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How to Respond to Bad Medspa Reviews

A bad medspa review can cost you, but a hasty response can land you in hot water.

Online reviews are the lifeblood of any service, and that goes double if you operate a medspa. But what should you do if you get a bad review that threatens to harm your reputation?

In most industries, the conventional wisdom is to write a gracious response. Not responding can make it look like you don’t care about the customer, or your reputation. And a defensive response can turn off potential customers. But medspa operators need to tread carefully when responding to online reviews.

“With medical spas … the way you react to bad reviews can mean the difference between an inconvenience and a possible regulatory breach,” Alex Thiersch, an attorney and founder of the American Med Spa Association states in Skin Inc., a spa industry publication. “There are a few issues at play that come together to put your business at risk when responding to bad reviews.”

So it’s very important not to take general service industry advice about responding to bad reviews and apply it to your medspa business. Here’s how (and how not to) respond to bad medspa reviews:

Do: consider not responding at all

Unlike many other industries, a response to a bad review from a medspa can trigger negative consequences. A poorly worded response can give oxygen to a complaint or upset an angry patient even more. This could even potentially trigger an investigation by regulators, Thiersch states.

Don’t confirm the reviewer went to your spa

The other big problem with responding to a bad review is that you can inadvertently reveal private patient information. Be sure that you never confirm that a reviewer was a patient at your medspa as this can land you in violation of patient privacy laws.

Don’t: reveal any other private information

Even worse, some business owners respond to poor reviews by adding additional details about the service encounter, such as revealing what type of services the patient received. A medspa owner or manager should never publicly discuss details about a service.

Do: use generic language

If you want to respond to patient complaints, you could craft a “boilerplate statement” that is general in nature, Thiersch suggests. Your statement could thank the reviewer for their comment, stating that you do your best to provide excellent service and encouraging anyone with an issue to contact you directly.

Do: keep responses short and sweet

Another option is to keep your response short and focused on your business. Here’s an example from PatientPop, in response to a complaint about parking issues and a long wait to be seen: “Thank you for your comment. The patient experience is important to us, which is why we aim to see all patients within 10 minutes of their scheduled appointment. We also offer valet parking behind the office building. Please give us a call at (800) 555-5555 so we can better assist you.”

Do: try to solve communication glitches

In some cases, a bad review may come from a person who hasn’t yet tried your services. For example, one bad review of a Minneapolis medspa complained that she had contacted the spa repeatedly about using a voucher and could not get a call back. “It is completely unprofessional to essentially ignore your future clients and not return any phone calls,” the reviewer stated. The medspa never responded, making it look as if they were continuing to ignore the reviewer. They instead could have provided an email address or phone number and promised to personally resolve the issue.

“Bad reviews can be frustrating, because your business is personal, and you put a lot of work into the service you provide,” Thiersch states. “Responding the wrong way to negative criticism online, however, can result in much more trouble than the review would have by itself.”