Discussions

How to deal with hospital complaints on Facebook

Posted by Eunice Mwangi @eunice, Jul 20, 2016

This refers to closed Facebook groups of which some have over 100k followers. Sometimes you find a post complaining about hospital care and quickly gets over 1000 comments in a very short time (matter of few hours) not withstanding most are dissatisfied clients. Whats the best practice to deal with this? The hospital does not have an official Facebook account.

Eunice, what you’re talking about is a crisis communications situation. I know a week has gone by, but the hospital still needs to address this–as soon as possible.

There is a decision tree created for situations like this. It’s here: http://bit.ly/2ae1Czo

I’d also strongly recommend that you create a report of the 1000 comments and send it to your manager and up the chain to the executive team. Even if the complaints are about simple things like wait times in doctor’s offices and the Emergency Room, the exec team needs to see what the public is thinking about the hospital and clinics. You are just reporting what was said.

In the meantime, respond to the discussion overall if the facts are wrong. Do it from an official account *if* the official one is accepted into the closed group. (If not, you may have to use your personal account.) The simple act of letting people know they were heard can often help diffuse the situation.

If I can be of any further help, please contact me: kris@ksaustin.com or (408) 718-8446. I have 15 years of crisis communications experience, and have seen the worst of it. I am so sorry that you’re dealing with this!

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To my knowledge, there aren’t any cases where an official Page can be accepted into a group. (If there’s a workaround to this, I’d love to hear it!)

To me, this is a major weakness of Facebook. An employee should not be forced to use his or her personal account to handle a FB crisis. This opens up the possibility that angry people will end up checking out the employee’s personal page, messaging, and sending “friend” requests in an attempt to get more access.

If there’s no other way around this, I would suggest locking down your personal profile as much as possible before wading into the group. Use a generic profile pic and cover photo – and set your profile pic so that friends only can see the comments on it. (I wish you could do this for the cover photo as well). Also, make sure that none of your old posts or profile pics are still set to “public”.

Definitely keep us posted on how this turns out!

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@ksaustin

Eunice, what you’re talking about is a crisis communications situation. I know a week has gone by, but the hospital still needs to address this–as soon as possible.

There is a decision tree created for situations like this. It’s here: http://bit.ly/2ae1Czo

I’d also strongly recommend that you create a report of the 1000 comments and send it to your manager and up the chain to the executive team. Even if the complaints are about simple things like wait times in doctor’s offices and the Emergency Room, the exec team needs to see what the public is thinking about the hospital and clinics. You are just reporting what was said.

In the meantime, respond to the discussion overall if the facts are wrong. Do it from an official account *if* the official one is accepted into the closed group. (If not, you may have to use your personal account.) The simple act of letting people know they were heard can often help diffuse the situation.

If I can be of any further help, please contact me: kris@ksaustin.com or (408) 718-8446. I have 15 years of crisis communications experience, and have seen the worst of it. I am so sorry that you’re dealing with this!

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Thanks.

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@KimberlyGDATF

To my knowledge, there aren’t any cases where an official Page can be accepted into a group. (If there’s a workaround to this, I’d love to hear it!)

To me, this is a major weakness of Facebook. An employee should not be forced to use his or her personal account to handle a FB crisis. This opens up the possibility that angry people will end up checking out the employee’s personal page, messaging, and sending “friend” requests in an attempt to get more access.

If there’s no other way around this, I would suggest locking down your personal profile as much as possible before wading into the group. Use a generic profile pic and cover photo – and set your profile pic so that friends only can see the comments on it. (I wish you could do this for the cover photo as well). Also, make sure that none of your old posts or profile pics are still set to “public”.

Definitely keep us posted on how this turns out!

Jump to this post

Agree about not using personal facebook for official hospital response… The originator had already been contacted on day one of her post. Traced group admin (couldn’t think of another way) called her and explained that the hosp had heard the grp members complaints, that the hosp takes feedback seriously and gave her contacts for them to get in touch with hospital directly. She moderated the conversation and posted the message and requested an end to the discussion. I recognise that this may not always work as it’s not easy to trace a group admin and the group admins may also not be cooperative… was more of luck if you ask me 🙁 .

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