Running and managing a successful veterinary office requires more than the ability to address and treat a wide range of ailments and illnesses in animals. With the advent of social media and the rise in popularity of online reviews, knowing how to manage your office’s online presence has become more important than ever. When you receive a negative online review for your veterinary office, it can feel disheartening and discouraging, especially if you believe you offered everything possible in a professional manner. Knowing what to do when you receive a veterinary online review that is less than thrilling is a way to take control of your online reputation without causing backlash or the loss current and prospective customers who are in need of your help.
Consider the Emotions of the Poster Who Left a Negative Review
Before you immediately respond to a negative review that has been left about your veterinary office, consider the individual who posted it along with the individual situation they have visited you for recently. Did the poster recently lose their beloved pet to an incurable disease? Were they unable to pay for a surgery or medication that their pet required in order to become healthy again?
While it may feel tempting to immediately defend yourself and the services you provide to all of your customers, it is important to remain empathetic and understanding whenever you receive a negative review that may have been triggered by emotional upset or a recent loss in the family household. A great veterinarian remembers their patients and the hardships they are going through with regards to their animals, allowing them to console and assist clients with respect and professionalism at all times.
Although the loss of a pet may not be the reason for a negative review, it is important to consider all sides of the situation before planning a response which will be available to view publicly for all users who are interested in learning more about your practice and the services you provide.
Address the Negative Review Properly
Addressing the negative review you received online properly is imperative in order to maintain your current customers without scaring new prospective clients away. Always remain professional whenever you are addressing customers, even if you have information that proves you are in the right regarding the situation.
When writing a response to a negative review, keep in mind that anyone who is researching local veterinarian offices near you will have the ability to reach what you have said to other clients. A negative response to clients can quickly cause you to lose new business and the opportunity to help other pets in your local area.
Before you share your response publicly to a disgruntled client, there are a few things to avoid regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
What to Avoid When Addressing a Negative Veterinary Online Review
- Avoid getting personal. Do not get personal when addressing a negative online review, as this is unprofessional and appears harsh to those who are unfamiliar with your office and the services you provide. Personal attacks against customers even if they are in the wrong can quickly turn others away from giving your veterinary practice a chance.
- Avoid attempting to be right with each response you give. In business, it is not always about proving that you are in the right, but that you are capable of handling tough situations with grace and by maintaining a sense of professionalism. Avoid derogatory remarks or showboating when you are able to prove that a customer is in the wrong. Instead, opt for a more calm and collected approach to show others who are reading your reviews that you are willing to work with those who have entrusted you with their pets and money.
- Expressing negative feelings online. Social media is a great tool to connect with family, friends, and even longtime and loyal customers of yours. However, think twice before airing your dirty laundry and disgruntled feelings towards an unhappy customer using your social media pages. Even if you have strict privacy settings in place when using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, your followers have the ability to take screenshots or save your posts for public humiliation. Avoid sharing your personal feelings (especially if they are negative) about any customers you take on as a professional veterinarian and only share positive news from your office online and in public forums.
- Attempting to delete a negative review. Unless the negative review left for your veterinary office has been classified as spam or posted by a bot, avoid attempting to remove or delete it altogether. Showcasing transparency as a veterinarian is helpful when you want to gain the trust of new customers and you want to share that you are also compassionate and understanding. If you have a history of deleting or having negative reviews immediately removed from search engines, you can quickly build a reputation that is less than positive in your local community.
- Ignoring reviews. While it is tempting to simply ignore negative review, this may prompt new prospective customers to think twice about turning to you for help and care for their beloved pets and family members. Addressing a negative review is not always a fun or enjoyable process, but it is necessary when you want to maintain the trust of your current customers and when you want to avoid the risk of losing new clients who are in desperate need of proper care for their animals.
Hire Veterinary Reputation Management Professionals
When you are unsure of how to approach a negative review that has been left about your practice or you as a veterinarian, turn to a professional veterinarian reputation management company. Reputation management companies are knowledgeable in both online and offline reputation management necessities and work to build a trusting and well-liked persona for you in your local community. Working together with a reputation management company is a way for you to ensure your online reputation is protected at all times while maintaining the ability to attract new clients who are in need of your services.
Benefits of Working With Professional Veterinary Reputation Management Companies
- Social media awareness. Reputation firms and management services are thoroughly-versed in social media platforms and a wide range of platforms used to maximize online reach. They understand the protocols necessary to avoid online backlash and reputation ruin. Reputation management companies serve as a third-party representative when approaching negative reviews or tricky comments you receive on your social media pages.
- SEO experience. Boosting your website’s search engine optimization is the key to maintaining a successful online presence. Reputation management companies assist with keyword and phrase research to determine the best type of content to reach your intended audience. Learn how to effectively publish content that engages your followers while providing useful and unique information to those who are interested in choosing you as their local veterinarian.
- Properly crafted responses to negative reviews. Reputation management companies understand how to properly craft responses to negative online reviews that are professional, articulate, and accurate. Work together with a reputation management company to ensure your online reputation is protected and managed with grace and professionalism at all times.
- Ask questions. Learn more about how to approach your online reputation when working together with a reputation management firm. Discover the best methods to approach comments, questions, and concerns regarding your veterinary practice that are visible online publicly. Inquire about the best methods to communicate with your clients or those who are interested in scheduling an appointment without putting your reputation and veterinary office at risk.
- Analytics and results. Receive updates and analytic reports regarding your online presence when working with a reputation management service. Gain valuable insight into what your clients think and feel about your services and learn how to generate a sense of community with your office and followers, maximizing your online and local reach.
How to Find the Right Veterinary Reputation Management Service
Before choosing a reputation management service it is important to consider their experience with veterinary offices and professional veterinarians. Select a reputation management service that is well-versed in the veterinarian industry and that has an understanding of dealing with clients and patients who are in need of serious medical attention and assistance. The right reputation management service should feel comfortable with discussing your services and how you wish to be presented online and to prospective clients. Reputation management companies that specialize in representing veterinary offices and veterinarians individually are optimal when you want to guarantee the best outcome while building a professional online reputation.
Working together with a professional reputation management service that specializes in assisting with negative online review problems for veterinary offices is one way to ensure your office remains in business. With a complete understanding of how to approach negative online reviews and address them, feel confident moving forward with your responses while maintaining a reputation in your neighborhood that is trusted and professional.