I’d been seeing him for years.
My doctor had always been attentive and knowledgeable, and we’d had many good conversations over the years of appointments.
So I was shocked at this most recent visit when he said he was thinking of leaving because of a few negative reviews on their clinic’s website.
“How bad were they?” I asked.
The words ‘rude’ and ‘rushing’ had been mentioned, referring not only about him, but the front desk staff as well and a 2.3 out of 5 rating was given.
I’d been coming to that clinic since they opened, and completely disagreed with these poor assessments.
Still, the doctor was discouraged by these negative reviews, and was seriously considering packing up and moving his profession elsewhere.
It got me to thinking.
As a doctor, he often sees people on their worst days. People at their worst say and do things they wouldn’t necessarily do normally. Like write negative reviews about a person or business who actually excels at delivering excellent service.
I can relate. In my profession, I often see people at their most stressful, difficult time too. Divorce, death, bankruptcy, and illness are common reasons people buy and sell homes, and it can get ugly sometimes.
The doctor might do well to take a few lessons out the real estate agent’s survival guide on how to survive unfair criticism.
How to Survive Unfair Criticism
1) Develop a thick skin.
People in crisis often lash out, so try not to take it personally. It’s more about them than you. Besides, taking negative feedback personally only breeds insecurity, hurt feelings, and bitterness.
Sometimes even unfair criticism is opportunity for improvement. Step back and reflect on your role. How could your words or actions have contributed to the problem? Improve services accordingly. Learning how to diffuse, listen and provide solutions can not only earn you a very loyal and appreciative client, but as well help you grow professionally.
3) People understand negative reviews do not indicate a bad company
In my years serving as a director at the Better Business Bureau, I saw a lot of complaints. I quickly learned they’re not indicative of a bad company. Companies that are very busy and do a lot of business naturally see more complaints. Certain industries are more prone to complaints too, like roofing, heating/cooling, auto dealerships and auto repair depots.
After seeing this firsthand, as a consumer, I wouldn’t be alarmed by a large amount of complaints. I would be bothered by unresolved ones. A company with two complaints might have none resolved, but if a company has 32 complaints and 31 of them are resolved, I’d sooner take the one with 32 complaints.
We tend to voice negative feedback more often than positive. Hey, newspapers and news broadcasts would not gain marketshare or advertisers if only reporting good news. That’s why I make a point to voice my opinion about both the good and bad experiences. Before ranting about crappy service, I’ll first work for resolution. When none can be found, it’s time for a negative review and maybe a cautionary tale blog post.
The negative feedback the doctor and clinic received did not, in my opinion, represent reality. Even Amazon now verifies reviews. In the clinics case, it certainly wasn’t my experience. I just hope the good doctor doesn’t let it chase him away.