By Jill Allen
Ah, reviews! At times, they are the greatest validation, and at others, our biggest headaches. Every negative and positive review comes with a level of exposure, as they show the world what it is like to be a part of your business. But what do we do when we face reviews that fail to give us the kind of exposure we are hoping for – what do we do with a negative review?
Seeing a negative review for the first time can be devastating, and I know this can be challenging to deal with in your business. One thing I can tell you is that negative reviews happen in every business and every industry. Think about it. Negative reviews happen at your local coffee shop, your go-to clothing store, and even at your favorite restaurant. Yet, despite knowing those places have negative reviews, you still frequent those businesses. Which means resolve can be found if negative reviews are handled with care. So here are the steps I recommend when you encounter a negative review.
Step One - Let Go of Emotion: Do some investigating and get the full story from your team. You can't respond to a review or figure out how to fix it if you don't know what happened. Allowing yourself the time to investigate also gives you the chance to let those strong emotions fade so you can tackle the situation with a level head.
Step Two - Respond with Empathy: Empathy can be the key to finding resolve because it demonstrates understanding. It shows the patient that their concerns have been heard and validates their feelings. Don't be afraid to apologize! There are times in business when we have to humble ourselves.
Step Three - Move Correspondence Offline: You do not want your unhappy patient to respond with more harsh words in a public setting. The patient expressing their continued frustration in an email is much less damaging than continuing to post their thoughts on your page.
Step Four - Bury It: If a resolution between you and the patient wasn't achievable, it's time to bury that review. Instead, call on your practice mavens, influencers, friends, and family and ask them to give you a glowing five-star review.
Step Five - It's Time to Reflect: Ultimately, this review should be a learning moment for you and your team. Being open with your team about these reviews will help you pivot and make changes to avoid negative reviews in the future. The best way to facilitate this type of reflection is to ask yourself three questions: what could I have done differently; what could my team have done differently; how can we ensure this doesn't happen again?
As much as you may want to avoid negative reviews entirely, the reality is you won't. Even the best businesses have one-star reviews. Just remember, let go of emotion, take some time to reflect, bury it, and decide how you and your team can do better next time. You've got this!
Jill Allen is a national orthodontic consultant with a passion for helping doctors bring their practice dreams to fruition. Jill and her team specialize in start-up practices, and training doctors and team members who have been in business for eight years or less, or eight years to retirement. Her goal is to give each team the tools to increase growth and streamline their processes. Jill's proven management solutions produce positive results in case acceptance and production, creating strong, successful practices for the years to come.