No one likes to see a negative review of their business. But don’t take it personally—complaints are inevitable. The best way to deal with negative reviews is with a swift and professional response. Here are our tips on how to respond to negative Google reviews correctly, so you can maintain your reputation as a trustworthy veterinary clinic.
How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews
1: Reply Promptly
Although it’s important to take a little time after the initial shock of receiving a negative review so your response isn’t emotionally charged, you shouldn’t wait too long to reply. A swift response shows the unsatisfied reviewer (and anyone else reading their review) that you care about your clients and their pets.
Ideally, you should respond to negative Google reviews within the first 24 hours after they’ve been posted. This will help the reviewer feel like you value their opinion, make it easier to come to an agreeable solution, and even potentially retain the client.
Monitor your reviews on a daily basis, to ensure that you don’t miss that crucial response window and so you can maintain a strong online reputation. Take a few minutes toward the end of each day to look through your reviews and plan your responses to both negative and positive reviews.
2: Acknowledge and Thank Them for Their Feedback
Even if the issue is not your fault or the review didn’t include specific details, it’s still important to acknowledge the feedback. As part of the response process, determine if there is a proper way to apologize for the bad experience. Acknowledging the complaint and apologizing when appropriate shows the reviewer that they were heard, and shows others that you are empathetic to all of your clients’ concerns.
As frustrating as a negative review can be, you can’t resolve an issue you didn’t know about in the first place. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave feedback so you can improve future client and patient experiences, and ask them to contact you so you can resolve their complaint.
3: Move the Conversation Offline
After responding publicly, it’s time to have a conversation offline. Always invite the reviewer to discuss the matter further offline by contacting your clinic so you can resolve the issue. Even if they don’t take you up on the offer, others will see that you want to make things right.
An example of a response to a negative review may read something like:
“(Reviewer), thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We aim to provide an excellent experience for all our clients and patients. We’re sorry to hear that your visit did not meet our high standards. We’d like to hear more about your experience and work with you to resolve this issue. Please contact us at (email) or call (phone number) at your earliest convenience.”
4: Resolve the Issue
Once you start a conversation offline, you can work on resolving the issue. Make sure to apologize again for the poor experience and to listen to all of their concerns carefully before offering a solution.
Sometimes, apologizing and calmly offering an explanation can be enough to satisfy the client. In other cases, you may wish to offer a complimentary gift, like a discounted visit or a free pet toy, to help relieve the client’s dissatisfaction.
How to Stop Negative Reviews Before They Happen
Whenever possible, try to stop a negative review before it appears on Google or another review platform. If a client gets upset during their visit, you and your staff can apply many of the same principles above to the situation.
Other ways to prevent a negative review include:
- Consistently providing an excellent experience for all your clients (a clean, welcoming clinic and friendly, attentive staff go a long way)
- Make it easy for clients to reach you when they have a concern by optimizing your Google Business Profile and displaying your contact information in an easy-to-see place on your website
- Respond to social media comments quickly and professionally
Digital Marketing Services for Veterinary Clinics
Part of creating a positive client experience includes building a professional website that’s easy to navigate. At New Wine Digital, we build attractive websites that are sure to impress your clients.
We can also help you create a strong Google Business Profile so new clients can find your business and current clients can leave positive reviews. Give us a call at 480-516-1819 today to learn more about our online marketing services for veterinary clinics.