Protecting your online reputation: dealing with negative reviews
How you manage your online presence can make or break your reputation as an aesthetic practitioner.
Dealing with negative reviews is a really important part of protecting your online reputation.
Nobody is immune from negative reviews or comments – even the most eminent aesthetic practitioner’s reputation can be ruined in an instant by a bad online review if it is not dealt with effectively.
While there is much you can do to encourage positive reviews rather than negative ones, all it takes is one dissatisfied customer, or worse, a cyber bully or troll, and your professional reputation could end up in tatters.
In today’s digital age, it is crucial to recognise the extent to which the dialogue between consumers themselves has gained increasing importance, with online review sites at the forefront of this ‘consumer to consumer’ (C2C) marketing evolution.
Online reviews are increasingly dominating purchasing decisions
Online reviews are often the first thing a potential customer will look for when considering whether to use your services and are therefore a crucial aspect of your or your clinic’s reputation.
Even if your potential patient has been referred to you by another customer, the likelihood is that they will go online to confirm the existing customer’s view and seek out the opinions of other patients before making a firm commitment.
A recent survey by Podium found that 93% of consumers said that reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions, and furthermore two-thirds of consumers (68%) are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience. For the complete report, visit Podium.com. You can also find an infographic here.
Online reviews are clearly pivotal to influencing customers when they are making purchasing decisions, both about which practitioner they are most likely to trust, and how much they are prepared to spend.
Online consumer reviews are, today, considered to be a trusted source of brand information and are therefore a crucial component of the buying decision process.
Managing negative online reviews
It may seem that there is little you, as a practitioner, can do to rectify the aftermath of a negative online review.
The good news is that there are techniques to help you manage negative online reviews or comments and keep your reputation intact.
So long as you view online reviews as an opportunity to build interaction and transparency with your customers and ensure that you are communicating consistent marketing messages, you can leverage them to your advantage.
What should you do if, despite your best efforts, you receive a negative online review?
Are you listening? We have all seen businesses reacting defensively to a negative review, or worse, ignoring it entirely. The crucial thing is not to ignore negative reviews. And, rather than responding defensively to a bad online review, it is important to take onboard insights into how your target audience views your brand.
Top tips for managing negative online reviews
Read the review and incorporate feedback
Take the time to read reviews carefully and objectively, be open to feedback and ask yourself honestly whether there is anything you can learn from the review. Incorporate relevant feedback, particularly if you identify a pattern or trends and take it on board as constructive criticism that you can use to identify areas for improvement.
Respond personally to the reviewer, ideally offline
Often, by picking up the phone and making an effort to speak to the customer, you can turn a bad situation around and the customer may be prepared to retract or update the negative review. For this approach to work however, you must take the time to listen and empathise.
Respond promptly but allow time to cool off if needed
Make sure you respond as soon as you can but if a review makes you upset, wait until you feel calm before doing so. Resist the temptation to get emotional or defensive and remain polite and professional at all times, even if you feel the reviewer is being unreasonable!
How you handle a bad review is often of more interest to others than the actual complaint. See every poor review as an opportunity for you to retain patients and acquire new ones by demonstrating your high levels of customer service and empathy.
We all know the old adage that a customer who has complained and had their complaint handled well, becomes more of an advocate than those who have not complained at all. And in today’s rapidly expanding aesthetics industry, how you handle those online reviews is more important than ever.
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