Only twenty years ago, before the Internet and social media, there weren’t so many places you could complain about a product or service you have just used. All grievances would, to a large extent, be in the shape of a phone call, a strongly-worded letter or perhaps even an ad hoc visit to the business itself, but the complaint was very much between the company and customer. There was no way to publicly call out a small business for providing a bad service or product, unless it was scandalous enough to be newsworthy.
Fast forward to today, and customers can write a review in minutes and post it online for all to see. Of course, the reality is that most dental practices will receive positive reviews. It can be very rewarding to receive these words of praise, but no matter how good your customer service is, your dental practice will inevitably receive a few negative reviews.
This doesn’t mean you should retire your mouth mirror just yet, but you should definitely tread carefully. Here are some key pieces of advice to consider when dealing with negative reviews.
See it as an opportunity
Every company will have an unsatisfied client at one moment or another, and every client will have a bad experience with a company at some point in their life.
You may not see it this way when you first read the review, but this damaging review is actually a golden opportunity. Although we all wish we never had to receive any criticism, this is a time to show prospective clients how much you care about your customers.
This is your chance to build trust with your customers, and could even encourage them to rewrite their review once they see how well you respond to their concerns.
According to a recent study, 42% of customers who complain on social expect a response within 60 minutes.
It’s important to recognize and address your customer’s concerns as fast as possible before it spirals out of control and begins to influence your potential customer’s opinions. What you don’t want to do is to stay silent in the face of mounting criticism, or worst, delete the negative review.
You do not necessarily need to solve the problem in the first reply–an open investigation into precisely what has occurred will suffice to set up the chance to ensure the complaint ends positively.
Respond like a human
It’s always best to tailor your reply to the customer’s complaint. Avoid cookie cutter responses and try to respond as if they were standing right in front of you. Most individuals complaining about a company just want to communicate their frustrations, and a cut and paste reaction can make them more annoyed.
After responding publicly, reach out on a private channel
When reacting to a complaint on one of your social media channels or directories, always answer openly before transferring the discussion to a one-on-one medium such as a private message or email. Public responses are vital to show your brand as open, responsive and empathetic. You should transfer the discussion to a personal message only after this first step.
The occasional negative review is just part and parcel of doing business in today’s economy, especially if you work in a customer-facing industry such as dentistry. Fortunately, customers do not expect businesses to be flawless, but they expect you to address customer complaints on social media and review websites.
Doing so goes a long way towards making past and prospective patients feel like you value them and ensure that your brand appears compassionate. In this sense, negative feedback on social issues can also represent an opportunity to transform dissatisfied clients into your biggest fans by offering you the chance to go the extra mile with your customer service.
Replying to complaints in a timely manner, adopting an engaged online persona, and using social media as a means of customer service are three avenues that your dental practice can gracefully address negative comments while promoting your brand.
Are you looking for ways to up your social media game but don’t have the time to devote to it? Our digital marketing experts can help. Contact us today for a consultation.