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Defend Yourself Against Bad Reviews

December 3, 2014

Filed under: Business of Dentistry — Tags: , , , — Barry @ 10:51 PM

negative+reviewYou have to have a strong stomach to check yourself out on Yelp or some of the other review sites that have become so popular in this digital age.  I recently visited a few sites to see what people were saying about me…and boy, was I surprised.

Now I will say that I have a massive number of positive reviews gathered through the years but sitting right on top were two very stinging reviews…that made me quiver when I read them.  Who knew?

In defense of one, it was written by a dentist/patient who had become a real pain in the you-know-what.  I knew him from my gym and he came in as a patient.  He constantly told me how to do my job until I got sick and tired of him.  His response: to write a scathing review on a few online sites.  My initial response was to ignore.

The second review stung a bit more because it was by a patient who I had made complete dentures for, over one year ago.  She said I was a nice enough guy, but the teeth were terrible and now she goes around toothless, because I didn’t know what I was doing.  I remember her as a polite woman who rarely came in for adjustments.  Then I find out how she really felt.

I scrolled down to see if there were others.  Sure enough I found various words like insensitive, expensive and even dictatorial.

All of these were buried in a sea of really good reviews.

So how should I feel?  There is an old saying:

One thousand compliments = 1 insult.

I love Paul Simon, and when I read the reviews I kept hearing his tune, Something So Right, in my head:

When something goes wrong
I’m the first to admit it
I’m the first to admit it
But the last one to know
When something goes right
Oh, it’s likely to lose me
It’s apt to confuse me
It’s such an unusual sight
Oh, I can’t, I can’t get used to something so right
Something so right

In other words having a “negative bias” is just one of the flaws of being human.  Is this the plight of so many dentists?  Or how about other small business owners like barbers and restaurant owners?

Should we care about this online nonsense?  Many small business owners say they ignore it…but they shouldn’t, because in today’s world 80% of people base their buying decisions on reviews.

Taking a positive spin on bad reviews can actually help your business.

Bill Tancer, author of the book, Everyone’s a Critic, advises small business owners to chill out because “bad reviews will happen.”  Don’t we all get suspicious these days when there are 100% positive reviews?  A bad review, here and there, can actually add credibility.  Even best selling authors like John Grisham get bad reviews, and hey, not everyone loved The Godfather.

Another point Tancer makes is that sometimes the bad reviews force you to take a look in the mirror.  Sometimes the criticism is valid, and if you use the review as data then that’s a first step in improving your business.  Sometimes you have to pay exorbitant consulting fees to find out what our angry patients are willing to tell us for free.

Reviews, good and bad are not going to go away.  The future will be more rather than less dependency on reviews and review sites.  Hopefully, as the Internet evolves there will be more fairness in terms of “bilateral reviews,” a place where the business owner can respond without sounding like sour grapes.

Until then, it’s all about freedom of speech.  Reviews can’t be suppressed.  We can drive positive reviews as many of us do, and I feel that is our best strategy at the moment.

One last little story.  I was reading my reviews and found one from a temporary dental assistant.  She obviously didn’t like me, and she used the review site to tell the world what a jerk I was.  I have no idea who she was…I remembered none of it.  Either I was having a bad day or the agency sent me a real loser (I know most dentists will guess the latter).  Anyway, I called the agency and told them that if they didn’t put a stop to that method of feedback I wouldn’t use them anymore…the owner immediately went to the site and wrote the nicest review for me that contraindicated the one written by the miffed assistant.

There are things we can do…we too have freedom of speech

 

How to Structure a “Deal” for Social Commerce Websites

July 17, 2011

Filed under: Article,Marketing — Tags: , — Barry @ 9:54 PM

“Deals” are the current trend and they won’t be leaving us soon. 

Make sure your deal is Win-Win-Win


There is a growing sub-category of social media known as social commerce. The group is dominated by the popular buying sites, Groupon and Living Social which promote daily deals in specific cities through e-mails and social network.

Most of the deals are very appealing…even sexy. I read where they actually employ comedy writers to write the copy for the ads. I have bought some very good deals myself…like 5 Yoga classes, a car wash with detailing, and numerous meal deals.

Let me tell you about one…a charming little restaurant in my town that is known for good food. I bought the deal which entitled my wife and I to two fixed price meals for half price. Normally the meals cost $80 but we paid $40.

We arrived to an unreasonably crowded restaurant, and as instructed by the deal, revealed our coupon at the start.

Everything went downhill from there. The place was being served by one waitress, who was the owner, helped out by a busboy. Totally understaffed. My first thought was to feel bad for them until I realized that I was being treated like a second-class customer. I could feel the chill in the air.

The courses were served in an arrhythmic fashion but actually were pretty good…but the service and the cold shoulders ruined the experience. The waitress actually threw the check down at the end of the meal…I didn’t know how to interpret this behavior until I went home.

I definitely left angry…and you know what they say about angry customers…they will tell 25 people.

At home I immediately checked out this particular Living Social deal. They had sold over 550 of them. They had to be fulfilled in 4 months. My bill that night was $8.50, not including the $40 that I prepaid…it was for coffee and taxes.

I did the math. Five hundred and fifty quality 4 course meals served by an overworked waitstaff over 4 months for $20 per meal (the social commerce group gets 50% of the deal), is a formula for disaster. No wonder we got the cold shoulder.

Old Model New Tools

The model that these social commerce websites are using has been around for many years. It is known as “buy first then sell.” For example, say you had a group of customers that you knew were in the market for certain products or services, and say you had a place to procure (good word) these products or services at a very cheap price…and you sell them fairly cheaper than the marketplace…in other words you could make a deal. That concept has been around since the dawn of man.

You would be in a pretty good position if you had the customers, or could buy the goods at great prices, or both.

Okay…what’s this got to do with dentists?

Well, insurance companies, HMOs and PPOs having been making these deals for years. Now with the new tools of social media we have new players in the game.
Actually people who “fence” stolen goods could be considered using this model. Think about it. I know that poor waitress entered into the deal with her own free will…but it was pretty seductive to get all those new patients…er, customers.

I Want to Be Honest With You

I ran a Living Social deal. (more…)