Last week, we talked about the importance of having your current patients write Google reviews for your practice. This is for the benefit of potential patients and your practice. Reviews give people the assurance they need to confidently step into your office and know that they’ve put their healthcare into the right hands. But what happens when you stumble across a negative or bad review on Google or any review site? Will this hinder your chance at obtaining new and loyal patients? The simple answer is, no. Bad reviews are not rare or unlikely – they are given to every and any business – you just have to know how to handle them.
People are quite free with their words online – and they won’t be afraid to tell the truth even if jeopardizes the integrity of your practice. But that means you shouldn’t be shying away and hiding from any of the negativity either. Remember, every business will have to face a bad review at some point or another, but as a healthcare provider, it’s especially important for you to address those reviews immediately. Here are some key points to note on how to deal with bad reviews:
Can the Review Be Removed?
Just because someone’s written a bad review, it doesn’t mean that the review is entirely fair. The unhappy individual who was furiously typing away on their keyboard might have said things that are false or violate the review site’s rules (contains profanity, personal attacks or threats or exposes private information).
Make sure that you know the site’s rules, regulations and terms of service. If you believe a review to have one of the aforementioned qualities, then you can report the review to see if it can be taken down. However, moderators might disagree with your claim, or they might be slow to reply, so it’s important to know how to handle negative reviews in other ways…
Why You Should Look at Negative Reviews
Don’t look at bad or negative reviews like it’s the end of the world. Although it may seem like a setback to receive a negative review, there is a lot to be learned from them.
Look at it this way; if you’re given a negative review…
- You’re given a chance to correct any faults within your practice
- You have the opportunity to demonstrate great customer service
- You’re showing future patients that you have the ability to correct and mend a bad experience
- You showcase confidence in your practice, and have the professionalism to deal with negativity
If anything, you can use negative reviews to your advantage.
How do you Respond to a Bad Review?
If the bad review is ineligible to be removed, then it’s time to take action and respond accordingly. Here’s a list of steps to address a bad review:
Respond Publically ASAP
Address the issue as soon as you can. Don’t let the bad reviewer stew in the feeling of a bad experience. The sooner you address the issue, the better chance you’ll have at gaining trust and loyalty back from the displeased individual. If you let the bad review sit for a few days or a week or two, it’s more likely that the author has dismissed your practice entirely; they’re simply not going to listen to you if you’ve made them wait too long to amend the initial problem.
And if the review is on a public forum, then respond publically. You need to show others that you aren’t afraid of bad reviews and that you have the confidence to address any issue that arises. If someone’s written a bad review and there is no response from the establishment, it looks like the issue was never addressed or solved. You may have contacted the individual privately, but others who are browsing the reviews don’t know that.
Respond with Understanding and Dignity
In your public response, send a short and respectful message to let the individual and others know their review has been looked at. Here’s what the response should include:
- Introduce yourself on behalf of the practice
- Thank them for choosing you and trusting you
- Thank them for their review
- Apologize for their dissatisfaction with your practice
- Inform them that you will send a private message to resolve the issue
Take the Issue Elsewhere
Now that you’ve notified the review publically, it’s time to take the issue elsewhere – through private message. Depending on the review site, you should be given access to private message the reviewer on their account or by their email. On a Google Business page, you are able to reply to reviews through your Inbox by clicking “View and reply.”
Resolve the issue
This is your chance to clear the air about something the reviewer might have misunderstood or if you recognize that there was a fault on your practice’s part. Show that you’ve read the review and understand why the reviewer is displeased. This isn’t the time to excuse the fault and show bias, but to be matter-of-factly about the situation and offer a chance to amend the issue.
It’s up to you how you would like to resolve the issue, and there’s no obligation to extend the generosity of another service, but be mindful of the impact this resolution can make. If you know this is a loyal customer who had one bad experience, then feel free to go the extra mile to regain their trust and loyalty. If you feel like you can turn this situation into a positive and long-lasting patient relationship with additional discounted or free services, then go right ahead! The discretion is yours.
Try to Get Another Review
Once you’ve resolved the issue (perhaps with a few messages back and forth or a phone call) then it’s time to politely ask the reviewer to edit or do another review of their experience. Don’t force them to dismiss their first negative experience, but see if you can get them to focus on how the issue was resolved. If you’re going to pressure your patient into writing anything, it should be to be honest.
There’s no need to bury bad experiences or be afraid of a bad review. More often than not, you will find that it’s more beneficial to recognize a bad experience and solve it successfully. Regardless of what type of practice you have, there will always be a case of a dissatisfied patient – one that will probably take their frustrations online in a bad review. The best approach is to always be respectful, polite, unbiased, and not discriminatory.
If you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, build authority, become a celebrity in your town, and build a 7figureclinic and beyond, then you need to get in touch with me. I’m currently taking on a few private clients right now. It’s been almost 12 months since I’ve open up space in my 7figureclinic growth system and it won’t be long until the few spots I have are filled up. Complete the application here to see if you qualify.