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Doctor, Doctor . . .

Online reviews can often contain complaints about non-service related items, such as call handling, hours of operation, or the fact that you can't be there in one minute! Handle every comment as quickly and diplomatically as possible.

I selected my doctor initially because I could pronounce his name and he wasn’t 20 years younger than me. It turns out, I made a lucky choice. My doctor is popular. He has won awards. He has been voted the best general practice doctor in the county. So why does he have a crappy review site rating?

His review rating has nothing to do with his ability to practice medicine. It has nothing to do with his technical ability or even his interpersonal ability. It’s the way the phones are handled. It’s the follow up. It’s the response time for an appointment or follow up information.

Here were some of the specific complaints…

  • A patient changed physicians, changed her mind, and found she wasn’t welcomed back (i.e., a fired customer).
  • A patient was unhappy how long it takes to schedule a physical.
  • A patient was unwilling to see another doctor in the practice or a physician’s assistant to get same day scheduling for an illness.
  • The call taker talked too softly.
  • No one called back on an after-hours (non-emergency) call.
  • The practice has too many patients.

These Could Be Complaints About You

All of these complaints could be made about many contracting or other service companies. None of them have anything to do with the technical performance of the work. They deal with the side show. Yet, this is often where a company is made or broken. 

It does not matter how well you can install an air conditioning system if your call taker stinks. It does not matter how comprehensive your maintenance procedures are if it becomes too much of a hassle for customers to schedule service in the first place.  It does not matter if your field service personnel leave the work area spotless if they practice poor grooming and drive dirty, poorly maintained, beat up trucks.

Often, the intangibles surrounding service color a customer’s service experience more starkly than the actual work performed.  After all, anyone can evaluate telephone skills and personal grooming.  It takes an expert to evaluate technical work.

Where Reviews Matter

The broader your customer base, the less reviews matter. The complaints on the review site about my doctor’s practice, for example, will not deter me from staying with my doctor.  Neither will reviews affect your existing customers if they have had a positive personal experience.  Personal experience trumps reviews every time.

Reviews might, however, give a prospective new customer pause. This is why it’s important to respond to reviews if other customers have not already answered them. 

Thank customers for pointing out failings. If appropriate, ask them to reach out to you or say you will reach out to them. Offer explanations for incorrect reviews without becoming defensive.  These responses alone will do much to mute the fall out from a few negative reviews.

Do you belong to a contractor buying group?  If not, you  are paying too much.  Learn more about Roundtable Rewards, the industry’s largest contractor buying group.  Call 877.262.3341 or visit ServiceRoundtable.com.

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