Category: Author: Heather
Reputation management’s been a hot topic in our office as of late. If you haven’t read it, my colleague (and our creative director) Megan, recently published a blog on the basics of reputation management for dentists. And, while the world was bewildered by the tragic and untimely death of Cecil the lion, Jaren our search wizard (not his official title), wrote a blog about the relationship between the content of reviews and SEO results.
Social media provides a public platform for someone who’s disappointed in a product or service to share their feelings. For example, my most recent review was three stars, informing a local BBQ restaurant of what a disappointing experience we had.
When a patient posts a negative review or comment, it’s human nature to want to hide these messages. Of course deleting is the exact wrong thing to do.
The best response to a negative review or comment—and the one we recommend for our clients—is to acknowledge the poster, apologize publicly (even if you feel you didn’t do anything wrong), and move the conversation offline where someone from your office is available and empowered to provide a solution.
It’s not a big deal, I’ll just delete negative reviews
Deleting or hiding the post will frustrate or anger the poster and gives them another reason to react—which is exactly what happened to a client recently.
In response to a negative review, the practice’s office manager reached out to discuss with the former patient. By 5 p.m. Tuesday, the woman who posted the negative review was happy and the issue resolved. The next morning when she went on Facebook to edit her post and add stars, she discovered that her original review had been taken down.
An employee who wasn’t aware of our policy requested the review removed based on Facebook’s policy that the information wasn’t material to their business. This assertion was, at best, a stretch, but it worked. By 8 a.m. Wednesday, a second, more scathing review was posted, and the good will garnered the night before was gone.
Will a social network delete a negative review?
Depending on the social network, you probably won’t have the ability to delete a negative comment. For example, Facebook’s policy on negative reviews is to decline requests to delete unless the review is fraudulent, uses profanity, or not materially relevant to the business. The fact that they deleted the review in question, was probably only because the situation the reviewer commented on was several years ago. Yelp, Google, and most other review platforms employ similar policies.
Intrinsically, this is a first Amendment issue. Time and again the Supreme Court has sided with negative reviewers and review websites who argue that in order to protect the integrity of the review system they shouldn’t be forced to delete negative reviews. As someone who uses online reviews in my decision making-process, I hope this policy remains.
Repeat after me…I will not delete negative reviews
The best way to handle a negative review is with a customer-centered reputation management policy and an office contact empowered to offer solutions. A well-written response to a negative comment and a genuine attitude can turn a disgruntled customer into a lifetime patient.
This of course begs several questions. If a company addressed your negative review, would you change that review? How much clout do you give online reviews knowing that review platforms are refusing to delete?