Practicing dentistry in 2011 is not like 5-10 years ago. The presence and focus of online reviews and review dedicated websites, leaves the door wide open for people to say anything they want about you or your practice to the whole word instantly.
However, when you own the dental practice, there is a fine line between the practice review and/or it being considered a personal attack on you.
Its my belief, that every time I sit down with a new patient, I know in the back of my mind a few things:
1) They probably found the office and are there due to my online reputation. (what others have said about us)
2) Online reputation can lead to higher expectations that I have to live up to.
3) If the patients higher expectations were not met, my office and myself are subject to online criticism, that the whole world can see.
If you are the consumer or patient, online reviews are a GREAT thing for you. You know that you have rights, and you know that we know that if we don’t treat you to your comfort level and/or exceed your expectations, you have the power to let the whole world know, instantly. Ultimately, this is increasing customer services levels in every arena. Yes, when I am on the the consumer side, its a beautiful thing.
Negative reviews…..for me if I get a negative review, it effects my practice dramatically. For example, on Yelp I was given a 1 star review when I was at a 5 star with a total of 4 reviews. For two months that review took my overall review rating to 3 stars. Those 2 months, my page views went from 70 a month to 20. So what do you do as a business owner? I emailed the reviewer and thanked her for her honesty. Mostly, I felt the review was a misinterpretation from the patient. Still, it was her interpretation. So the next strategy is to learn from it and to do my best daily and work to achieve good reviews to drown out the bad reviews.
I am on yelp and I review businesses. Being on both sides of reviews, I give reviews with constructive criticism and ideas to help their business. If they try to contact me about the review, that means they care and I can respect, usually giving them another chance.
What does the future of online reviews for dentist hold? Every dentist will have good reviews, its the negative ones people look at and judge just how bad of negative it is. I do believe we will see lawyers enter this realm of the internet, as some people will want revenge from “persona” attacks.
In summary, I am aware I am not going to meet everyone’s expectations and my practice philosophy will not agree with some. (I am also in a field where everyone states they hate me before I get to know them). All I can do my best to exceed peoples expectations and to treat others how I would want to be treated. (Following the Golden Rule)
My how times and things have changed..