Dentists WILL Lose Online Wars

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Patient Attraction Episode 875

When someone badmouths you or your practice online, it’s tempting to retaliate. But dentists who engage in online battles with their critics are likely to lose both current and future patients. After the break, I’ll tell about a dentist who actually sued over bad reviews, and what the review sites and others are doing about it. Stay tuned.

– Thanks for tuning in to the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’m Colin Receveur.

– In July, reported about a New York dentist who sued 5 patients over a period of 4 years for bad reviews.

– I almost couldn’t believe this when I read it.

– He not only sued – he asked for 50 thousand to 100 thousand dollars in damages!

– This is not a good idea for dentists.

– In response, Yelp, the online review site, issued an online warning about the dentist to consumers.

– Think about that: How many dental prospects will read that warning on the dentist’s Yelp page and say, “Not only no, but hell no!”

– And they’ll pick someone besides this litigious dentist to spend their money with.

– Now, this is an extreme case – fortunately – but it demonstrates the point.

– Online wars are bad for business.

– You will not win those, because even if you “win,” you lose patients.

– Your online image is a major part of your practice’s brand.

– You want to be seen as caring, concerned, expert, and accommodating.

– Flame wars will destroy that part of your image and your brand.

– And your competitors will cheerfully pounce on the pieces.

– In the previous podcast, I talked about strategies to manage unfounded and founded online complaints.

– Let’s expand on that today – maybe you shouldn’t be the one to manage your online reputation.

– It’s all too easy to take a negative review by a patient as a personal attack and want to strike back.

– I’ve seen it happen again and again, and it never ends well.

– If you can’t avoid taking criticism or complaints personally, someone else needs to deal with them.

– Because it’s all too easy to make things worse rather than better if you’re irritated or angry when you respond.

– Now, I don’t think you’d be as foolish as that New York dentist and sue your critics.

– Congress is considering legislation to make consumers immune from suit for expressing their opinions online, so it may become a moot point.

– In any event, the courts are likely to hold that online opinions are protected by the First Amendment.

– But other review sites are likely to follow Yelp’s lead and issue warnings when dentists become abusive.

– So have a predetermined strategy and a designated person to deal with your critics.

– You’ll save yourself a world of trouble.

– Tune in to our next podcast on getting social proof on your side to bolster you against critics.

– Until then, keep moving forward.