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How to Respond to Negative Feedback: Step-by-Step

Responding to negative reviews can be tricky. You can’t get upset and react irrationally, yet you need to respond promptly in order to salvage your doctor-patient relationship. By waiting to resolve the issue, you risk prospective patients running into the negative review and ruling out your practice. Therefore, you must learn how to respond to negative reviews appropriately.

1. Respond promptly

First and foremost, when you see a bad review, you cannot wait to react. It should take priority and you should immediately start planning your response. Read the review several times and try to control your emotions. You may find that the reason for their complaint was entirely out of your control. At this point, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you mitigate the repercussions of the public grievance.

2. Acknowledge their grievance

We get it, you run your practice with the intention of giving your patients only the best service. You’ve planned out the check-in process, scheduling system, and every other client-facing process. But that doesn’t mean that your plan is fool-proof. People have bad days and every business eventually deals with negative feedback.

So, again, read their complaint objectively and acknowledge how you could have provided better service. Or determine if there was a miscommunication somewhere down the pipeline that caused their poor experience.

3. Apologize and sympathize

Next, you should apologize for any wrongdoing on your part, even if it wasn’t intentional. Perhaps the patient experienced elongated wait times that was due to you being short staffed. That is not necessarily your fault, but it did impact the patient experience. Therefore, you should issue an apology, even if it means putting your ego aside.

4. Take responsibility

As a part of your apology, make sure you are taking responsibility for the poor service. The last thing your patient wants to hear is an excuse or you get defensive. Instead, try to remain objective and determine how the situation could have been avoided. Make sure to reiterate your practice’s quality standards and how you intend to uphold them.

5. Give an explanation

If the reviewer is not satisfied with your apology, then provide an explanation as to why they received the service that they did. Were you understaffed? Was there a miscommunication? Did your staff have a bad attitude? Whatever the circumstance may be, explain what happened and reiterate your apology. However, it is important to not justify the behavior but rather explain what caused it.

6. Continue the conversation privately

Remember, the review and all of your responses are public, which can be a double-edged sword. If you are able to deescalate the situation and resolve it amicably, it shows prospective patients your professionalism. On the other hand, if the situation escalates then it can hurt your reputation. If you see the situation turning sour, request to take the conversation offline and handle the matter privately.

7. Implement change

Last, and certainly not least, right the wrong and implement changes you deem necessary. This may mean offering a refund, discount on their next visit, or changing your processes to ensure the situation doesn’t occur again.

And there you have it! Seven steps on how to respond to negative reviews. If you want to further improve your reputation management practices, make sure to check out our service ReviewIQ which automates review link invites and alerts you whenever you receive a new review!

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