A Case Study With Kimberly Moss of Pegasus Home Health Care
As an elder care business, your reputation is on the line every single day. And with the pervasiveness of online review sites and social media platforms, businesses are more vulnerable than ever to negative comments that can seriously ding your online reputation. It’s not like you’re selling socks: you’re responsible for the compassionate, safe and comprehensive care of human beings. The people you care for are someone’s spouse, father, mother, child or other loved one. As such, your elder care business is held to a higher standard than other kinds of companies.
Your Reputation Is Everything
How people perceive you will make or break your company. You probably already know the effects of a bad review on your business, but here are a few statistics: Businesses with two negatives on the first page of search results are at risk of losing 44 percent of its customers, says Forbes; Ninety percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
There Is Hope For Negative Reviews
The silver lining here is you don’t have to take a negative review lying down. There IS something you can do about it if you act fast and approach the situation in a sensitive manner. Case in point: Kimberly Moss, Vice President and COO of Pegasus Home Health Care recently took action to turn a one-star review into a four-star review by handling a situation that some business owners would just try to sweep under the rug. Here’s how she did it.
Swift Action, Tact and Sensitivity: Keys to the Negative Review Response
What Went Wrong
Back in June of this year, Kimberly Moss of Pegasus Home Health Care received an email from a client (let’s call her Andrea) outlining a staffing issue she had with one of the nurses named Jamie who was providing in-home care to Andrea’s grandfather. The issue was more of a compatibility and personality issue than a technical one. Understandable. Kimberly assured the client she would assign the grandfather a new nurse named Kate. Admittedly, Kimberly was slow in advising Jamie of the complaint against her but, she did take action to re-assign another nurse to care for Andrea’s grandfather. However, in this gap of time, the new nurse Kate realized her caseload was too heavy and asked Jamie to take Andrea’s case back, also not knowing about the complaint.
As a result, Jamie arrived at the grandfather’s home to provide care as scheduled, much to Andrea’s dismay and anger. Andrea’s first instinct was to go on Google My Business and write a scathing review of Pegasus and the nurse in question. Kimberly realized her mistake now but by then, the damage had been done. She was not upset with Andrea; rather, she completely understood her confusion and anger at the situation. Kimberly readily accepted this as her mistake and that of her company.
Stop And Assess
Her first thought, she says, was to go into panic mode and turn the situation around — to “fix” it like she has always been trained to do. But then she took a step back and thought some more. “My next thought was compassion,” she says, which fueled her to do a little more digging before responding. She went on Facebook to research her client, saw that she was a working mom with a busy life caring for her ailing grandfather. She immediately felt compassion toward Andrea rather than going on the defensive — something that many business owners fail to do in their panic after a review.
Respond With Compassion
“Rather than feeling hurt by Andrea’s review, I decided I wanted to be there for her and I remained focused on her feelings” says Kimberly. “We had let her down. I couldn’t make it about me.” She knew then that a sincere apology would have to come first rather than jump right in with explanations and ask for an updated review. “I wanted Andrea to know that I truly cared.” So, Kimberly called her immediately. She knew she had to focus on Andrea’s experience and be a good listener. During the call Kimberly conveyed authentic concern and was genuinely apologetic. Kimberly promised to review what went wrong and make immediate corrections to the staffing assignments.
After taking corrective action, Kimberly followed up with an email to Andrea. First, she laid out a detailed summary of the event in question, followed by how Pegasus resolved the conflict, which included a formal counseling session with Jamie to suggest ways in which she could improve. Kimberly included information about how the scheduling mishap occurred as well as actions taken to prevent it from happening again. She acknowledged Andrea’s feelings, thanked her for her feedback and ended with an apology and an invitation to give Kim a call anytime to discuss the matter.
The Positive Outcome
She didn’t receive a response to the email but soon followed up via text, which was how the two had been communicating prior to that. She prefaced her text saying, “I know you’re busy but…” She got a very warm response from Andrea who thanked Kim for her sincere email. And while she didn’t care for the old nurse, she was ecstatic about the new nurse Pegasus had started sending to care for her grandfather. Kimberly realized this was a better time to ask for an adjustment to the original review. The client was happy, the issue had been resolved, and her grandfather was thriving. It turned out that Kimberly never got the opportunity to ask; without solicitation, Andrea had already taken the initiative to change her review from a one-star to a four-star, deleting the original negative comments.
“My approach is to respond right away and not hide from it,” says Kim. “You can’t make excuses or go into defense mode. It’s so easy to feel wounded and take things personally. If somebody feels less than cared for, the best thing we can do is to listen and offer compassion.”
Kimberly took the time to realize Andrea was just a stressed-out working mom who also happens to be a caregiver watching a loved one who is vulnerable. “We want to be the Easy Button for people,” she continues. “I think identifying how it impacted her…that’s what made her feel heard.”
In the end, that’s all we really want. To be heard.
*Patient and nurse names have been changed to protect privacy
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To learn more about our online reviews and reputation management services, please contact us at 760-744-8200. Managing your reviews is an active process, not passive. If you don’t have the time or resources to do so, we can educate you on the process and handle the details. Don’t let negative reviews ruin you!