The occasional bad online review is a fact of life for any small business, whether it’s a pizza parlor or a dental practice. A bad review is no fun for you to read – but it isn’t going to put you out of business, either. What’s really important is how you respond.

shutterstock_284500400_resizedYes, a lot of people are going to see that negative review, but almost as many are going to see how you reply to it. That, in turn, will influence your online reputation.

A survey by Brightlocal underscores just how important it all is:

  • 90% of consumers went online when looking for a local business in the last year
  • Most of them read ten reviews before deciding to do business with you
  • 97% of those who read reviews also read a businesses’ response to them

The lesson? Monitor your online reviews, especially those on Google and Facebook. Your potential new patients will be reading them. How you react may carry more weight than the review itself.


First, never ignore a bad review. Responding to a patient who had a negative experience in your office is the responsible thing to do, and readers will see that.

Far better is a reasoned resonse that demonstrates you can acknowledge something may have gone wrong. The Internet, unfortunately, makes a knee-jerk response easy. Click the Reply button and give that reviewer what-for. Resist the temptation; it is unprofessional and will make you look bad.

Your response should be direct and to the point. Concede that something went wrong and that you are willing to make it right. That’s enough. Remember that 97% who are going to read your reply!

ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices and the tools of Internet marketing. We help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at