Reputational Management

by Larry Emmott on October 27, 2014

in Internet,Social Media

If you find that you have some negative malicious reviews online what can you do? Actually it is easier to tell you what not to do.

Don’t Sue: As reported in the ADA News Dr. Yvonne Wong decided to file suit when she received a negative review on Yelp which she thought was false and unfair. The result Dr. Wong lost the suit, she has no legal recourse and to make it worse, much worse, she was ordered to pay over $80,000 in defendant’s legal fees.

Don’t Preempt: There are services that sell dentists and physicians contracts and patient forms that supposedly will prevent patients from posting negative online comments. These are of dubious legality and for at least one dentist who tried to use them it was an unmitigated disaster.Stacey Makhnevich a NY dentist has been sued by a patient for trying to enforce an agreement preventing patients from posting negative online comments. This set off a firestorm of online news and universal condemnation from the general public. None of it is good news for Dr. Makhenvich who it seems has been forced out of the profession by the bad publicity and legal complications.

Don’t Panic: As professionals our reputation is precious and we never want to see anything negative said about us. The conventional thinking is that negative comments need to be removed at all costs. On the other hand recent research indicates that a negative online review is not always bad. In the right situation it demonstrates that the reviews are legit, not just reviews from staff and family. Some negative seems to have a “blemishing effect” that actually makes the positive reviews more persuasive.

The only thing you can actually do is to overwhelm negative reviews with positive ones. However even with this tactic dentists face obstacles. For example if you appeal to your happy patients to write good reviews and several of them do some review sites choose to consider a flurry of new reviews to be somehow illegitimate and they will “filter” them out.

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