Every practice wants to get glowing reviews from their clients. Who doesn’t? And while it’s extremely important to encourage your clients to write a review about their experience at your practice, it’s equally important that you know how to respond to all the reviews your practice gets–especially the lukewarm and negative reviews. Virtually every business, big and small, has gotten at least a few middling or negative reviews. These are inevitable, and you shouldn’t take them personally. You should take them seriously, however, and always respond to them. Treat negative reviews as both teaching moments and as opportunities for your practice to bring in new clients.
Google Reviews are a Great Advertising Tool
Your reviews can serve as free advertising for your practice if you know how to use them. Share some on your website, or make individual posts on social media that promote some of the great reviews your practice recently received.
And that’s not all! Responding to reviews and responding to them appropriately is just as important as getting them in the first place. It shows that you care, and it can also give you an edge over your competition if they’re slacking or not responding to customer reviews at all.
Reviews Can Help You Grow Your Practice
When it comes to getting reviews, more is always better. The more reviews you are able to accumulate from your clients, the higher your Google star rating and search ranking will be. Naturally, this will increase your visibility to a larger audience.
Reviews Tell You What Your Clients are Thinking
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients (especially the really satisfied ones) for a review after their appointment. Customer reviews can give you significant insight into what your clients really think. They can provide useful feedback that you and your team can discuss later and possibly implement in the future to provide better service and a better customer experience. A client isn’t going to offer you suggestions for no reason; look at reviews as helpful and coming from pet parents who care about your practice and want to see you do better.
Responding to Reviews Opens Up a Dialogue Between You and Your Clients
Responding to your clients’ Google reviews allows you to create a dialogue with your clients and build trust. People appreciate it when a business responds to their comments, especially in a way that shows they actually read them and took them into serious consideration. They’ll remember that, and if they happened to have a less-than-satisfactory experience, your response might be just the thing to change their mind and encourage them to give you another chance.
How to Respond to Google Reviews
Different reviews warrant different (but still exceedingly cordial) responses. Here’s what you need to do.
It’s always fun to receive and respond to reviews that sing your praises, but there is a method to it. First, you obviously want to thank the client for their review and their kind words, but you may not be able to respond to every positive review that comes your way, especially if you own multiple practices. Moz recommends responding to at least 10% of your positive reviews, and making sure each response sounds personalized enough to connect with the individual client and acknowledge their feedback. Avoid being repetitive. Don’t say “Thank you” or “Thanks for the review” for every single review. Try to shake things up a little and make your responses as unique as possible. You don’t want to sound robotic!
For example, say someone writes a glowing review that mentions one of your staff members by name. You can respond with, “Thanks so much, Carol! We love having Jasmine on our team and will be sure to pass on your kind words.” It never hurts to be personable, and you can still keep your responses brief.
Granted, if you or a team member has the time, you can write longer responses if you wish, especially if it ties in well with the review you’re responding to.
Lukewarm On-the-Fence Reviews
These types of Google reviews sit somewhere between positive and negative reviews, with the client bringing up some of the things they liked about their visit to your practice in addition to what they felt were some low points. These reviews are important because the clients providing them are giving constructive criticism that can really help you and your team improve your practice.
When responding to lukewarm reviews, start by thanking the client for their thoughtful comments and critiques. Acknowledge their praises, but also acknowledge and apologize for any disappointments the client may have experienced during their visit. Make sure the client sees that you are taking their concerns seriously. When people read critical reviews and see that you are more than happy to respond to and address the issues presented, they are more likely to find you trustworthy and choose you for their needs.
We saved the best for last.
Hopefully, you’re not getting negative reviews very often. Still, don’t be too shocked if you get one or two. This doesn’t mean your practice is terrible, but there could be some misunderstandings and miscommunications taking place which are resulting in a few dissatisfied customers. You’ll want to get these problems cleared up quickly.
Obviously, a prompt and well-thought-out response is necessary. Be kind, courteous, and direct about addressing the client’s problem. According to Moz: “A negative review is likely the last life preserver an unhappy customer will throw at you–a last chance to earn them back with superior responsiveness.”
In most cases, you should be able to smooth things over with the client, but don’t fret if they choose to take their business elsewhere regardless. Don’t try to push an issue and fall into a back-and-forth argument with an unhappy client. Do your best to understand the problem and do what you can to resolve it.
Here are some of the keys to responding appropriately to a negative review:
- Apologize for the client’s poor experience and acknowledge the issue(s) they mentioned.
- Don’t try to shift blame onto anyone–take full accountability for the problem.
- Be as honest as possible about what led to the client’s experience, and let them know what you and your team are going to do to improve things.
- Be thorough yet concise with your response.
- Offer to discuss matters further with the client by phone and demonstrate an earnest effort at making things right.
- Document any and all complaints your practice receives. This can alert you and your team to any patterns that may have gone unnoticed, and enable you to make lasting improvements to your practice.
- Another important thing you need to do in the meantime is check to make sure your hospital does not have any incorrect listings anywhere online. An incorrect phone number or address can cause a lot of frustration for prospective clients, some of whom may leave a negative review for the trouble.