Podcast

Episode 384

Oct 29, 2021

Critical reviews are going to happen. Allissa and Michael discuss how to respond and offer some sample scripts to help you manage your online reviews.

Listen to "E384: Dealing with Bad Reviews" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 384

Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • Dealing with Bad Reviews
Resource mentioned: Big Book Of How To Say It


Quick Tips

  • If you ask for help, be clear and specific
  • Put your utility apps on your smartphone BEFORE you need them

Sponsors


Transcript: 

Sponsor message:

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Michael Reynolds:

Hey, everyone and welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint Podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money and improve your quality of life. I am Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines:

I'm Allissa Haines.

Michael Reynolds:

And we are your host. Welcome today, we're glad to have you with us.

Allissa Haines:

We certainly are. How are you, Michael?

Michael Reynolds:

Certainly are. I'm doing great. I've, kind of, gotten in the vibe of our weather talk again, I'll keep you to a minimum, but it's sunny and beautiful, despite being a little chilly. This is my favorite type of fall weather, where it's a little chilly but it's still bright and sunny.

Allissa Haines:

Well, we're having a massive nor'easter here- [crosstalk 00:01:50]

Michael Reynolds:

I heard.

Allissa Haines:

With epic wind and rain and we were woken up at about five o'clock this morning when the power went out and I got myself out of bed and went to physical therapy for 7:00 AM because there was power there. And then, I came right to my office, where I am transmitting this via old school WKRP radio signals.

Michael Reynolds:

Nice. You sound great- [crosstalk 00:02:12].

Allissa Haines:

Not really. I'm on my cellphone- [crosstalk 00:02:13].

Michael Reynolds:

You sound great.

Allissa Haines:

What are you reading?

Michael Reynolds:

I am reading about the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children age five to 12 and the USFDA has advised that, basically, a recommendation is out there that it is to be recommended for kids aged five to 12 and the FDA usually, kind of, follows the recommendation of the committee or whoever that body is that recommends. Basically, they're saying that, it looks like it's all good and promising to get the Pfizer vaccine released for kids five to 12 very soon. I think the estimates are end of, probably, first or second week of November, is the estimate when it will likely be available for kids five to 12. So, I've been reading about that, following it closely and very interested in that.

Allissa Haines:

Excellent. I got my COVID booster the other night, so I'm feeling really good about that.

Michael Reynolds:

So, help me with this. Last I read, the COVID booster was only for certain groups of people. Is it for everybody now?

Allissa Haines:

Well, that's actually what I was going to say is that, if you think you're not eligible, double check, because you might be eligible, you won't be Michael. But if your state considers massage therapists healthcare workers, you may be eligible. Also, I will say this, that being overweight is considered a risk factor that would make you eligible for the booster. And let's take into account that the BMI, the body mass index, calculations, which are 100% crap, based on the average body shape and size of a man in the 1800s in Europe. Totally a crap metric but this might be a good time to use that to our advantage because I went and did the BMI calculate on the CDC site and turns out, I mean, and I knew this already, I am technically considered overweight and I am a size 12, people.

Allissa Haines:

So, if you are not at the bottom of your weight class, you might actually be eligible for the booster. So, I had mixed feelings about utilizing that particular metric to get the booster. That said, I work with people with cancer and all kinds of other immune issues, so I decided that I was going to go get it. And also, check with your local pharmacist, because there are plenty of local pharmacists who are administering boosters and having to throw the extra half empty vials away, at the end of the night. So, if you make friends with your local pharmacist, they may well be delighted to give you a call, at the end of a day, when they have booster shots left and let you come in and get one, even if you technically don't meet the criteria. So, I don't know, some people may be at me for saying that but I don't really care. So, I got my booster.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay. Well, yeah, I say, go get it, good for you.

Allissa Haines:

And the second shot knocked me on my butt for three days but the booster has only made my arm hurt a lot for two days, so I'm okay with that.

Michael Reynolds:

Gotcha. I hate hearing about vaccines being thrown away when there's so many people that want it, it's just- [crosstalk 00:05:12].

Allissa Haines:

I know. It's brutal- [crosstalk 00:05:15]

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. What about you? What are you reading?

