By Jonathan Winnegrad, ABO-AC, NCLE-AC

Sometimes it seems like nothing can be quite so demoralizing to take the wind out of your sails as an optician who is striving to do their best, than to receive a one star Google review. If you’re like me, it can be emotionally hijacking. Getting a one-star Google review can rock your world if you strive to provide amazing service to your patients. The temptation is to bury that one-star review with a bunch of five-star ones. This, however, often leads to a compromise in integrity as the temptation is to get friends and family and people who have not been your actual patients to leave you fictitious reviews. There is a better way to turn lemons into lemonade that does not include pandering to Uncle Jethro's need to rescue you again.

So how do you do the unheard of and turn lemons into lemonade with your 1-star Google Review? Here is how I have had remarkable success building quality relationships and lifetime customers with patients who had initially left horrible reviews.

To address a one-star Google review and potentially improve it to a five-star rating, opticians can follow these steps:

  • Acknowledge the Review Promptly:
    • Respond to the review as soon as possible to show that the optician values customer feedback. I heard that customers expect a response immediately. Ignoring the review will not make it go away but rather make it metastasize.
  • Express Genuine Apology:
    • Begin the response by apologizing for any negative experience the patient had. Use empathetic language to convey understanding. Let them know that their experience is the antithesis of what you strive for.
  • Ask for More Details:
    • Request more information. This shows that you are committed to righting any wrongs.
  • Offer a Solution:
    • Propose a solution to address the patient's concerns. This could include offering a refund, a replacement, or additional services to make up for the dissatisfaction. Use the autonomy that you have. Let the patient “win” and feel like they are heard. Even if you take a loss on the job, play with a long game mindset.
  • Invite the Patient Back:
    • Encourage the patient to return for another visit, assuring them that their experience will be better. Make sure they realize that they are welcome back at your office even after whatever has transpired. Let them know it is your personal goal to ensure world class service.
  • Show Appreciation for Feedback:
    • Thank the patient for taking the time to provide feedback. Express that their input is valuable for the optician's ongoing efforts to enhance services. This has probably been the biggest game-changer for me. Tell them that practices can spend a lot of money to get the same information from consultants that they are sharing. Let them know the conversations you have had, policies implemented, and changes you have made as a result of their feedback.
  • Encourage Updated Review:
    • Here is the scary one. It is as vulnerable as asking your high school crush to the prom. Have what We Bought a Zoo called twenty seconds of insane courage. Once the issue is resolved and the patient is satisfied, kindly ask them to consider updating their review to reflect the improved experience. It is one of the laws of human interaction that they will want to reciprocate the kindness that you have extended them.