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Think about the last time that you decided to try a new business. Chances are, one of the first things you did was a quick search through reviews online. You aren’t alone. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal in October of 2017, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

In a world where anything can get posted online, it’s important to consistently monitor customer reviews so you can respond appropriately and promptly before it hurts your business.

No matter how hard you work to provide the best urgent care experience possible, a negative review is bound to happen at some point. While it’s easy to take this personally, especially as a business owner, it’s important to take a step back, take a breath, and respond professionally and authentically. You may be surprised to learn that some negative reviews can actually help boost business.

A single bad review may not have a big effect on your business, but multiple bad reviews, especially when you haven’t responded, can significantly hurt future business.

Don’t know the best way to respond? Try our top four tips to make it easier.

Tip 1:
Respond to the reviewer quickly and publicly.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to respond calmly and respectfully to each review. By not responding, you are telling the customer, and any other onlooking customers, that you don’t care about your customers or their business. Your response to a negative customer review shows that you care about your customer experience. An attempt to rectify the situation demonstrates that you are a caring business owner who wants to make it right.

In some cases, reviews can be fake or posted by an online troll. Fake reviews can often be spotted by the use of all capitalized letters, frequent misspellings, or statements that are incoherent. If the review appears to be a fake, it’s probably best not to engage the reviewer. Leave a polite and sincere response, but anything beyond that could escalate quickly.

Response time matters. People expect to see a quick response to all things posted online. Dealing with negative reviews of your urgent care promptly will stop online situations from escalating quickly.

Tip 2:
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

It’s easy for a negative review to feel like a personal attack. Take a few minutes to calm down before responding. Better yet, use a somewhat templated response to respond to all reviews. Remember to keep your response unique to the reviewer, but keeping the same tone with each customer will demonstrate consistency in your responses.

Tip 3:
Leave a well thought-out and sincere public comment, then go offline and reach out personally to resolve the situation.

There may be times that it is more appropriate to reach out personally to properly rectify the situation with the customer, if possible. Sometimes an opportunity to change communication channels allows you to put rectification of the situation back on the customer. But, don’t forget to leave a sincere public comment. Potential customers could be reading those reviews and looking to see if and how you respond.

Tip 4:
Pay attention to review feedback and trends.

Track the feedback from each negative review. Share the reviews with your urgent care staff, especially if there seems to be some trends. Look at the positive side of any review. All feedback regarding your urgent care is either an encouragement to continue what is going well or a reminder of growth areas in your business.

Final notes

Don’t assume you’ll find out by default when a negative review is posted. Put someone in charge of regular monitoring. Even better, use a simple post-visit survey to get feedback about your patients’ experience.

Think of every online review, or any complaint in general, as an opportunity to be sure your staff is working together to provide the best urgent care possible. Your goal should always be continuous improvement. Take every complaint seriously. Dig into the source of the problem. Follow up to fix any problem.

And when the reviews are positive, pat yourself on the back and share them with your urgent care staff to boost morale—giving credit where it’s due.

This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.

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