In working with a number of professional services companies from personal injury lawyers to dentists and veterinarians, we’ve been afforded insight into some of the pitfalls of reviews and ratings and some of the challenges around managing them.
Specifically, negative reviews.
When it comes to professional services, reviews and ratings are not always your best friend for a couple of very logical reasons. When it comes to a dentist, a veterinarian or a tax consultant the results that warrant a review are binary; either very good or very bad. And for dentists and veterinarians, very often, the accompanying expense is unplanned and hits the pocket book hard, stacking the odds against from the outset. The fact that you need a root canal is not, in fact, the dentist’s fault. (Couple that with the typical fear of going to the dentist and the outcome almost begs a bed review.) Similarly, the sad news about Fido’s lethargy is not the fault of your veterinarian. But shooting the messenger has always been an inappropriate but self-justified and immediate response.
Interestingly enough, if you search for professional reviews in both the US and Canada, you might be surprised to find that for a typical practice in either country, the reviews and ratings are about the same.
Net net, bad outcomes yield bad news which in turn invites a bad review. Professional services companies can help mitigate that risk in two ways:
DO NOT scattershot a review request with your bundled service provider. (It may, in fact, be against your association bylaws.)
Secondly, ensure, in every insistence, you are pre-quoting your work before commencing any patient contact.
The reality is no matter what you do, you run the risk of a bad review and according to the “big” reviews and ratings sites the party line is typically little more than “life’s a little bit like that”.
However, there are reviews and ratings that cross the line into slander. Both Google and Yelp have “inappropriate” flags that business owners can denote in trying to have a bad review removed. However, it is also at their discretion, not the business owners and what an owner may view as bad may not be viewed that way by the big G or their corporate counterparts.
Be prepared to prove the negative review is unjust and ensure you are reviewing your own reviews and ratings on a regular basis.
This post mentioned personal injury lawyers off the top and you’d be surprised to find out how often an unhappy dental experience yields more than just a bad review.
Have a good one.