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Veterinary Shaming - What to do when you get a Negative Comment

by Lori Hehn - Jul 14, 2016 8:00:00 AM
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As a veterinarian and practice owner I follow several pages on Facebook. I have recently realized just how bad veterinary shaming can be. Social media monitoring is very important as shamers can quickly escalate negative commentary on your page.

Often, veterinary technicians are involved in managing the facebook and social media accounts and play an important role in monitoring and interacting with people there. What should you do if you find yourself a victim of shaming or negative commentary?

We will focus on Facebook here since that is the most common platform we can encounter these attacks. Any business that takes part in social media must be ready to handle customer service issues that may come up.

1) Hide the negative comment from the page. The poster will not see it as hidden, but will be gone to all of those that are not the poster or the poster's friends. Notify the veterinarian immediately of any negative comments.

2) After taking the time to review the comment, the circumstances as to what occurred, and what you may offer as a resolution, you may decide to unhide the comment and respond. This is the best approach. Responding appropriatley to a negative comment lets other followers see that you take customer service seriously and you are trying to rectify the situation.

3) If a situation cannot be diffused and starts to escalate, delete the comment. If it contains profanity or personal attack type information it may be reported as a violation of Facebook policy.

4) If the situation is a sensitive subject, try to move the conversation out of Facebook by messaging them, calling them, etc. to help resolve the issue. Practice good customer service even if it is a difficult situation. It is better to diffuse if possible. 

5) If warranted, consider blocking the shamer or user who is leaving negative comments. They can still see the page but will not be able to comment or post anything. 

6) If a situation is really bad or goes viral and negative against your clinic or veterinarian, it may be best to take the page down temporarily until the situation has diffused. 

It is every clinic's nightmare to have pet owners posting negative comments and reviews on their page. Remember that good communication and clear expectations during office visits can help to prevent dissatisfaction. Even when you do everything right, unfortunate events may occur and negative posts may result. Try not to take it personally, but find a way to help the client and resolve the complaint.

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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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