Posting reviews on the internet is increasingly popular but how should you respond to a bad review? There are websites, such as www.yelp.co.uk, which specialise in publishing so-called ‘crowd sourced’ reviews about local businesses. A number of dentists are reviewed on this site. The NHS encourages patients to post comments on NHS Choices.
Every service with reviews has negative reviews, it’s human nature as you can’t please all of the people all of the time. When you look at TripAdvisor for example, even the top five-star rated hotels have some one-star reviews. If you saw only positive reviews, you may not believe it was a true listing – it being ‘too good to be true’. What can you do if you get a bad review?
Before it happens, make sure you encourage your patients to post reviews about you, don’t wait until there is a negative one. Keep an eye on the reviews you receive and, in particular, on the NHS Choices website. Yelp is also becoming a major force to be reckoned with.
If you do have a negative review, post a response as soon as you find out about it. Explain that you take patient complaints very seriously and that you always do everything you can to have satisfied patients. You could add that you would be happy to see the patient again and do your best to resolve the situation. Take the opportunity to talk about the excellence of your care and service. Take care not to admit liability or to reveal personal information or treatment details. Do not ask for the bad review to be removed – the already dissatisfied patient may well regard this as an opportunity to complain further.
Remember that the CQC now monitors public perceptions of healthcare providers, so try to keep positive reviews flowing by asking patients to post about you on the various forums. A flood of compliments will negate the occasional poor review.
Importantly, CODE does not recommend taking legal action in response to a bad review. It would be time consuming, expensive and may well bring much wider attention to the problem with the patient.