Patients Don’t Write Clinical Online Reviews

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.

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5 thoughts on “Patients Don’t Write Clinical Online Reviews

  1. Hi Fred,
    I love your blog, so much useful information, thanks for doing it! I used to copy each one of your blogs and save it in a folder on my computer to re-read and refer back to later. With your new platform I am unable to do this. Your last blog, “Listen to the Question” appeared in its entirety within my email, so I was able to copy and save it, but this one was different. I had to click the link to read the blog in full, and there is no way to copy and save the text. I really miss this feature, as well as the archive of past blogs that was visible at your previous blog platform. Just wanted to let you know and see if you know of any workarounds. That and say thank you for your blog and your book-our practice is getting a lot out of each of them! Best regards, Kim

  2. Hi again Fred,
    I just checked again, and I’m still not able to highlight and copy the articles. Any news if this will become available? Thanks so much for looking in to this! – Kim

    • Hi Kim,
      Try it now. I had tried to set it so that the pictures couldn’t be copied, but it makes it so the whole thing can’t be copied. So for now I’m shutting off that plug-in, and you can copy text.
      Fred

  3. Hi Fred,
    It worked! Thank you so much. I’ve copied the ones I missed recently. I like to go back and re-read them. Thanks again.
    Have a great day!
    Kim

I welcome your comments--don't pull any punches!