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Bad Press Part III- What Not To Do

  • Date: December 19, 2012
  • Author: eDentalImage
  • Comments: 0

Online review sites can be scary to most dental practices, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a representation of your office that you don’t have direct control of. On top of that, a common consensus of online reviews is that they are usually negative. People have a bad experience during their dental appointment, so they go home and get online to vent about it. On the other hand though, they usually won’t go home and write a rave review if they have a positive experience.

So what should you do about this? To start off, here’s what not to do:

– Don’t write your own reviews! It may be tempting, but never try and craft a review of your own dental practice- whether it’s one you write yourself or ask someone else to. These reviews are almost always way too positive to seem real, and Yelp has been taking these reviews down in recent years. In addition, Yelp frequently removes reviews from first-time reviewers that are very positive, in efforts to remove fraudulent posting. This ties into the understanding that no one simply posts a positive review out of the kindness of their heart.

– Don’t pay someone else to write them either! Some businesses have even been covertly paying reviewers to write positive reviews online. Yelp.com undertook their own investigation and publicly outed these businesses on their website with a new “Consumer Alert” message. This message is displayed on the page of any business that is caught paying for fake reviews for up to 9 months! Definitely not a risk you want to take.

– Don’t try to remove any and every bad review you get. Yelp does not allow businesses to take down or alter any reviews, though businesses may contact the reviewer in private. Other sites are more lenient, such as Google+. While you may like the idea that you can remove reviews on other sites besides Yelp, keep in mind that that’s precisely the reason why Yelp is so trusted by consumers. So if you want to take action against a review on Yelp, you can either contact the patient directly if you know who they are, privately message them, or comment on the review directly.

– Don’t respond too much to all bad reviews. When someone visits a review page for your practice, they’re expecting reviews from other people, not comments from the dental office itself. Try to keep your hand out of most of your Yelp reviews, unless the review is scathing and addresses very specific issues that will be easy for you to try and amend. For example, say a patient didn’t like how long they had to wait or a specific product that was used in their cleaning. This is something you can definitely address and try to improve on to better patient experience.

– Don’t respond without thinking about it first! How you deal with complaints about your practice is definitely something future patients will take to heart. It’s important to be accommodating, professional and empathetic. Immediately responding to a negative review without a well-thought out apology and proposed method of dealing with the complaint can seem like you don’t care that much about the reviewer’s bad experience, and possibly anger them even more. Claiming that a review is untrue, exaggerated, or even the work of a dubious rival does not look good to potential patient checking out your practice. It’s important to consider the impact that publicly responding to your reviews will have, not just on the one negative reviewer.

Don’t sue! At all costs! The recent climate for online reviews has also provided another option for businesses to respond to online reviews- a class action lawsuit. This is a very drastic method and it is definitely advised against at all costs. Attempting to sue over a bad review will likely hurt a business even more than one bad review, once other people learn how you deal with it. Such is the case for the recent lawsuit over a woman’s negative Yelp review of a home repair contractor- people just didn’t want to do business with someone who had a history of suing former clients. There’s always a better way to deal with problems besides taking it to court. And even in your moments of fury at what seems like the worst possible review you could get- remember that a lawsuit is a long, drawn-out process, and it costs a lot of money in and of itself. You’d be better off just dealing with the reviewer.

So what can you do to protect your reputation after a bad review? Find out in the next part of this post Bad Press Part IV- What to Do About Bad Reviews. And of course, feel free to contact eDentalImage for more information, advice and a free consultation about maintaining a great online reputation.

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