In an age where everything can be found on the internet, it becomes increasingly important to maintain a presence online. This can come in the form of a website, an app, social media accounts, etc. Thus, having such digital touchpoints for your practice will make it easier for your patient to find you. Moreover, creating a digital experience for your practice will help you reach a wider audience. Like most things, there are good and bad that come with having a digital presence. Reviews, for one. To be more specific: bad online reviews of your practice. And while bad online reviews might not be the most ideal, they can be a learning experience.
Feedback is very important for businesses and marketers. It lets them know their customers’ opinions and how their products or services are being received. The more you treat your practice like a business, the better your decision concerning it will become. Because the more revenue you generate, the more you can invest in better equipment, better staff, and better marketing. Which ultimately brings in more patients that you can help. It is a virtuous cycle that brings in better results each time. However, it can quickly become a vicious cycle.
While bad comments and reviews do allow you to re-evaluate your services (or products) and how you provide them. However, if you are not careful it could negatively impact your practice. The truth is that how you manage bad online reviews of your practice can be the difference between a successful practice or a ruined one.
Assign someone to handle online reviews:
Having a person or a team assigned to monitoring reviews is the first step and a very important one. The internet is a huge place and scouring for reviews of your practice is not going to be a very small deed. Therefore, having a specific person take care of it for you will make it easier for everyone. Another step that the practice can take is to have policies in place for situations such as these. The policies will vary from clinic to clinic depending upon the organization and patients.
You can always assign someone from the marketing team to the job. They usually have the necessary skills to deal with the problem at hand. Additionally, a marketing employee will need to be in touch with other departments to get more information about the issues. And that is why cross-communication between departments is important and should be encouraged. Moreover, there are several skills that the person assigned to handle reviews should have.
A few skills needed are:
- Promptness – it is crucial to answer a bad review within 24 hours of it getting posted
- Politeness – it does not matter what anyone writes in the review, your response to it should be in a polite tone. The response should be apologetic and should end with a promise to do better
- Problem-solving – what does the reviewer have an issue with and how do you propose to solve it
Acknowledge bad online reviews and own up:
While one bad review is not the end of your practice, it is usually a good idea to have them as low as you can get them. Patients will always check the overall rating of a clinic before they make any decision, and a few bad reviews will not stand out. In fact, having a few bad reviews will tell you where your practice is lacking and what you can do to improve it.
So, how do you go about responding to bad online reviews of your practice?
The first and foremost step is to acknowledge the review. Let the reviewer know that you have seen the review and you understand the issue. Be considerate of their negative experience and polite throughout the interaction.
An apology can go a long way. However, be sincere and genuine. Just because an experience was negative doesn’t mean that the relationship can not be salvaged. Make sure that they feel heard and understood.
Let them know what you plan to do:
Let the reviewer know how you plan to handle and resolve the issue. This not only lets them know that they are important to your proactive. It also tells them that you are making sure that it doesn’t happen again. Remember: Be honest and transparent. Don’t make promises that you can not keep.
Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention so that you can improve your quality. Moreover, reassure them that they have provided you with an opportunity to do better. Let them know that you are grateful for the review and you look forward to meeting them again.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Do not disclose any information about the patient. Some rules are put in place to protect a patient’s identity and you should not, in any way, violate them.
- Dont respond immeidtaley. To be prompt does not mean to be impulsive. Take time to find out more about the incident and gather information. Decide how you are going to handle the situation and the possible outcomes of the interaction.
- More often than not, you will remember who left the review. It is much more important to be professional in such situations. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Act on your promises:
An experience will remain negative if something is not done about it. A bad review is a learning opportunity if you resolve the issue promptly. If you don’t, it will become a reason why your customer retention rate will dip. If one customer has had the problem, it is safe to say that others have had the problem too. Not everyone is going to leave a review. Therefore, you should take all reviews at face value.
Encourage your patients to review your practice:
As mentioned afore, bad reviews are as important as good reviews. While good reviews work towards building a brand’s perception. Your responses to a bad online review of your practice will help build your practice’s reputation. Moreover, bad reviews give you some information to work with to make your practice better. It is much better than having no reviews at all. Much like some information is better than no information.
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