As we have discussed in my previous blog, the face of the aesthetics industry has changed considerably over the last few years. With more demand, and more clinics on the high street than ever before, it can seem like the media spotlight is constantly scrutinising the industry. With clinics and practitioners facing fresh challenges every day, it is increasingly important to know what kind of crises may be on the horizon, and how to protect your reputation if and when they may hit home.
When thinking about issues management for your aesthetics business, there are two types of challenge to consider:
- Direct issues are (as the name suggests) specific to you or your clinic, such as customer complaints, product problems, staff issues or health and safety
- Indirect issues refer to broader, industry-wide problems that can have an impact on a multitude of businesses. Such indirect examples include the PIP scandal, which called into question the ethics and patient care of the entire aesthetic industry.
Knowing how to handle both direct and indirect issues is one way in which a clinic can create a leading, trusted reputation and survive those inevitable bumps in the road.
Aesthetics and the Internet
Like it or not, the rise of the internet, particularly social media, has had a huge impact on the aesthetics industry. It is more important than ever to maintain an online presence, and use this to bolster your wider reputation. For many potential patients, the internet will be their first port of call when it comes to locating potential clinics for their procedures, and you want to be sure that you are at the top of their google searches. Whilst the internet can be a fantastic way to gain exposure and showcase what you can do, it can also open you to complaints, negative reviews and, on occasion, slanderous trolling, all of which is public for anybody to see, presenting a new problem to aesthetic practitioners. It has never been more crucial to be adequately prepare for such comments by implementing protocols ahead of time and responding in a calm, professional manner that will allow you to control the narrative of negative online comments.
The A.C.E Method
This is a quick and simple method you can use to deal with many issues scenarios or negative comments online and it stands for Acknowledge, Clarify and Engage. Firstly – acknowledge the problem or comment. This does not mean you agree or disagree with it – you are merely letting the complainant (and your wider audiences) know that you are listening and engaged. Try sentences like We are sorry to hear that or we have seen the news / comments about X today. Secondly, your response or reaction can only be put in place effectively once you have all the facts – so this is your next step, to clarify the situation and also to insert one of your positive key messages. An example might be we are currently working to gather all the facts regarding this matter, as we are fully committed to our patients safety and satisfaction. Lastly, its preferable to take negative situations offline and manage directly – out of the permanent Google glare – so you need to engage with the complainant in a positive way to resolve the situation. Rather than can we take this offline (which overtly suggests you dont want everything played out in public!) try something like please can you let us know the best way to contact you directly to resolve this matter.
For more information on how to effectively manage issues, negative comments and reviews for your aesthetic business, please do not hesitate to get in touch.