What do you do when a patient posts something on your practice’s Facebook page? More importantly, what does your practice do when a patient posts something negative on your Facebook page, or on any other social media platform?
If you’re like 92.5 percent of U.S. companies, your responses merit a failing grade. Those numbers come from a recent study by Rational Agency. And, no, those aren’t the low C’s or D’s earned by the high school classmate who missed about one day a week, they’re F’s.
But when you come to think of it, with your patients your customer service really is on a pass/fail system. If you provide bad customer service in the form of how you interact with them on social media, chances are they’re not going to give you a C-; they’re going to find another practice. Fail.
Here are some steps your practice needs to take with your social media interaction.
First, some facts
Whether or not your practice is on Twitter isn’t important. Some practices see it as a valuable platform for instant information dispersal. Others not so much.
But check out these stats. There are about 310 million active Twitter users and they send out over 500 million tweets every day. Over two thirds of those users have reached out to a brand to get help or service. That’s over 200 million people who have complained or asked for help on the social media platform. And with Twitter’s limited characters and ease of use, these users expect to receive a reply from the brand within 60 minutes. But according to Rational Interaction 58 percent of those customers reaching out to a company or brand don’t get any response. What?
That spells uh oh for the brand. In the study, Rational Interaction says 38 percent of people who don’t get a response instantly have a negative perception of the brand. But here’s the kicker — of that 38 percent, almost two thirds of them will then tweet about their negative experiences. Ouch. These aren’t the days of one pissed off person telling a few neighbors and co-workers; these tweets can be passed on and passed on to thousands of others.
Some steps to take with your social media customer service
- Make customer service and customer interaction a facet of your practice. You’re more concerned with staying up to date on procedures and maintenance of your facilities, but customer service in the form of social media management needs to be a true part of your business plan.
- Monitor everywhere your patients are commenting. Wherever they are, so too should you be. Make sure you set it up so that you are notified every time a comment is made on your social media outlets.
- Respond quickly. People posting on social media expect speedy responses. After all, this isn’t a “Dear Sir or Madam” letter from the old days. In that earlier-mentioned realm of Twitter failure, another study shows the average response time to be over seven hours! For a practice, it’s not quite the same as a retail business, but same day or next morning should be the goal.
- When you reply to a complaint, the initial response should be out there for all to see, in public. This shows the world that you’re addressing the complaint and that you care about the problem. Once you establish that initial response, then take the back-and-forth private, maybe on email or Facebook Messenger. Once you resolve the issue, go back public and comment on the initial post, thanking the patient for the feedback and the opportunity to make it right.
- Respond to everything. If a patient posts a picture of her cat saying it looks like Fluffy just had blepharoplasty, post a comment on it. Good customer service on social media involves continually participating and engaging with customers. The more the merrier!
Social media is so…social. And it demands constant attention because your patients expect it. Do it well, and you’ll strengthen relationships and foster long-term loyalty. And isn’t that really the goal? After all, most of your patients aren’t just going to have one procedure in their lifetimes.
Even if Advice Media doesn’t handle your day-to-day social media management, we’re happy to answer any questions or give you feedback on something like how to respond to a complaint. Simply get in touch with your Advice Media representative.