How to Deal with a Negative Online Business Review

No matter how well your hearing practice is run, there will come a time where a patient doesn’t have the experience they expect, and they’ll let the world know about it. 

When this occurs, though, a rare opportunity arises. If you recover quickly from the error, you will establish a better relationship with the customer than you had previously. This is known in marketing as the service recovery paradox: A complaint can result in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty levels than if there had been no issue.

Good customer service is about exploiting the opportunity generated by a mistake to develop a deeper relationship with your customer, not about absolutely removing mistakes (which is impossible).

Why is it so important to react to reviews? Let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • A negative review leads 94 percent of customers to avoid a brand.
  • Customers expect companies to respond to negative feedback within a week, according to 53.3 percent of customers.
  • Sixty-three percent claim a business has never responded to their review.
  • Customers are 44.6 percent more likely to visit a company that responds to negative feedback.

The moral of the story is to respond to negative feedback before they scare your customers away. Here are some tips!


How to Respond to a Negative Review


1. Reply quickly


Ignoring a negative review will not make it disappear. Responding to customer feedback, on the other hand, can lead to higher ratings and a better online reputation for your business.

The Harvard Business Review looked at tens of thousands of TripAdvisor hotel reviews and responses. According to the report, about a third of TripAdvisor reviews receive a response, and nearly half of hotels respond to reviews. According to the report, hotels that respond to customer feedback receive 12 percent more reviews and see a 0.12-star rise in their scores.

Responding to feedback is a perfect way to learn from your customers and create trust with your most outspoken customers.


2. Thank the person for writing the review


The truth is that if someone writes about your product, they are sharing their strong feelings about your business, with the hope that others will not have the same experience they did. Even though what they are saying is negative in content, thank them for taking the time to say it. This accomplishes several goals:

  • It quickly neutralizes the negative energy.
  • It allows your reviewer to feel heard and appreciated 
  • It shows other readers that your hearing practice is open to criticism and confronting issues head-on.


3. Take the conversation offline


Once you’ve left a constructive public comment, take the conversation offline. You may need personal details or a lengthy back-and-forth to address the patient’s complaint, all of which should be kept out of public view. You can go ahead and contact the person to solve the issue directly. 

Start your personal follow-up by apologizing once more. Then, if any missing information is needed to solve the problem, try to fill it in. Maintain a friendly and compassionate attitude when you are finding out about what happened with the patient. Finally, clarify what your hearing practice can do to make up for the customer’s bad experience.


4. Take steps to address negative feedback


A sincere apology may not be enough to convince a disappointed customer to change their mind alone. If you take some steps to resolve the problem, they’re far more likely to change their mind about your business. In reality, up to 70% of customers who complain about your company will do business with you again if their issue is resolved. 

This could come in the form of a discount or a commitment to offering a free service in the future. Whatever the gesture, ensure it makes sense for the size of your practice and your bottom line. 


Negative feedback is a golden opportunity


If you take one thing away from this article, it should be that negative reviews aren’t all bad. They can benefit your company and lead to even more patients walking through your door, depending on how well you resolve it.


Nick Fitzgerald is the President and Owner of AuDSEO. He also serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at Hearing Health & Technology Matters. With 13 years of digital marketing experience, Nick is a highly data-driven marketer, with expertise in search engine optimization, digital analytics and forensics, social media, digital advertising, and web development. He has been involved in the construction and optimization of nearly 1,000 web presences, including some of the largest Fortune 500 companies.

About HHTM

HHTM's mission is to bridge the knowledge gaps in treating hearing loss by providing timely information and lively insights to anyone who cares about hearing loss. Our contributors and readers are drawn from many sectors of the hearing field, including practitioners, researchers, manufacturers, educators, and, importantly, hearing-impaired consumers and those who love them.

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