Everyone wants a 5-star experience. From fine dining, to boutique hotels—consumers have long been rating and sharing their experiences. And now thanks to social media, Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews and more—all business and service providers, including physicians and hospitals, are striving for that perfect, 5-star rating or that spotless online reputation.

However, upholding a 5-star reputation is almost unobtainable – it isn’t reality, it’s a fairytale! Everyone has bad days, consumers’ view of perfect service may differ, and sometimes things just may not work out. It happens. Luckily, there are several tried and true customer service techniques that you and your practice can implement to minimize and mitigate the bad reviews and maintain a great online reputation.

First, and most importantly, remember that bad reviews don’t mean you have a bad practice. Second – the best way to counterbalance bad reviews is with more good ones.

Respond

One of the best ways to resolve issues that have happened is to show that you care. This is not the time to put your proverbial head in the sand. Show empathy and respond in a rapid manner. Express that you are concerned about their negative experience and detail how you plan on fixing the problem. This quick fix will increase your patient satisfaction right away!

70% percent of patients said a personal apology from their physician would completely minimize their frustration. People want to be heard—so don’t let other office tasks slow down your response time, it’s too important! Most social media platforms allow businesses to respond to reviews—make sure you take advantage of that feature and thank the positive reviews and address the less flattering ones. A ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

Learn

Okay, a problem occurred. Now, what? Has it happened before, or was this just a one-time incident? A quick internal investigation will reveal issues staff often aren’t aware existed. The goal is to address potential process issues before you are hearing and seeing a reoccurring complaint. You’ll see the results in greater patient retention and better reviews! Remember that for every person who tells you about an issue, there are 2-4 more who probably experienced the same issue and didn’t speak up–they just found a new practice.

Get ahead of it!

Wouldn’t it be nice to monitor all your online reviews in one place, so you can easily manage your social reputation? Products like Medfusion Measure Social gives practices the ability identify and address unhappy customer issues, as well as see the good stuff! This social media monitoring service can also automatically ask happy patients for a good review to post on specified social sites, which will amplify your practice reputation and digital presence.

Negative reviews are inevitable. It is how you handle them that is important. Respond, learn, get ahead – 3 simple things that will help mitigate bad reviews and encourage happy patients to sing your praises. Maintaining a 5-star practice – while that may be a fairytale, achieving a high-rated practice, is a reality!