October 12, 2020

Dealing with reviews – the good, the bad and the just really odd

David Harris BVSc MRCVS

October 12, 2020

Reviews are an incredibly powerful tool for your practice. They allow your clients to communicate with you and help to attract new ones too – so what’s not to like? The answer all too often, though, is “what if they say something wrong?” “What if the reviews are too bad?” “What if there’s a negative one?”. So in this blog we’re going to look at how you deal with reviews – the good, the bad, and the really odd!

The good…

Surely there’s nothing wrong with a good review? Generally that’s true. However, we’d just add a caveat – a simple star review without any comments isn’t terribly convincing. Clients and prospective clients engage with the person behind a good, well written review, not just the star rating. Don’t get me wrong, the star rating is really important, but it needs to be anchored in a perceived real person’s experience. 

So a good star rating along is good, but a good star rating with a few lines of text is even better! Especially if you can feature it on your reviews widget…

…the bad…

This is what most people worry about! So let’s look at bad reviews in a little more detail…

Bad reviews are always to be avoided, right?

Actually, no. There’s plenty of data now showing that customers or clients don’t believe a perfect review score. If all your reviews are perfect, there’s a risk that they’ll think you’ve massaged the figures somehow. Now, you know and we know that isn’t possible – the VetHelpDirect reviews are independent and we won’t remove reviews that are negative unless there are other factors at play (see below). 

However, the prospective client doesn’t know that. All they see is a (to them) implausible 5* rating, and they automatically assume you’ve rigged it somehow. A 4.8* average is actually more convincing than a 5.0*. So don’t despair at the odd poor review! If it’s one among many good ones, people will understand. They might not entirely trust you yet, but your potential clients are generally too savvy to entirely trust everyone else.

Is that a good enough reason to risk them?

Yes, for two reasons. Firstly, leaving the odd bad one in means that your clients believe the good ones. But secondly if there is an issue with customer service, it’s far better you learn about it sooner rather than later!

What if they’re insulting or lying about us?

That’s a different question. A review that is defamatory will always be removed. To be defamatory, the review must satisfy our in-house team that it is:

  • Intended to damage your reputation 
  • Unsupported by evidence (i.e. probably a lie)
  • Personally insulting

How should we deal with negative reviews?

The best approach is usually to make a response as soon as possible, and then take it offline to deal with the issue. In many cases, the reviewer will actually amend their review if you can resolve the problem. Sadly, some people see leaving a bad review as a way of getting redress. However, fixing the issue will often make the problem go away – or at least be significantly improved.

…and the odd.

These ones are actually harder to deal with. How do you deal with, for example, the following?

  • “I tried to buy pizza in this vets and they wouldn’t sell me any” – 1*
  • “My cat doesn’t like that part of town so I don’t recommend it” – 2*
  • “I think the vets is haunted” – 1*
  • “They did a really good job looking after my dog but the receptionist didn’t make eye contact” – 1*

For these ones – talk to our expert team, and we’ll help you sort out the issues!