Nursing homes have regressed in consumer trust the past few months because of a global pandemic and other long-standing challenges. In the nursing care industry, managers and administrators are slowly learning how to respond to negative reviews for nursing homes with care and sensitivity.
It may sound like there’s no way to recover from negative reviews, but that’s not entirely true. Negative reviews are part of being in business and they are bound to happen. With a nursing care facility, managing public feedback about your service is a crucial part of sustaining a business that people trust. As a healthcare provider, you want to provide the best service to meet the life-changing needs of patients and their families.
Unfortunately, there are some factors and incidents beyond your control that can cause a handful of negative nursing home reviews.
The Challenges Nursing Homes Face Today
The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus is one example of certain situations beyond anyone’s control. The spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes caused major concerns among families, consumer advocates and the general public.
The good news is that stakeholders and government agencies are now taking a closer look at implementing the much-needed reform for the nursing care industry. While nursing homes are expected to uphold high standards of infection control to keep residents safe, it is also expected that nursing home staff are equipped with adequate systems to help them accomplish this difficult task.
In addition to a global pandemic, nursing homes have long faced limitations with Medicare coverage — another factor beyond the control of nursing home firms. Medicare will pay for 100 percent of skilled nursing care for the first 20 days and 80 percent for the following 80 days. Coverage is only applicable if the nursing home care is preceded by a three-day minimum hospital stay. Medicare coverage for skilled nursing care stops beyond 100 days.
Not many families are aware of this policy, however. Therefore, they have incorrect assumptions about payment for nursing home services. Educating families about Medicare coverage can lessen negative Medicare nursing home reviews and manage customer expectations.
Every company has its own strategy and policy on how to respond to negative reviews from its customers. The goal is always to make customers feel heard and making improvements so problems are resolved for future customers. Implementing a thoughtful and professional negative review response can be challenging but it is not impossible.
9 Important Tips to Remember When Responding to Negative Nursing Home Reviews
Always acknowledge your customers’ feedback and apologize for their negative experience with your organization. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. Apologizing to a customer doesn’t equate to accepting blame, but rather immediately expresses that you’re sorry their experience was less than ideal.
The goal is to show your customers you care about their experience and that you are willing to work on resolving the issue. The apology you give your customer should indicate that you will heed their feedback and try to find an adequate resolution that will holistically impact your organization and prevent a similar issue from arising again.
2. Take the Conversation Offline
Moving the conversation away from the review page and into a private communication allows you to engage directly with the customer and come up with a solution that makes up for the inconvenience.
In the case of a particularly lengthy negative review, it’s best to ask the customer if you can contact them directly or ask them to contact a customer service representative directly. The most professional negative review responses, begin with an apology followed by direct contact with the customer explaining that you appreciate them taking the time to provide feedback and that should they require further assistance you are happy to help them. In some instances, you may ask the customer if they would like to provide further insights as you seek recourse.
More often than not, customers need immediate attention to resolve an issue, especially when they have Medicare nursing home reviews.
A study by Social Media Today states that 95 percent of unhappy customers will change their mind about a product or service if their concerns are fixed in a timely manner.
3. Respond Within 48 Hours
In a PatientPop Online Reputation survey of 839 patients, one of the key takeaways is that customer satisfaction doubles if a negative review receives immediate attention. When a healthcare firm contacts a patient who submitted a negative review, their satisfaction rates increase to 99 percent.
The longer a review goes unanswered, the higher the chances are of losing other online prospects who have read the review and noticed the absence of a negative review response from your organization. A timely response, even during weekends or holidays, shows your customers that you care about their concerns and sincerely want to make it up to them.
4. Offer a Solution
It’s not possible to resolve every problem that a customer highlights and complains about in reviews. However, it’s important that your response to negative reviews includes an indication of your team working to fix the problem or seeking out new preventative measures. Whatever measures you take or solutions you have in place, make sure to tell the customer about it.
When you respond to the review assure the customer that you are doing everything you can to deliver better service in the future. If possible, you can mention the course of action your team has taken or the new solution you’ve implemented to prevent the problem from recurring. Despite being dissatisfied, customers assured of a solution are likely to change their minds about your organization and possibly even change their initial review.
5. Protect Customer Privacy
When responding to negative reviews online, make sure to protect the privacy of your customers. Nursing homes, like other health care providers, are subject to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) privacy laws. This law mandates the protection of medical information for all consumers in electronic transactions and the exchange of data. This means you can’t mention the name and medical condition of customers in online reviews and other online platforms.
6. Thank the Customer
Reviews, whether positive or negative, are an invaluable resource to all types of businesses. As a nursing home, your customers and their families are your business and the insights you can glean from their feedback can be used to improve your operations. Therefore, when responding to the reviews that contain text (not just a star rating), make sure to acknowledge your appreciation for their feedback. And, include a “thank you” in all of your negative review responses. Let your customers know that you appreciate them taking the time to write a review and that you will look into their concerns.
7. Keep Your Cool
Reading negative reviews can be upsetting. Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Avoid responding to negative reviews and comments if you find yourself reacting emotionally to the complaint or feeling frustrated by the review. Your annoyance or emotions will show in your response and you could end up in an argumentative engagement. Rather, take a minute and calm down so you can write your response in a professional tone.
8. Personalize Every Response
Don’t use cookie-cutter negative review responses that don’t offer substantial information to the customer. When writing your response, mention details the customer has highlighted in the feedback as this indicates you’ve read and understood their review. This paves the way for a more personable communication.
Talk about how you plan on improving your service and invite them to re-evaluate your organization and customer service. For instance, respond appropriately to Medicare nursing home reviews with facts that clearly state policies about coverage for long-term care and how your team manages this.
9. Hire a Reputation Management Company
Responding to reviews can be a time-intensive process, but if you streamline this process, it becomes easier for you and your team. You can hire an in-house team or a reputation management agency to take care of reviews and online feedback.
Rize Reviews has its own reputation management software to manage all reviews in one place and improve your business’ overall ratings. Employing a reputation management company can save you time while ensuring excellent results.
Our expert reputation managers will help you manage and respond to reviews and improve your overall review ratings with our review response service.
Conclusion: Negative Reviews Are Not Always a Bad Thing
Negative reviews, even those caused by issues beyond your control, such as a pandemic or unsatisfactory Medicare nursing home reviews, can be difficult to handle. Sometimes, while you want a better experience for your customer, you simply don’t have the means to guarantee that. Medicare limitations on nursing home coverage is not something that you can change, nor can you undo the damage of a pandemic that has taken the healthcare industry by surprise.
What you can do is to ease your customer’s concerns by acknowledging them and being responsive. A negative review is an opportunity to engage directly with your customers, for your business to improve in the ways that matter the most to your audience, to demonstrate excellent customer service and increase your online reputation. With expert help, as you can expect from our Rize reputation management team, you should be able to turn negative reviews into positive ones.
With time and experience, you’ll be able to master how to respond to negative reviews for nursing homes and position your organization as a leader in your industry. Better yet, save time and money with Rize Reviews’ reputation management company. We’ll help you create and implement a negative review response system that turns customer dissatisfaction to customer loyalty. If you need help, please contact our reputation management agency for more information about our reputation management software and review response services.