Allissa Haines:

I'm not reading anything.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay- [crosstalk 00:05:19]

Allissa Haines:

Well, that's not true. I'm reading low level brain candy fiction because that is all that I can handle right now. And nothing I'm proud of enough to put into this podcast.

Michael Reynolds:

Valid. Okay. Well, on that note, before we move on our discussion today, let's give a shout out to our friends at ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

Yay, ABMP. Let's talk about their magazine today. They have an award-winning magazine, included in print, for ABMP members and also available for free to everyone online, massageandbodyworkdigital.com. You can also just get there through the abmp.com website. As a matter of fact, we have a column in there every month, blueprint for success, and there's a whole bunch of really good columns in there. They cover hands-on stuff, they cover body work and energy stuff, they cover ethics and Ruth Warner does a pathology column and Cal Cates is always writing about something amazing that I had not thought about before. It is a professional journal that includes all these things and more and the online version has lots of video tie-ins and even the print version has lots of QR codes that will link you to the video tie-ins that are really, really helpful and important.

Allissa Haines:

I will say, I have a relative who's having some cervical spine surgery and I was, kind of, freaking out about it a little it and I messaged my friend Ruth Warner and said, what do you have about this? What do you know about this, kind of, fusion and stuff? Because I don't know a lot about it, I don't work with that kind of stuff. And she sent me an article from the spring, I think, and an accompanying video, with her and Diana Thompson, talking about laminectomies and fusions and cervical stuff and it was really, really helpful for me. So, they got something for everyone. You can learn more about the magazine and read all the digital issues at massageandbodyworkdigital.com. Thanks ABMP.

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

Yay.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. So, really interested in our discussion today. It's going to be a popular one, I think, this comes up a lot. So, today we're talking about dealing with bad reviews.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah, man. And this is by request, we had a listener ask us to cover this. We did cover this quite a while back, a couple years ago, but it is always relevant because clients and people who didn't get to be clients, we'll get to that in a minute, are often leaving reviews, either on Facebook or on your Google My Business page or Yelp or all of those places, Tripadvisor. If you're in a tourist location, Tripadvisor is probably still a good tool for you. And, I mean, they leave good reviews, which is wonderful. I am a huge advocate when someone leaves you a good review, I like to respond and say, thank you so much for leaving this review, I really appreciate you. And I usually send a private email, if it's a client I I know pretty well, I usually send a private email saying, thank you again for leading that review, I really appreciate that effort. So there's that.

Allissa Haines:

But let's talk about dealing with bad reviews and some general advice and also some specific scripts for certain situations. Okay. So first, you know this already, but I'm going to reiterate, always take a beat, do not respond to a negative review right away. And by right away, I mean, within a day. It is wise to give it a day or if you feel like you can really regulate and be calm 12 hours later, good for you. I would suggest you do not respond for a day or so. And that when you do respond, a few tricks, one, do not write your response right into the review platform, draft it somewhere else first, so you can really take time to think about it without a screen timing out or accidentally sending it too early. Compose it elsewhere, outside of that particular platform online. Be brief. Be as brief as possible while still getting your point across. If your response takes more than three or four sentences, it is too long. Ideally, two sentences is going to cover it.

Allissa Haines:

And the last general bit here is, do not give up your client's confidentiality. Now, if a client, if someone becomes a client and they go to a platform and review you it and their name is up there, they have outed themselves as a client, so that part's obvious but that does not mean that you can star... in your response, you can mention any other information about them, their treatment, their issues, anything like that. And also, a lot of times people don't leave... they don't use their actual name, like on Yelp, you can have a username. Be mindful if they did not use their real name, in their username or whatever, that you do not use it in your response. So, be smart about not accidentally violating confidentiality, because even though someone and has reviewed your business, it doesn't give you the place. It is not ethically okay for you to start revealing other information about them in your response.

Allissa Haines:

So, let's go through a couple scenarios that can happen. Sometimes we get reviews from people who have never even come to our business. And either it's just some rando trying to cause trouble or it's somebody who mixed up our business' name with another business name. This actually happened to my friend in Massachusetts, she had a practice called soothe something or other and she started up way before that Soothe chain came around or not chain but I don't know, the business model where they just send therapists on-demand, but they're also called Soothe. So, some guy had a complaint because his Soothe therapist never showed up at his hotel or whatever and left a review on her business page. It was really, really clear he had never been to her business. She's like, I haven't had a new client in a couple of months, this guy is definitely not for me. So, that can happen.

Allissa Haines:

You can also have somebody leave... they might leave a review because they confuse you with another business but also, they could leave you a bad review because they're mad that you didn't schedule them or they're mad about some part of your screening process. So, some scripts. So, if someone's never been to your business and they're just confusing you with somebody else, that's a pretty easy resolution. You can reply and say, you have never been a client of this business, this review was left in error. That's it. And that's going to tell anybody who reads it that, one, you're paying attention and two, this was just some yahoo making a mistake. And what about a second situation, that something similar happened to a friend of mine recently, somebody called their business and wanted to become a new client and the therapist asked about their vaccinations status and they were not vaccinated.

Allissa Haines:

They were not going to be vaccinated and they were really put out that the therapist even asked, they felt it was discrimination. This was months and months ago, before courts had ruled on this and said, no, this isn't discrimination. But that person bad talked the business in a local group. So, this wasn't an actual review situation but I really wanted to come up with some scripts for this. And other times too, something, you may have chosen to not schedule that person for one reason or another and they might be mad. So, if they've never been a client and they're mad about something that happened before they even became a client, which never happened, a good response might be, you are not a client of this business. You made it clear on the phone that you disagree with whatever, X, Y, Z, and I've encouraged you to find another provider more suited to you. I wish you all the best.

Allissa Haines:

That's it. It was three sentences, you can fill in the blank. My example would be, you made it clear on the phone that you disagree with my vaccination requirement and I encourage you to find another provider more suited to you. That's it. You can out them as being disgruntled, even though you dealt with them in a very calm and thoughtful manner. That's it, that's your reply. And, again, anybody looking through your reviews, maybe wanting to choose you as a provider, is going to see that and be like, oh, this is just some yahoo, right? We all know there's lots of yahoos who leave ridiculous reviews that are not accurate or thoughtful or helpful in any way.

Allissa Haines:

Okay. So, next situation. What if someone is mad and they leave you a negative review because they screwed up on something? So, maybe they didn't read the terms of the gift certificate or the Groupon. Maybe they didn't read the cancellation policy. So, maybe they booked a 90 minute massage or maybe they had a gift certificate for a 90 minute massage and they scheduled a 60 minute, didn't tell you about the gift certificate and then, came in for their appointment, got their hour massage and then was like, so this 30 minute credit, I can use that towards blah, blah, blah or I can get a whole other 30 minute massage. And it says right there on the gift certificate, may not be separated into multiple treatments or how whoever it's worded. That client might be mad. It's not your fault, it's their error because they didn't read the terms or they tried to ignore them. Or maybe it's someone that scheduled with you and then had to cancel and is super... maybe they gave you their credit card.

Allissa Haines:

If you require a credit card number to hold an appointment and you charge them the cancellation fee, they might be mad about that. Or the Groupon had certain stipulations and they're mad about that. People can be mad about a lot of things that are their own fault. I think a good response for this is to acknowledge that it's frustrating, it's disappointing and then also, just assert yourself, because you are a legit business owner. And my script for that is something like, I understand that you are disappointed. That said, you agreed to the terms of service when booking the appointment and I am keeping to my business policy regarding this matter. That's it. I had this policy, you agreed to it, I'm going to enforce it. And really, anybody who has a problem with that is not a good client for you. But, again, any potential client reading these reviews is going to see, that person complained, this is how you responded.

Allissa Haines:

And if there's someone who is not cool with someone enforcing a cancellation policy or whatever, they're not going to come to you and become a client. So, that person reviewing all of these reviews has self-selected in or out, depending on your response, which is perfect. They're not making a decision based on the review itself. These decisions about choosing you as a provider are more often about your response or lack of response. That is what people want to see. Everyone knows a business is going to get some bad reviews, that is not shocking, that is not new, but your response to it, your very professional and also kind response to it, is what will make people looking at these choose you or not choose you. Okay. So, the final scenario here, legit complaints but complaints that people had after the fact and didn't address when you could actually deal with them. So, a common complaint is, the massage therapist used too much pressure or the massage therapist didn't use enough pressure. If they didn't communicate that on-site, during the massage, there's not much you can do about that, right?

Allissa Haines:

But there are two ways to deal with it. You can say, that stinks, I'm really sorry and I want to make it right, because I understand people aren't always comfortable speaking up in the moment. Or you could, if you have a staff, a massage therapist or if it's you they're talking about, if someone's like, the massage was too deep, I had bruises afterwards, I told the therapist a couple times that it was too much pressure and they didn't let up. You want to, kind of, make that situation right too, right? Because you hurt somebody or your staff hurt somebody. So, if you want to do something to follow-up with that person and make it right, here is a potential response. I'm sorry the massage was not what you were looking for. We always encourage clients to communicate with their therapist right away but I understand that isn't always comfortable. Please feel free to call or email me and we can make this right.

Allissa Haines:

Or if that person spoke up and you didn't hear them, you might want to find a way to acknowledge that. So, that might sound like, I'm sorry the massage was not what you were looking for. Okay. I'm doing this off text because I didn't make a note for this one. I'm sorry the massage was not what you were looking for and the therapist wasn't responsive in the way you needed. Please feel free to call me or email me and we will make this right. So, you're acknowledging that they had an experience and you are saying, I want to make this right. Now, if you feel like, and this is totally legit, if you feel like, because the client didn't speak up at the time, you don't have any liability or you don't have any need to make anything right, because you didn't do anything wrong, which is true. So, that might sound like, I'm sorry the massage was not what you were looking for. We always encourage clients to communicate with their therapist right away, so we might resolve these issues immediately.

Allissa Haines:

That's it. You've acknowledged that it's unfortunate they didn't get the massage they wanted but also that, it was their responsibility to speak up. A lot of people are going to have a lot of feelings, they're going to feel a lot of different ways about this, so that's why I'm providing a variety of examples. But how you respond is important. And I will finish this up by saying, you want to be calm, that's why you got to take some time before you respond. You want to be clear and that, kind of, means brief. And you want to be non-combative. You do not want to be defensive, you do not really want to go on the offensive and attack the client. You just want to say your peace so that you have responded and that other potential clients looking at these reviews are going to see your response and make the decision, if you're a good provider for them, based on how you have communicated. Calm, clear, non-combative. I'm done.

Michael Reynolds:

I love this. I really love your scripts too. I think a lot of us are looking for examples of what to say. So, I really like your scripts, that's very helpful.

Allissa Haines:

And no script is ever perfect for everyone but it's so helpful to have a place to start, right? And, again, I started doing these... Not again because I haven't talked about it yet in a while. I got a book a long time ago and it's out of print and it's literally called, what to say and how to say it. And it's a giant thick book, with sample scripts for every situation in your life, what to write in a card, what to write in a thank you card, what to write in a condolence card, what to write for an apology, how to write a love letter.

Allissa Haines:

And it also covers all these business things, how to write a cover letter, how to write an apology to a business colleague, it's awesome. And that really set me on the road to wanting to create samples scripts for other people who struggle with these kinds of things but also, for me to have on-hand. And I will say, the more you do it, the better you get at it, the better you get at coming up with the words. So, everybody should take these and make them your own.

Michael Reynolds:

Love it. Well, thank you for that. It's going to be extremely helpful for a lot of people. So, all right, before we move on, let's talk a little bit about PocketSuite.

Allissa Haines:

Rock on, man. PocketSuite is an all in one app that makes it easier to run your massage business. You can schedule and get booked online, you can manage all your forms, notes, contracts, payments, reminders, all within the app and that app is HIPAA compliant, my friends. Whether you are just starting out or you're a seasoned business owner, PocketSuite can help you save time and make a great living. It to takes 15 minutes to get up and running with this, obviously, a little longer to fine tune it and customize the heck out of it. But Massage Business Blueprint listeners can get 25% off your annual premium subscription for your first year with PocketSuite and you can do that by visiting massagebusinessblueprint.com/pocketsuite.

Michael Reynolds:

Awesome. Thanks PocketSuite.

Allissa Haines:

That's all I got.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Very direct, I like it.

Allissa Haines:

What's your quick tip today?

Michael Reynolds:

All right. My quick tip. Speaking of direct, my quick tip today is, if you ask for help, be as clear and specific as possible. I'm bringing this up because I've seen this for forever, for as long as I can remember, in Facebook groups and emails that get sent to me and Allissa and to even in our Blueprint Mastermind community and just in general, in any forum or medium where someone is asking for help, it's often the case that the person asking for help is not being as clear and specific as possible. And therefore, it makes it very difficult for some people to provide valuable feedback or advice. And I acknowledge, by the way, that this is partly my issue, because I'm really bad at answering really vague general questions. Allissa's actually really good at this, Allissa's great at taking a vague question and knowing exactly how to respond and be helpful. I do not have that superpower.

Michael Reynolds:

When someone asks a question that is very vague and general, I just, kind of, shut down, I'm like, well, I don't know how to answer this because it's so broad and vague. And some examples are, sometimes, if someone says, hey, I'm struggling with this, I need to figure out this, anyone have any guidance? Or it's like, hey, they list all the problems they're having with something and they're like, I don't know where to start and someone give me some advice. And it's just, sort of, throwing out there a, hey, give me guidance on this big, huge, broad thing, without any direction on what specifically is their stumbling block.

Michael Reynolds:

And so, if you're asking for help and you would like to get help from as many people as possible or make it as likely as possible that you'll get help, try to be very clear and specific. For example, say, hey, I'm struggling with X, I've tried these things, here is where I'm stuck. Can anyone tell me what the next step would be, if I'm stuck here? Something like that. That's a really nice, clear, specific way to ask things. So, that's just, kind of, my observation and, at least, how I and people like me respond sometimes. We'll respond a lot better, the more specific you are and that's going to get you a lot more valuable help sometimes. That's my quick tip today.

Allissa Haines:

Well, I didn't know that that was my superpower but I will say that, usually it involves just asking more questions. Getting to the crux of it involves... I think I'm good at figuring out what other questions need to be answered before we can cover the crux of what they need. And I will also note that, if you're very new at something, sometimes you don't even know what you have to ask and that's okay to acknowledge it. It's okay to say, hey, and I do this all the time and I used to do this to Michael a lot more when I was learning more computer web-y stuff like, Michael, I need to do this thing with changing the setting on a website to accomplish this but I don't even know what the word is called. And sometimes you don't know the words you need to form a good question and it's okay to say that. Say, I'm not even sure if I can ask a complete question, here's where I'm at. And then describe the situation to the best of your ability- [crosstalk 00:25:09].

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. That's fair.

Allissa Haines:

I think it's a really good tip to be as specific as possible, because then you get better answers

Michael Reynolds:

Right on. What about you?

Allissa Haines:

So, my quick tip is inspired by this morning's massive storms, which is to put your utility company apps on your smartphone before you need them because I never put... The electric company that I have for my office is different from the one we have at home. And it didn't occur to me to put the national grid app on my phone or sign up for national grid, the electric service alerts for the area that my office is in now. And so, now I'm dealing with this major nor'easter and I had to go through 25 different webpages to find the utility outage map for the place where my office is, to find out if we even have power here.

Allissa Haines:

So, go to your phone right now and put your utility apps on there, maybe do that with your car or home insurance app, if you haven't done that yet. I realized, I haven't done that with my car insurance app. So, get these apps on your phone before you need them. And for the love of Pete, if you have AAA and you don't have the app on your phone, go do that right now. And that's my tip.

Michael Reynolds:

Good advice. Thanks.

Allissa Haines:

Thank you.

Michael Reynolds:

Look how practical we are today.

Allissa Haines:

So smart.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Well, hey, thanks everyone for joining us today. As always, you can find us on the web at massagebusinessblueprint.com. And we encourage you, if you're not a memory yet, to checkout out Blueprint Mastermind, which is our private community for super smart massage therapists like you, there's a 30-day free trial. So, check that out as well. And if you'd like to email us, you can email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Thanks for joining us today, have a great day and we'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

Bye.

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