In today’s market, negative reviews are a reality of doing business. Even the most well-respected, well-meaning companies in the world have slews of 0 or 1 star reviews. Given this fact, companies in all industries are now essentially required to handle negative reviews publicly. While you might feel that negative patient reviews are unjustified or downright nutty, it is never appropriate to respond with vitriol. Instead, cosmetic surgeons can view negative patient reviews as an opportunity to publicly respond in a positive, helpful manner that explains your side of the story.
With this in mind, today we will review how to respond to negative patient reviews for cosmetic procedures.
Why Online Reviews are Ultimately a Good Thing
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s first discuss online reviews as a whole. Many cosmetic surgeons and other industry professionals would probably prefer to rewind time to an era when any perturbed individual with internet access wasn’t able to publicly drag your business. Yet for all the potential headaches, we believe that online reviews are primarily beneficial for business.
- Reviews help boost your visibility. Search engines prioritize businesses with lots of high quality reviews, regardless of what the review scores actually are. Obviously, we would all like to be a perfect 5 starts on Google, but patient engagement is nearly as important.
- More reviews = more clicks. Beyond mere SEO optimization and better page rankings, online reviews have also been shown to drive customer engagement, clicks, and ultimately, sales.
- Customer reviews sometimes have a point. Whether or not you see value in all reviews (this would be extremely unlikely), many businesses actually improve by reading their online reviews. This lets you know what your organization does well and where it could improve.
How Successful Companies Respond to Negative Online Reviews
Of course, all of this is more easily said than done. Responding to negative online reviews can be a very tricky situation for business owners, particularly when it is such a personal subject like a cosmetic procedure. To understand the best practices, let’s explore how successful companies respond to negative online reviews:
They respond to positive reviews, negative reviews, and everything in between
Most businesses reply to positive reviews, and it has become common to respond to the most overwhelmingly negative reviews as well. The most proactive businesses respond to all types of reviews to show their customers that they care about the individuals, not just looking good on a public forum. It is important to remember that modern consumers are both savvy and cynical. They will often see right through transparent efforts by companies to make themselves appear more amicable without actually putting forth the energy to make improvements.
Businesses always acknowledge customer concerns
You know more about your business than your customers do. You know more about your customers’ cosmetic procedures than they do. Hell, you might not even understand what your customer is even saying due to poor writing or incoherent rambling. Regardless of any of these facts, it is important to acknowledge and respond to your customers’ concerns before moving forward. Often, customers just want to be heard even if they do not receive any type of consideration after the fact.
Cosmetic surgeons/business reps should remember the personal nature of the problem
Unlike some other negative online reviews for DVDs or coasters, an online review for a cosmetic procedure is somebody talking about a procedure that was performed on their body. Due to this uniquely personal circumstance, navigating public responses is particularly tricky. It is important to always keep in mind just how upset (justifiable or not) the customer is likely to be.
Because of this, showing empathy and understanding is an important first step. It is also a great idea to provide contact information to take the conversation offline. It can be tempting to want the entire interaction to remain public for your image, but providing a concrete solution often involves working with the dissatisfied customer in a one-on-one setting.
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