Published on June 10, 2020
Social media consist of a great visibility tool for your veterinary practice and they also give people the freedom to express their concerns, feelings, opinions and appreciation of a service – whether it is positive… or not!
Responding to a negative comment
So you have just logged into your practice’s Facebook page to discover a notification that an obviously unsatisfied client has left a very disparaging comment on a recent post.
Your first reflex may be to ignore this criticism but doing that might send a signal that you don’t really care about what your clients have to say.
Should you delete the comment? In a word: never! All that will do is reinforce the client’s negative perception. Instead, you have to show them that you really want to resolve the situation and that you are listening to them.
Go on the offensive!
You should look at criticism as an opportunity to turn an unhappy client into a satisfied one. By taking the time to send a response, you can change the perception of other people who visit your page.
The best thing to do is to recognize that the person may have had a bad experience and rapidly suggest a solution.
Because your answer will be public and accessible to everyone, the most important thing is to respond in a courteous and professional manner. Try to use an empathetic and understanding tone. If there is a practical explanation, share it. If your practice has made a mistake, apologize. If there is a lesson to be learned, thank the client for their criticism, and reassure them this situation will not happen again.
End your response by encouraging the client to contact you directly to solve the problem. In this way, you can take the conversation offline, making it more personal. Your client will feel like you are listening to them and they will appreciate the chance to speak to the professionals in your practice.
Take advantage of social media comments to evaluate and revise your service practices. You should see them as an opportunity to review and improve the customer experience! To help you adopt good practices, we suggest the use of a feedback management diagram.
What about positive comments?
Good online reviews are essentially free advertising for your business, and they let you know that someone has taken the time to say nice things about your practice, your team and your service performance. It is important to respond to each of them with a personalized thanks, for example: “Hello Jessica. Thank you for taking the time to write this nice comment to us. It is always nice to hear from our satisfied clients! Greetings to Carlos the cat!”
As much as possible, try to take a proactive approach in order to generate positive comments on your social media. If the majority of the comments you receive are positive, you should not worry about one or two negative comments, especially if you took the time to manage them properly.
Clients essentially want to know that you are listening to them. While you can’t control what they say about you online, you can control your reaction. Responding in a courteous and professional manner is the right thing to do for your clients, your practice and your reputation.
• Take a reactive approach by replying as promptly as possible.
• Take the time to offer a personalized, professional and courteous response.
– Thank the client for taking the time to make a comment (even if it was negative).
– Apologize for the fact that the client is disappointed.
– Suggest a solution.
– Reassure the client that the situation will not happen again.
• If necessary, continue the conversation by inviting the client to contact you privately.