Social Media Negativity

Keyboard with thumbs down key

Keyboard with thumbs down key

Tools to counter negativity on Social Media

Aggressive, inaccurate and hurtful social media posts and reviews are very common for all businesses with an online presence. But they can particularly devastating for veterinarians who constantly strive to care for animals, and yet are accused online of horrible things.

Read the quick-tips on this page to get started, or download our social media engagement playbook for more in-depth

6 Tips to Respond to Negative Feedback

Here are 6 tips to help you respond to negative feedback in social media.

1. Monitor your social channels regularly
If your clinic is on social media, monitor it. Would you have a phone number and no one to answer it when it rings?

2. Don’t ignore it
The negative feedback will not go away if you ignore it! In fact, when someone is frustrated – be it online or in person – the most important thing to them is that they are heard.

3. Respond quickly
When you receive a comment, reply as quickly as you can. Customers expect speedy replies, with 37% of expecting an answer within 30 minutes.

A quick reply makes the customer feel like you are taking the issue seriously and think their concerns are important, and helps to not escalate the situation.

4. Respond publicly, then take the discussion ‘offline’ for more privacy.
When you receive a negative comment, first write a response publicly. It helps other customers stay in the loop and see that you are working to resolve their concern.

If you need to ask a customer for more details or sensitive information, then prompt them to move the conversation into a private channel – via direct message, email or even back to your clinic for that personal touch.

5. “Own it”
Even if you don’t agree with their complaint – don’t get defensive. Apologize for their issue if appropriate, and most importantly offer solutions or let them know you are working on resolving it.

6. Thank them
Negative comments can actually be very helpful for your business. When grounded in fact, they are opportunities to gather feedback and help your organization improve. This also conveys a professionalism and confidence that will be attractive to others.

Summary of key points

Treat a frustrated customer online as you would if they were in your reception area: with respect. This will always help to diffuse negative situations, and a proactive approach is always better than a reactive one.
  • Stay on top of feedback – monitor and watch
  • Ensure they are acknowledged and heard
  • Embrace the feedback as a learning opportunity
  • Share your engagement publicly, so others know how professional you are
  • Deal with more serious issues privately, ‘offline’

Sample phrases to use in responses

Below are some sample phrases to use in your responses to negative comments.

Hi/Dear [commenters first name], thank you for bringing this to our attention/thank you for your feedback.

We strive for affordable pricing at [clinic name], and we are sorry to hear you weren’t satisfied with your visit.

You and your pet are a priority to us and we’re sorry they weren’t treated as such when you came in!

Our team is committed to providing excellent service, and we will do everything we can to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Every patient is important to us, and your feedback is too.

Keeping our customers satisfied is our number one priority, and this circumstance does not reflect our usual high standards.

We would like the opportunity to make this right – please contact [email] or DM us to provide us with more detail on your visit, so we can investigate the issue further.

We're so glad we could work with you to resolve this issue today, and hope you'll consider us for your next veterinary visit.

Our customers are very valuable to us, and we will make sure this issue does not occur, should you choose to visit our clinic again.