Ecps Share Some of Their Worst Online Reviews and Their Tips For Handling Them
At INVISION, we often speak about ways to encourage your patients to leave positive reviews about your business; but what happens when a dissatisfied customer leaves a scathing take-down? How do you handle it? How should you handle it? We asked a few of our readers about the worst of the doozies they have received, as well as how (and if!) they respond to negative reviews of their business.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY
There isn’t a business on the planet that hasn’t received a bad review at some point. Nonetheless, sometimes you’d rather commiserate over someone else’s misfortune than expose your own. The following brave souls are taking one for the team to share some of the bad reviews left for their businesses. No doubt many of these will sound so familiar to some of you you’ll insist they happened at your business ...
We had one lady who left her old frames with us for three years. We tried calling her numerous times before eventually donating them. Six months later she “remembered” she had left them and wanted them back!
— Wendy Salle, Salle Opticians, Atlanta, GA
A couple of years ago, a woman came into the shop and was literally there for only 10 minutes. She just wanted to look. After she left, she posted a horrible review about how overpriced we were, our poor selection, that she would never go back and suggested no one should come to us. I followed up with an email to her and her response was to tell me everything I should change about my entire business.
— Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
A patient slammed us on Yelp for not reading her Rx to her over the phone so she could buy online. We offered to mail, email, or fax but that wasn’t “reasonable.”— Jill Schnurer, OD, Village Eyecare, Clarkston, MI
A customer bought glasses four years ago and wanted us to change the lenses at no charge because her Rx had changed. We always respond but sometimes it’s difficult to avoid calling a complaint like this stupid. — Cindy Henderson, Eyear Optical, Hixson, TN
A lady in the exam room told me that she was a single mom, needed to watch her money and may need to go someplace else to look for deals. I nicely mentioned that we have a “value program” that bundles certain frames and lenses at a lower package price and we would be glad to help her. An hour after she left, we got a 2-star review stating the doctor (me) made her feel uncomfortable because I suggested lower price options. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
Funny review...”I wouldn’t come back there if my eyeballs were on fire!” — Robin Brush, EyeOptics, Omaha, NE
DO YOU OR DON’T YOU?
Some ECPs respond to all reviews, some respond to only some, and others don’t respond at all. Where you fall on the spectrum is up to you, your business model and your personal philosophy on the whole thing but hearing about other colleagues’ points of view can be valuable in determining, or updating, your review response policy.
Always, always, always respond to bad reviews! Folks read both sides. — Katie McElvaine, OD, Springfield Family Vision, Springfield, MO
I check our reviews on a regular basis. If we get a bad review somewhere we try to contact the patient and rectify the problem. — Christine Byrn, VisionFirst, Louisville, KY
We’ve had two people leave negative messages. We commented on both of those, but it can’t sound like an excuse ... you always have to take responsibility. — Kristy Smith, Eyeglass, Wearhouse, Reynoldsburg, OH
We have gotten some really great reviews which does make us stand out from our competition near us. We always respond to reviews, good or bad. If it was escalated, we will follow up personally with the patient.
— Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
There is no sense for my business to acknowledge online reviews of any sort — there is no defense against the righteous anger of the aggrieved patient. No amount of reasoned explanation can combat the vitriol of a single scathing review. — Paul Londraville, In Focus Eyewear, Greensboro, NC
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Several of our ECP readers offered advice for those who may be apprehensive about how to handle their reviews. A valuable takeaway is that responding to reviews isn’t just a way of managing your relationship with the review leaver ... but with potential future patients and customers who may read that review and appreciate how you handled it.
I always respond with a thank you. I appreciate feedback both good and bad. If the review isn’t great, I always ask them to come back and let me try to remedy the problem. — Joselle Stumph, Eyeguys Optical, Spokane, WA
Don’t argue with them. You lose and look like a bully. — Cindy Henderson, Eyear Optical, Hixson, TN
Always try and look like you are taking them seriously and will work on fixing it. It’s nice to offer a “private conversation.” We do not get many bad reviews and when we do it is typically a misunderstanding or communication error that could have been resolved simply with a call. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
If you have a review, you should respond either way right away. You should always display a positive response versus engage the patient/customer. I know some platforms like Facebook rate you based on response time and rating so always respond even if all you say is thank you. — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Inc., Lancaster, MA
We check our reviews weekly. If there is one that stands out as really good or bad, we review it in our staff meeting so everyone is aware of what they did correctly or what areas need improvement. — Susan Kantor, Central Phoenix Eyecare, Phoenix, AZ
Thanking people for taking the time to write a review is important and shows other people who may read them that you do appreciate the time and effort. Responding to bad reviews is especially important. It helps show you your shortcomings and lets others know that you are making effort to improve. — Cynthia Sayers, OD
EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
Don’t write a response to a bad review right away when you are angry. Don’t forget, you are not writing a response for the customer, you are writing it for future patients that will read your response when deciding if they would like to become clients. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN