It happens to all of us. We do our best and treat our patients as we’d like to be treated, but one or two unhappy clients are inevitable. There’s an endless list of places consumers can share their thoughts and opinions regarding a recent purchase, most notably Yelp, Google Places, Facebook, and Twitter. The internet has transformed the process of complaining from a private phone call or filling out a customer comment card, to an inherently public media available for all to see.
So what do you do if they share their experience on the web? Here are some tips to handling negative reviews:
1. Publicly reply to the post. More often than not, it will prove to be worth your time if you respond to the comment. Replying publicly to the post in a professional way and addressing the customer’s concerns reassures the unhappy client, and all of the post’s viewers, that you are interested in your client’s satisfaction and in setting things straight.
2. Do your research. It hurts to be criticized. You may feel the comment was unfair and fails to address everything that went well. Take a deep breath before responding to the post. Find all the information you can about that patients experience with your practice. Putting yourself in that person’s shoes and keeping that in mind as you respond, can help change a poor review to a great review and a loyal patient.
3. Consider constructive criticism. Express your appreciation for this opportunity to evaluate your current business practices and think of ways to improve the areas that may lead to patient dissatisfaction.
4. Encourage patients to write good reviews, either with or without promotional incentives. Gradually, you will have many more good reviews than bad, and this will help eliminate the effect of a bad one.
5. Offer resources where customers can write positive reviews while they visit your office. Consider adding a space for testimonials on your website and social profiles if you don’t already have one, and having that page open on an iPad or other mobile device.
Following any of this advice can help you turn an unhappy patient into a loyal, brand ambassador. At the same time, you’ll be showing all viewers of this post that client satisfaction is a top priority for your practice. And of course, positive reviews deserve some attention, too.