How a Veterinary Practice Should Handle Online Reviews
April 17, 2017 By AJ Thakore
Veterinary practices, like all businesses, are subject to opinionated reviews by pet owners on the quality of their services. If pet owners leave the clinic feeling satisfied, they may leave a positive review. In the event that pet owners are dissatisfied with your services, they may conversely use online review platforms like Facebook, Yelp, Google, Yellowpages, and Angie’s List among others to publicly air their grievances. Left unattended – the online reviews about your veterinary practice can affect the flow of new pet registrations if not responded to properly.
When customers post a positive review about your practice, do not just sit back and smile at your monitor. Let the client know how you appreciate the positive rating and the chance they gave you to serve them and their pet. Remember to welcome them to return again (when necessary) and assure them that excellent services will be offered for as long as your business stands.
When it comes to handling negative reviews, no matter how fake the review is or how angry you are about it, remain calm and composed when responding to it. You need maintain a professional representation of your business. Take responsibility for any mistakes that may have occurred, address concerns, and reassure clients that the specific mistake will not happen again.
A word of caution – do not get defensive and succumb to the temptation of sharing confidential information about a particular pet owner or their pet. This will only portray your business and its representatives as immature and highly unprofessional. Instead, this is how you should handle negative reviews:
When the review is posted on an online review site, it can directly impact your business since it has the chance to reach both current and prospective clients.
Implement conflict resolution
Often, negative online comments or reviews can arise as a result of a disagreement or personal conflict. In this digital era, it is crucial for veterinary practices to learn how to handle conflicts effectively.
First, try to reach out to the negative reviewer personally – either by phone or email to express your regret at their dissatisfaction, and ask if there is a way you can resolve the issue and turn the situation around. Many times, direct contact regarding an issue that has prompted a negative review can sway the reviewer to take down their review or post a more positive follow-up review.
Post a polite and thoughtful response
In the event that the issue cannot be resolved with the negative reviewer – take the opportunity to broadcast how your business deals with adversity in a calm and collected manner by responding to the review. Let the public forum hear your side of the story (without revealing any confidential details about your patient). Online review platforms are a key part of your veterinary marketing strategy and it is important they reflect a positive representation of your business. A public response can also alert potential and current customers that your clinic monitors and cares about your online reputation and seeks to resolve issues when they arise.
Share the review with your team
Engage your team members in discussion of both positive and negative reviews during your regular clinic meetings. Make sure your team members are aware of how their interactions with pet owners can affect the practice as a whole. Many pet owners often complain about how they were received by the front desk, or the level of professionalism and attentiveness they got from various members of the veterinary staff. These issues are often much simpler things to address in comparison to other issues that pet owners may be upset about and try to blame a veterinary clinic for regarding the health of their pet.
Finally, don’t forget to reach out after veterinary appointments and ask your happy customers for positive reviews. The most important websites to collect reviews on are Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Be sure to claim your profiles on these sites, and keep them up to date with relevant information and photos of your practice. With an engaged review monitoring strategy, you are sure to rise to the top of the competition.
Don’t have the time or resources to manage and respond to your online reviews? Don’t worry, Doctor Multimedia can do it for you! Give us a call at to discuss our reputation management services for veterinarians, or fill out the form below today.