Responding to Negative Facebook Comments

You may find that sometimes you will post something on your practice Facebook page and a patient may have a comment you don’t appreciate, or that you find taints the positive impact of the post.  What should you do? Respond? Delete it? Ignore it?

If you’ve been following me at all, you know I’m not going to recommend ignoring it. NEVER ignore a negative comment.  Now, as far as deleting it, that depends on whether it’s something nasty or insulting or inappropriate in some way.  If it is, then you just go to the little “x” on the right of the comment and remove it.  But remember that by doing so you are inviting the person to comment again. If they do, I would just remove the post altogether.

But what if it merits a response?  That’s trickier.  So let me tell you a story which, by way of example, has several key lessons in it with regard to Facebook.

A dentist friend of mine wrote to me about this exact problem.  First let me say that she does an amazing job of building a culture in her practice, and also does Facebook very well.  She is always doing fun events for her team members, from group pedicures to mini-vacations.  And she knows how to stage them as well.  One day she came to work with a new Coach handbag and was making a bit of a deal about showing it off to her team.  They were admiring it, but she knew that there was a bit of “I’m glad you can afford that,” as an undercurrent.  She was setting them up perfectly without them knowing it.

That night there was a team dinner and as each of them showed up they were given a number.  They were not aware that the number was based on seniority.  She was still sporting the Coach handbag as they all sat for dinner, and there was some joking from a few of the team, like, “When will we get ours?”

“Actually,” she told them, “I’m glad you asked.” Her husband, meanwhile, who manages the practice, had set up a separate table earlier, with a tablecloth draped over something, and he stepped over and revealed a row of brand new Coach handbags.

“Those numbers that you have? You get to go up in order and pick your own bag,” my friend told them.

Of course, the crew went wild with excitement.  My dentist friend made sure to document the whole experience, and then the next day she posted a photo on Facebook and explained the team reward.  Herein lies the lesson.

There were many positive comments and likes on the post, but one patient felt the need to make this remark: “I think you are a good orthodontist, but it is upsetting to see your staff get Coach bags when I am struggling to pay my orthodontics bill. They work hard but so do I.”

In this person’s world, no employee should be rewarded, and discounts should be passed on to the struggling consumer.  Ironically, (and typically), this person was already getting a discount and a special payment accommodation, but still felt the team was being enriched to her detriment.

The team, as you might expect, was indignant about this comment, and will no doubt not feel as warmly toward this patient on her next visit.  But my friend responded perfectly, as you can see below:

Romani Facebook response blurred (1)

How perfect is that?

The lessons here are twofold. First, respond well, and positively, and turn it to your advantage whenever you can. But this is a cautionary tale as well.  How many other patients might have had this negative response but didn’t express it? I think it wise to be careful about posts where you are rewarding your team members.

A group pedicure may be fine, but something that seems expensive to the average person is best kept private. Stick to charity events, costume days and holiday celebrations with the team, and avoid flashing your success too much.

For more on ideas of what to post on Facebook, read my previous blog post.  Also if you are interested in our white paper, Facebook 101, click here.

By the way, if you’re not going to CEREC 30, you’re missing out big time.  This is going to be the largest and most exciting event in dentistry all year.  I’m speaking there, as well as Tony Robbins and Magic Johnson, and the band Train will be playing a full concert on Friday night.  Even if you don’t use CEREC, it will be a great learning experience for you and your team. There will also be an Eaglesoft track and several other learning opportunities.  See you there!






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10 thoughts on “Responding to Negative Facebook Comments

  1. The response was a bit of a platitude for me. I think I would respond more directly, and acknowledge that the orthodontics was expensive, but we felt our staff worked so very hard that they deserved a reward for service above and beyond job expectations. Of course, I would never have posted a photo of Coach bags going to staff….so the second part of the advice was spot on. Stick to posts on charity events.

  2. An excellent response indeed. It really is too bad so many people in society begrudge the success or rewards earned by others. If people were not so ready to vilify any and everyone who appears to have something more than they do, perhaps we would not have to “avoid flashing our success.”
    Very good example of dealing with a difficult remark.

  3. Often negative feedback has a ring of truth to it. I would bet many patients felt the same way. Think how taxpayers felt when we saw the pics of GSA in vegas living it up a few years ago. People lost their jobs over that one.

  4. Don’t comment unless you can remain polite and positive. This was a great way to do it.

    I know there are a lot of opinions about yelp, google, etc and how to respond to negative reviews. Every situation is different but this was handled very well.

  5. Some great tips here. It’s really important, I think, to respond to negative but still genuinely critiquing comments. I think the one you gave is a perfect example of the kind to respond to. Others that are clearly just wanting to stir the pot can be ignored or deleted.

  6. First of all congratulations on Your new book. That is phenomenal! I also think that the story about Your Dentist friend and Coach bags for the staff is a good one. It seems that she is very creative with her use of Facebook – I hadn’t heard of doing anything quite like this before!

  7. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Digital News Every Dentist Needs To Know – September 11

  8. Stumbled Upon this to learn how to handle bad reviews. Thankfully we haven’t yet got any. But these corona times are different, and we had a new client who expressed a lack of safety procedures, though we comply we every rule the government set and more.

    But anyway, I just like to be prepared, and this post gave me what I needed to face any potential negative reviews – on facebook or elsewhere, in these crazy times.

    Be safe everyone – for you and your patients´sake.

    Kind regards

    Dennis Wolf
    Co-owner of Wølund & Wolf

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