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Your heart sinks, you do a double take, and you take a moment to process what has happened. There comes a time for every organization where a negative review may appear online, especially when working in the health care industry. How should you handle a negative review? There are a few tips and suggestions for handling a negative review while maintaining your online reputation. Implementing these tips will communicate to prospects that your organization is proactive and dedicated to making things right.

  • Do not be defensive. This may seem like common sense, but if someone responds to a negative review or comment while angry it can lead to irresponsible responses. The best way to approach the situation is to wait until the emotions pass so your team can reply respectfully and empathetically.
  • Respond quickly. The longer a negative review is online without a response, the longer it will appear unresolved to prospects.
  • Take ownership. In the healthcare industry, we often will find ourselves in highly emotional situations among residents and their family members. Even if we may not perceive the complaint as a big deal, we need to understand that it is a big enough deal to warrant the review and therefore taking action is necessary.
  • Take time to respond online, but keep it short and sweet. You want to address the complaint of the reviewer and show your audience you are committed to resolving issues that arise. Acknowledge that you understand where they are coming from and that you want to make things right. Try to find a phone number or email address for the reviewer so you can connect one-on-one, offline, to dive deeper into the issue if necessary.
  • A negative review is an opportunity for improvement. Many residents and family members may not mention anything if something is wrong, and having one reviewer who does speak up will give you the chance to correct a negative behavior or process. Every complaint needs to be taken seriously and research must be completed to identify (or disprove) wrongdoing.
  • Maintain all websites allowing for reviews. Even if you have not set up an official social media profile, including one on Facebook, a page may have been created without your doing. In order to ensure no negative reviews are posted somewhere without the organization’s knowledge, do a thorough search online and claim any page not created by your team so you and your team can address any concerns.

There are many reasons an organization may receive a negative online review. Some of these reasons are valid concerns, and other times someone may be having a bad day. Regardless of the circumstances, make sure there is a dedicated team member available to respond to any negative reviews in a timely and respectful manner.

Interested in a complimentary marketing assessment to determine where your organization stands among prospects?