I gave Lisa Shin, owner of Los Alamos Family Eyecare, a marketing consultation in the fall of 2015. I saw her recently, and was pleased to hear that my suggestions really turned things around for her business.
Here is what she did and how it helped.
When she got her consultation, she was upset because an anonymous patient posted a bad review about her business on an online forum, and she wanted to know if there was anything that she could do about it.
The comment was frustrating for three reasons. 1) It had nothing to do with her service, checking people’s eyesight. Instead, the comment was complaining because they had to wait for too long. 2) Why didn’t the patient complain to her, or to her staff, so that she could have fixed it right away? 3) It was online where everyone could see it!
Unfortunately, she couldn’t just erase the comment. (Wouldn’t it be great if you could?) She didn’t own the review site, people have a right to share their experiences, and some people just love to complain… The fact that it was up there was out of her control.
During our meeting I focused on the things that she could control.
She could collect more positive testimonials and post them on her website and all of her marketing materials. That one negative comment seemed like a bigger deal than it was, because there were only three comments in all. She needed to get in the habit of writing down the compliments that she gets (like when people send Thank You letters or when people say something positive to her in her office) and asking if she may post that on her website.
Shin said, “We also asked our most loyal customers to write a review for us. We always ask them to be honest & include both negative & positive aspects of our business.”
Testimonials from happy customers are a great sales tool. It takes time and consistent effort to gather them, but it is worth it.
She built up her own social media presence. I encouraged her to use a conversational tone, post a little bit more often, and share her page in a local review group. Doing those things made her get more likes right away.
The most important thing that she did was this:
She set up a system for addressing her patients’ concerns before they left the office.
People go online to complain because, more than anything, they want to be heard. If nobody is listening, or if nobody seems to care, customers will get mad and go online and vent.
Dr. Shin and her staff made up some simple comment cards and began to ask every client to fill them out as they left the office.
Most of the comments were good. But every once in awhile, someone had a complaint. But since every patient had the opportunity to tell her if something was wrong before they left, she had a chance to fix every problem personally.
She didn’t just putting a Band-Aid over the negative comment, she dramatically improved her customer service and customer experience.
Here is one example where the comment cards led to amazing one-on-one customer service. A customer complained that the office was too hot. She personally called that customer to say that she would fix the problem. She followed through by making a note on that person’s file so that every time she came in, they turned the temperature down.
Getting feedback required her to make some changes and become more in tune with the needs of the people that were coming into her office every day.
For example, she got multiple complaints about the chairs in her waiting room. People said that they were uncomfortable. That was especially hard to hear, because the chairs were expensive and beautiful. But, the most important thing was that her patients were happy.
So she replaced the hard backed chairs with a comfy sofa, loveseat, and coffee table. Now, her waiting room was more like a living room where people could relax. She said, “In general, our patients are happier.”