How to Turn Negative Patient Review in a Positive One!
Updated: Apr 20, 2021
Like any other service, healthcare services also involve human beings. Due to this human element, there may be cases of human error on either side, which may result in a patient giving negative feedback or review. And in this age of social media, a negative patient review can be very dangerous for the reputation of a hospital. One single disgruntled customer can result in a large amount of unwanted attention. But if one handles the matter carefully, a negative review can be turned into a positive one.
Work on Patient Negative Feedback:
To turn a negative patient review into a positive one, the most important part is to develop a mindset, where you don’t see a negative review as a complaint, but as an opportunity to improve yourself. Given below are some tips to do that.
1. Don’t be defensive:
When c patient gives a negative review, it is quite easy to get carried away and start arguing with the patient. This further aggravates the problem. In such cases, it’s important to accept your mistake and admit the responsibility. Also, think about what you could have done better to avoid this situation.
2. Empathize with the patient:
Research has shown that most of the time, a patient complaint arises out of miscommunication. A negative patient review is often a result of the patient feeling powerless in the given situation. While a part of the negative review may be due to what happened in your hospital, a large part of it could be due to what’s going in the patient’s life. To handle such a situation, first of all, don’t take the negative review as personal. Put yourself in his/her shoes, and try to see how you would behave if you had to face that situation. Then, show some empathy towards the patient who is going through some physical pain or some emotional trauma. Allow the patient to speak, without disruption, without trying to prove him wrong. Once the patient has vented out all his frustration, he/she would be in a better frame of mind to listen to what you say. This is the right time when you can make him understand your point of view.
3. Improve the mistake:
In case, where the hospital has indeed made a mistake, it’s important that first you genuinely apologize to the patient. However, the apology should not be merely in words, but inaction itself. Start working on improving the mistake. Once the mistake has been rectified, you may want to call and inform the patient about its rectification. This is an opportunity to thank him for showing an area of improvement and getting a positive review.
4. Train Your Staff:
The best way would be to train your staff to avoid any such situation. But that is easier said than done. So, in case such a thing happens, train your staff to listen to them. And listen to understand. Train the staff to get as much as possible details about the problem, without being judgmental about anything.
5. Send them a personalized mail:
When a patient gives a negative review, they expect to be heard and responded back. Not getting a response further makes them annoyed. If you are serious about turning the negative review into a positive one, then it’s important to send them a personalized email, where you not only take responsibility for the mistake but also appreciate the effort taken by them to bring this issue to your notice.
Patient Satisfaction Survey
While it’s good to turn a negative review, we must always remember the age-old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’. This simply means, creating a mechanism that such mistakes do not happen which snowballs into a patient writing a negative review. One way to get regular feedback from patients is a patient feedback survey.
Here, every patient and/or relative may be given a feedback form, where they are asked to rate the facilities they have used in the hospital. They may also be asked to suggest areas of improvement.
The survey may be done on paper or in the form of an online survey.
Working on the Patient Experience:
Some senior person should read these feedbacks regularly and seriously and make a note of things. The issues recurring again should be given top priority. If you genuinely find something lacking in your system, you should immediately start working on it.
Give the patient feedback again:
Once you have worked on the negative review and have corrected the issue, it’s a good idea to write to or speak to the patient once again to thank him for bringing the issue to notice. The idea of this conversation is to give the patient feedback on the steps taken by you to ensure that no one else goes through that experience again.
A negative review or a complaint always looks like a question on our competence and often disturbs us. But, if one were to think it with a cool mind, it’s an opportunity to identify our areas of improvement and make the bond stronger with that patient. Most negative reviews occur due to miscommunication or misunderstanding. Sometimes the things get aggravated due to our personal issues. However, if one shows some patience, things can be sorted out and a negative review can be turned into a positive one.