Negative reviews are always a bit of a let-down, but they’re also a natural part of the reviewing community. It’s important that people be able to leave bad reviews to warn each other off of unpleasant experiences, and it’s also important for practices to be able to address bad reviews and take the chance to improve if they’re going to. That said, as constructive as you can possibly be about a bad review, they still bring down your stats and make your practice or treatments look bad.
While it is unethical and nearly impossible to actually remove bad reviews, there are still ways to make them disappear so that they continue to provide authenticity to your page without spoiling new clients’ perceptions of your services. Here are our top three suggestions on how to take care of your negative reviews.
1) Mark Positive Reviews as Helpful
The most important thing here is that your negative reviews not pile up on the first page to distract people away from your dozens, hundreds, or thousands of contrasting positive reviews. We won’t be manicuring the reviews themselves, but we can manicure the front page. Most review platforms tend to display the most recent and the most helpful. You can pile on positive reviews on the front page by marking them as ‘helpful’, thus pushing recent negative reviews further back. Anyone can mark a review as helpful, but by doing this yourself, you take control of your page content.
The key to doing this correctly is to actually find several very helpful reviews. Look for long text with highly detailed descriptions of the client experience, look for someone who describes their experience step-by-step.
Also, while negative reviews may seem hurtful, it does not mean they should be completely ignored. Negative reviews sometimes point out issues you didn’t even realize you were having, and sometimes the criticism provided may help you in the long run.
2) Turn That Negative Review Around
The absolute best way to deal with a negative review is to turn it into a positive one. While this isn’t always possible, if the negative review is based on a genuine complaint that you have the power to fix or make right, then it is likely that the reviewer will be willing to take down or edit their review in response. Start by apologizing for the inconvenience or bad experience and either ask what you can do to help or offer a solution paired with a consolation prize for their troubles. Responding to a negative review isn’t always easy and definitely shouldn’t be answered in haste. The keys to responding to negative reviews are stay positive, keep cool, and use it as a chance to highlight your practice.
Once their issue is resolved, ask the customer if they’d be willing to upgrade their review. For honesty points, suggest that they keep the original complaint paired with an update on how happy they are with their customer service experience. This can become a doubly useful review as it will also sing the praises of your issue resolution.
3) Bury It in Positive Reviews
Finally, it’s important to understand that some clients simply won’t be pleased. Maybe they don’t want a follow up appointment or they’ve decided to be mean about the issue. Either way, if you can’t get rid of a negative review, the best thing you can do to both fix your ratio and make the review disappear is to bury it in positive reviews. Do a big push on social media and follow-up emails to encourage fresh new positive reviews which will soon drown out any stubbornly grumpy one-stars. Things that will also encourage positive reviews are to add some sort of incentive and make your reviewing system as easy to navigate as possible.
The occasional negative review happens to everyone, the key is to know how to handle it. Always start by trying to correct the situation, please the client, and have the review updated to something better. When all else fails, simply make sure that your customers know that one bad review in no way reflects on the overall quality of the service you provide.
You can find even more details on dealing with negative reviews here or you can contact us and we can help you on the path to improving your web presence and increasing your number of great reviews!
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