Dental professionals are becoming increasingly concerned over receiving negative online reviews, a new study has found.

The study found that 50% of dental professionals had changed the way they practised due to the threat of a negative online review, such as taking more detailed notes and communicating more thoroughly with patients.

Despite this 28.6% of those surveyed felt that critical patient reviews don’t help dental professionals understand the needs of their patients.

‘At the DDU, one of our core services is to provide expert dento-legal advice to our members, who can call us any time they find themselves facing a difficult situation such as when a patient has posted a negative review,’ Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, who carried out the survey, said.

‘Calling our advice line is free, treated in the strictest of confidence and does not affect future subscriptions.

‘We speak to tens of thousands of members every year so we can often pre-empt the kinds of problems that can cause members worry.

‘Consequently, we encourage them to call for advice and support as early as possible.’

Negative reviews

Poor customer service (54.5%) was the most common complaint raised in a negative review, followed by competence or conduct issues (13.6%).

Only 26.3% of dental professionals decide to deal with a critical review directly with the patient, the study showed, and most respondents choose to seek advice from colleagues (42%) when they receive a negative review, rather than their defence organisation.