Facebook can be an eerie place. Like ghosts hiding in the night waiting for a good scare, social media sites can be filled with late night lurkers and hundreds of trolls. You hope to never awaken them… but all it takes is one bad day and BOO! You get a negative Facebook review. Here is an optometrist’s guide to properly handling a negative review.
Take a deep breath
A negative review is not the end of the world or a reflection of your practice, but rather the opinion of one customer. However, with the prevalence of social media in today’s society, one bad review can have lasting effects on your practice. When responding to your customers negative review, be kind, be polite, and be thankful. It is important to recognize that each negative review is an opportunity for you to better your practice.
Ignoring a negative review will only further your customers dissatisfaction. Take this time to interact with your customers. First and foremost apologize for the situation, then ask how you can resolve the issue and have them private message you. Private messaging with your customers allows you to learn more about the incident outside of the public eye. However, Facebook does not allow a business page to message a person directly, therefore the customer must initiate the conversation. When customers know you respond positively to criticism they are less likely to leave a negative review, and more likely to contact you directly for help. The last thing you want is to have negative reviews or comments with no response at all. This sends the message that either you don’t want to or don’t know how to resolve issues. By effectively ‘owning’ the negative, you can spin it in to a positive.
It is important to note that not all responses are created equal. Keep in mind that your response is public, being argumentative or defensive will have a heavier effect on your business than one bad review. This type of response will only elicit more negative reviews.
Social media has desensitized consumers to the fact that behind every small business’s Facebook page is a person. Use your page as an interactive photo album of your practice; post pictures of your staff, your community involvement, and your successes – these act as daily reminders that there is more behind your brand than medicine, there are people.
When addressing a negative review:
- Start each reply with the reviewers name
- Cite the reviewers specific complaint
- Sign the response with your name
Tailoring your response to each review will further involve your customer in your community and lets them know they are a valued member. While each response will have the same general outline, it is important to not be generic.
Research the incident
It’s not only important to hear the customer’s side of the story but also your staffs. Although the problem may have been out of your offices control and there is no one to blame it is important to understand the problem completely in order to assess how to handle it. Once you know the full story, contact the reviewer and let them know how you corrected the problem and offer them an incentive to come back to your practice.
Social media is a cheap and easy way to converse with customers outside of your office, take advantage. Ask your followers questions about improving your business. From letting them vote on your new waiting room artwork to asking for help choosing a new logo, creating an online community for your customers can lessen the likelihood of a negative review. Your followers are people that support your business and want to be part of it, encourage them.
So, before you answer any negative review relax, take a deep breath and most importantly…don’t lose your head!
— Ichabod Crane