First of all, where have I been? I haven’t blogged in several weeks, but there is a good explanation: I just finished writing my second book, and I’m really excited about it! It’s entitled Becoming Remarkable: Creating a Dental Practice That Everyone Talks About. It will first be released at CEREC 30 in Las Vegas on September 17th, and then available for purchase after that.
So, on to the topic at hand. You may find that sometimes you will post something on your practice Facebook page and a patient may have a comment you don’t appreciate, or that you find taints the positive impact of the post. What should you do? Respond? Delete it? Ignore it?
If you’ve been following me at all, you know I’m not going to recommend ignoring it. NEVER ignore a negative comment. Now, as far as deleting it, that depends on whether it’s something nasty or insulting or inappropriate in some way. If it is, then you just go to the little “x” on the right of the comment and remove it. But remember that by doing so you are inviting the person to comment again. If they do, I would just remove the post altogether.
But what if it merits a response? That’s trickier. So let me tell you a story which, by way of example, has several key lessons in it with regard to Facebook.
A dentist friend of mine wrote to me about this exact problem. First let me say that she does an amazing job of building a culture in her practice, and also does Facebook very well. She is always doing fun events for her team members, from group pedicures to mini-vacations. And she knows how to stage them as well. One day she came to work with a new Coach handbag and was making a bit of a deal about showing it off to her team. They were admiring it, but she knew that there was a bit of “I’m glad you can afford that,” as an undercurrent. She was setting them up perfectly without them knowing it.
That night there was a team dinner and as each of them showed up they were given a number. They were not aware that the number was based on seniority. She was still sporting the Coach handbag as they all sat for dinner, and there was some joking from a few of the team, like, “When will we get ours?”
“Actually,” she told them, “I’m glad you asked.” Her husband, meanwhile, who manages the practice, had set up a separate table earlier, with a tablecloth draped over something, and he stepped over and revealed a row of brand new Coach handbags.
“Those numbers that you have? You get to go up in order and pick your own bag,” my friend told them.
Of course, the crew went wild with excitement. My dentist friend made sure to document the whole experience, and then the next day she posted a photo on Facebook and explained the team reward. Herein lies the lesson.
There were many positive comments and likes on the post, but one patient felt the need to make this remark: “I think you are a good orthodontist, but it is upsetting to see your staff get Coach bags when I am struggling to pay my orthodontics bill. They work hard but so do I.”
In this person’s world, no employee should be rewarded, and discounts should be passed on to the struggling consumer. Ironically, (and typically), this person was already getting a discount and a special payment accommodation, but still felt the team was being enriched to her detriment.
The team, as you might expect, was indignant about this comment, and will no doubt not feel as warmly toward this patient on her next visit. But my friend responded perfectly, as you can see below:
How perfect is that?
The lessons here are twofold. First, respond well, and positively, and turn it to your advantage whenever you can. But this is a cautionary tale as well. How many other patients might have had this negative response but didn’t express it? I think it wise to be careful about posts where you are rewarding your team members.
A group pedicure may be fine, but something that seems expensive to the average person is best kept private. Stick to charity events, costume days and holiday celebrations with the team, and avoid flashing your success too much.
By the way, if you’re not going to CEREC 30, you’re missing out big time. This is going to be the largest and most exciting event in dentistry all year. I’m speaking there, as well as Tony Robbins and Magic Johnson, and the band Train will be playing a full concert on Friday night. Even if you don’t use CEREC, it will be a great learning experience for you and your team. There will also be an Eaglesoft track and several other learning opportunities. See you there!