most experienced dental marketing company in the country. Earning referrals may seem hard, but I have some tips to get your patients to send their friends and family your way.

Find out who and why

First, figure out who left the review. Most sites require reviewers to create a profile, but it’s possible that they used an alias or first name only, so you may have to do some detective work to reveal their identity based on their comments.

Next, talk to your team members to get the details about what went wrong and why the patient was disappointed. Be sure you’re getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Try to resolve the issue

Most people take their complaints online simply because they did not feel listened to in the first place. The doctor (not the team!) should call the patient personally to discuss the situation and learn more about what bothered them. Your conversation might go like this:

“Mrs. Smith, I just learned that you did not have a good experience in our office last week. I love my patients, and I want to know what we can improve in our practice so that you, and everyone who comes to see us, can benefit from what we might learn. Could you walk me through what happened?”

Let the patient get it all out without interruption. Whatever you do, do not get defensive or start giving excuses. Validate their frustrations and see if you can resolve the issue. So many complaints are simply the result of a misunderstanding and a little bit of conversation can go a long way.

After your discussion, take the information you gathered and use it to make whatever changes are necessary to prevent the issue from repeating itself.

Ask for a second opinion

If you feel you are able to resolve the problem and your patient seems satisfied, ask them if they might be willing to amend their review. Asking the patient to remove it entirely invalidates their experience, but if they change the review to reflect your caring and concern, you’re going to look even better in the public eye.

Write a public response

If you can’t contact the person or if the issue simply can’t be fixed, you deserve the opportunity to explain your side of the story if you feel unfairly criticized. If you realize you were in the wrong to any degree, simply own up to the mistake and apologize. Take a deep breath and remember that your response is publicly judged just as the review is, and that you are bound by HIPAA so no personal references about the patient can be disclosed. Ask at least one other unbiased party to double-check your response before posting it.

Oh – and those positive reviews? You should respond to those too. It lets your audience know you’re listening.

Get more positive reviews

The best way to kill a negative review is to drown it with positive reviews. One bad review can be negated by 10 great ones. Make it a regular habit to ask your patients for reviews, and balance them out over multiple review sites.

Thanks for watching!