As more and more dentists are become aware, their patients, and some non-patients, are writing critical reviews about them online. They do it on Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, Dr. Oogle, and of course, Google. But, unlike most of the reviews that they write about other businesses and products, they are not really reviewing the actual service you provide, i.e., dentistry. They are writing about the experience of being in your practice.
You will not see reviews that say, “This dentist’s margins are horrible!” or, “My anterior veneers were three shades off!” That’s not what they comment on. They write things like, “Worst experience of my life!” “The entire office is full of fake, pretentious women,” “The hygienist was a terrible b*tch who had bad breath!” [those are actual reviews, by the way] Even on the positive side, they will say, “The office was very efficient and organized,” or “Everyone was so friendly.” Where’s the clinical commentary? Non-existent.
Because of this exact point, EVERYONE in the office has to be conscious of what they say, how they behave, and how they interact with the patient, from the first phone call to the farewell at the end of the visit. It is more important than ever, because now when someone has a complaint, it doesn’t just go to one person. It goes to the entire planet, and is searchable, and lives forever. (I discuss this new reality and what you can do about it more in a previous post.) Your reputation is now something that is building and expanding upon itself in ways unimaginable even five years ago.
It’s still important to have good clinical skills, and you should always be honing those. And it’s important to update and advance your technology consistently. But it’s also important to put some attention on the environment you deliver dentistry in, and the experience you create. Take reviews to heart, and solicit them when you can. Use digital surveys like we offer with Patient Activator.
And learn from those reviews. Wouldn’t you like to know why patients aren’t coming back? Now you can find out. If several people think you overcharge, maybe you’re not explaining their treatment needs clearly before you talk about the cost. If everyone hates a certain hygienist, who is always nice to you (because you’re her boss), you should probably be aware of that fact. If they think your office seems out-dated, or unpleasant or unsanitary in any way, this is critical feedback that they most likely wouldn’t tell you directly. But they won’t be back.
Feedback is good. Sometimes it’s painful, but it’s better than ignoring it, or being ignorant of it. When I’m doing public speaking, I enjoy the praise I get from the participants, but when I really learn something is when someone gives me criticism like, “That rhino video was really inappropriate.” (I’ll probably keep showing it, but at least I’ll know why some people are wincing.) So, embrace criticism. And make sure everyone on your dental team knows that they contribute to the practice’s reputation, and behaves accordingly.