Scar from Lion King said it first: life’s not fair. Let’s face it--you can do your best to accommodate every consumer’s needs and still end the day with an unsatisfied patient. There’s always going to be a crabapple who spilled their coffee this morning, and you and your business are going to be the ones who suffer from it. That crabapple is going to leave your office to storm home and vent to her keyboard, resulting in a negative review.
Addressing negative reviews is crucial in maintaining a positive image within the community. The fact of the matter is, most people only leave reviews under exceptional circumstances, and usually this falls under exceptionally bad circumstances. If we took the time out of our day to publicly compliment every business when we left in a standard, decent or good mood, we wouldn’t have time for the important things, like binge-watching Friends. So, why should you take the time out of your Netflix marathon to respond to negative reviews?
IT ALLOWS THE CHANCE TO APOLOGIZE
Since they may have left your practice in a tizzy, replying to reviews reassures them that this is not the experience you intended for them. Apologizing to the consumer lets them know that their time is valued. It shows others reading the reviews that you are acknowledging the complaint and taking their suggestions into consideration.
CONSUMERS LIKE TO KNOW THAT THEIR VOICES ARE HEARD
More importantly, that their opinions are making a difference. They would not have taken the time to type the review if they didn’t feel strongly about it. Thank them for their feedback. After apologizing, take this opportunity to direct the consumer to a person and/or phone number who might be able to mollify the issue, if applicable.
THERE IS ROOM FOR GROWTH
Though it might be a tough pill to swallow, sometimes Negative Nancy wasn’t so bitter after all—she was right. Reviews can truthfully highlight the weaknesses of your practice, which may be details you often overlook. In this case, you should be especially thankful for their insight and grants you the opportunity to make your business even better. Thank the consumer for their feedback and list the ways you are working to solve the inconvenience.
YOU ARE GRANTED A SECOND CHANCE
Ever left an argument only to realize all of the things you wish you could have said? Sometimes consumers leave bad reviews because they are misinformed about your practice. If this is the case, thank them for taking the time to visit your office and/or give their feedback, and politely tell them why they may be misinformed. Do not allow your review to read defensively, only informatively. Offer assistance if you can.
YOUR COMMUNITY IS WATCHING
Ultimately, negative reviews play a huge role in marketing. The more that build up, the worse your business appears. Many consumers read reviews before making a choice. Wouldn’t you like the others reading to see your company’s tone and grace in handling a crisis? Take this negativity and turn it into something positive--a second chance to satisfy a customer (as well as those reading) and potentially sway opinions.
Next time your practice receives a poor rating online, don’t delete it or ignore it. Take the opportunity to show the consumer and the community that you are committed to providing excellent customer service. If all else fails, turn back to Netflix, clear your head and come back refreshed and ready to satisfy your consumers needs!