Has your eyecare practice or optical dispensary ever had to face the unfortunate situation of handling a bad Yelp review? If so, you know that it's an unnerving task. And if you're the smart business person that we know you are, you want to make sure that you don't handle a bad yelp review the wrong way.
The fact is that social media has become the new word of mouth, even in eyecare. And Yelp is becoming more popular than ever (just check out the latest yelp factsheet) and your prospective new patients are likely turning to the site to do a little research when determing where to take their business. What will they see if they find you? Will they see a bad review? More importantly, will they see how you were attentive to their complaint and handled the situation effectively?
Maybe you haven't encountered this trying situation, but we want to help you be prepared in case you ever do!
How to Handle a Bad Yelp Review:
Tip #1: Take a deep breath and keep it professional.
We've all heard someone say "It's not personal, it's business." But we know independant optometrists are small business owners, and anything related to your business is personal, especially someone talking about it in a negative way. But before you get ready to take your earrings off and start swinging, remember that the person who wrote the review doesn't have the same investment! Take a deep breath and wait to calm down after reading the bad review if it has your heart racing. Do whatever you have to in order to keep it professional and you'll be fine.
Tip #2: Don't avoid it, address it head on.
The only thing worse than a bad review is an IGNORED negative review. It's been said someone will tell an average of 5 people about their bad experience, but they'll tell maybe 1 about a good experience. By addressing the bad review right there in the view of everyone on Yelp means you get to rewrite that negative story, ensuring that conclusion is a good one, and that just as many people hear the good side of the story as hear the complaint. Of course you don't want all of the juicy details of every encounter out there in the public, but there's something to be said for showing people how much you care about your business and how willing you are to provide exceptional service. So go for it!
Tip #3: Don't just defend, try to fix the situation.
When you have bad review you just want it gone! We get that. But rewriting the story means showing that you are trying to rectify the situation, not just make it go away. In NO WAY does that mean you have to offer something free - in fact, that may seem like a copout. All we're saying is that rather than trying to defend your practice or going on a mission to get them to remove the review, say something like "We don't want your last experience with us to be a bad one and would love the chance to change your perspective..." and then suggest ways to change it. Hopefully they will be decent and reconsider. If not, you showed the public that you DID make that effort.
Tip #4: Tell your other patients to Yelp!
A bad review only looks really bad if it's the only review, or if it's surrounded by other bad ones. And with every good review, the bad one carries less weight. Once you've done all you can to address the bad review, it's move on. Then, you can encourage other customers/patients to review your business on Yelp. We don't mean to have them bombard the page with deliberately positive reviews, Yelp will bust you for that and filter their posts. We mean that you should encourage your patients to post their genuine experiences with your practice. They will sing your praises and eventually the negative review will be come less and less relevant. (Both to you and the readers).
A lot of businesses are terrified by Yelp, but we think that the great thing about it is that it allows customers and businesses to have an open dialogue. Rather than shying away from it, look at it as a positive and make sure that you are taking the steps to manage your eyecare practice's online reputation.
Handling a negative Yelp review takes a certain amount of finesse. In fact, Yelp even offers some suggestions to business owners to help them navigate this touchy subject, which you can read here.
Do you have any suggestions for others in dealing with Yelp reviews? Share them in the comments!
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