Dentists Feel Online Reviews Are Extortion to Defend Reputation

Dentists Feel Online Reviews Are Extortion to Defend ReputationNegative online reviews have made headlines in the past few weeks with patients suing doctors and doctors suing Google.

It’s a hot topic among dentists who feel they have little recourse when an unflattering review is posted on sites like Yelp or DoctorBase.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have experienced a negative online review.

66% of the dentist respondents answered yes to receiving a negative review with half of those experiencing a bad review more than once.

34% said they have not yet received a negative online review.

Here’s what dentists had to say about negative online reviews —

“It has become extortion to defend your reputation on line. It is too easy for your competitors to place negative postings about you.” (California dentist)

“I think this can be very detrimental to a practice.” (North Carolina dentist)

“They should not be anonymous. It wouldn’t take much for me to post negative reviews of my colleagues either representing myself as a patient, and I don’t know whether or not they have done such a thing. A completely anonymous person could completely irreparably ruin someones career with a negative post quite easily. People are extremely upset, impatient and oftentimes unrealistic these days so it could be very easy to unintentionally “tick someone off” while attempting to do the best for them. I anesthetized a gentleman yesterday who was in a great deal of pain so he could hear and understand that I could not extract his badly impacted wisdom tooth. After carefully explaining it to him after he visibly felt better, he asked “can’t you just yank it out?” This happens quite often, so if someone is going to post something negative they should put on their big boy pants and own up to it. Apparently I have someone floating around out there faceless that I will never be able to engage in any kind of problem solving.” (Florida dentist)

“I simply do not see how first amendment rights trump was is obviously extortion via slander. That is why we have small claims courts. If someone wants their money back for what was perceived as poor service, utilize the justice system. These online review websites allow the individual to be judge, jury, and executioner without fear of rebuke. Why someone would want to intentionally harm a doctor and “put them out of business” is beyond me. You think it is funny or unfortunate until it happens to you. I never in a million years would have thought being moral, ethical and always doing the right thing would bring me 2 negative reviews: one of them for telling the patient the truth and returning her money. There needs to be legislation against this. We need to act as a profession before the profession is completely destroyed.” (Suburban orthodontist)

“They are nothing more then gossips, and should be treated a such. The loyal patients, the ‘Last of the Mohicans,’ would never compromise the good name of their doctor.” (Illinois dentist)

“It’s BS because you can’t argue your case without revealing confidential patient information.” (Georgia dentist)

YELP seems to play favorites with businesses. They called me to see if I wanted to advertise. After saying no, 10 of the 12 reviews were hidden from the public. Coincidental? You decide. All 10 of these reviews were 4 and 5 stars (out of 5).” (California dentist)

“I have new patients sign a paper that they need your permission to write anything about you.” (General dentist)

“I do not like them because it is very hard to rebuke.” (Florida dentist)

“There should be some way to control this. Patients can easily post a negative review simply because you take them to collections.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“They’re a bugger and they can’t be removed…only buried…that costs $$.” (General dentist)

“I think we should be able to see who it was who gave us the negative review and have an option to deal with the situation and have the review removed.” (Utah dentist)

“I am not too concerned by an occasional bad contact. I try to make it an opportunity to get people to call or come into the office.” (Texas dentist)

“I hate the anonymity!” (Urban orthodontist)

We also asked dentists if they answered yes to receiving a negative online review, how they handled the situation. Here’s what they said —

“I replied to it, but so far it has not be removed.” (General dentist)

“I posted a very positive response. However, I found out recently there are HIPAA issues I did not even think about in the response that I could be sued for.” (Suburban orthodontist)

“The site it appeared on allowed you to write a rebuttal. I invited people concerned by what they read to call or come by the office to discuss their concerns, meet the office team and tour the facility.” (Texas dentist)

“I added explanation to it.” (California dentist)

“I responded to patient’s review online. Patient responded and 1 star was upgraded to 3 stars. I refunded money on dissatisfied service.” (California dentist)

“I just got it. I have not yet responded. She only visited my office two times and gave me all A’s initially, but changed them 10 months later for no reason that I am aware of. Got some recommendations?” (Florida dentist)

“I didn’t know about until about 8 months later so decided to ignore it at that point.” (General dentist)

“I consulted with an attorney and wanted to claim a defamation of character lawsuit. My attorney advised me that it was not worth the effort to fight. The negative postings were on Yelp. There were two negative “Yelps” posted by two different persons, but it is fairly obvious that it is the same person posting the negative Yelp. In the end, I am doing nothing against these two negative Yelps.” (California dentist)

“I responded to the review. The person sent me an email saying a filling had fallen out — one that was done 3 months earlier at another DDS. I was out of town. Apparently this person expected me to be there for them. Not even a patient of record? (California dentist)

“I’ve ignored it. The review was so obviously not about me but a different dentist instead. I did write to the website requesting it be removed but did not receive a response. Instead I asked people to post favorable reviews about me to balance it out.” (New York dentist)

“We asked our best patients to go in and review us which sent that one bad review to the bottom of the list.” (Utah dentist)

“It was false and posted on Yelp. I called and requested it be removed. I even threatened legal action but to no avail. (General dentist)

What are your thoughts on negative online reviews? How would you handle them?

Dental Marketing Survey: Does The Phone Book Still Bring In New Patients?

Dental marketing with the phone bookIn our most recent dental marketing survey, only 25% of respondents are still getting patients from the phone book, and just 13% are using a display ad.

Three-quarters of our dentist survey participants are getting either very few or no phone book patients at all.

When we asked this same question a year ago, although the trend was clear, it’s interesting to see how much and how fast dental marketing has changed.

One year ago, 39% of our dentists were getting patients from the phone book, and 57% were using display ads; 61% said they were getting few to no patients.

An Ohio prosthodontist speaks for the 75% majority in our digital society:
Phone book? What’s a phone book? Since most people don’t know what one is, we don’t bother advertising in it. It doesn’t make sense anymore…Don’t waste your money!”

Our survey also revealed that 88% of our dentists are getting new patients from dental websites.

And 50% are getting mobile marketing results from patients using their smart phones.

Clearly, the internet and mobile devices have virtually replaced phone books as far as consumer search resources are concerned.

But before tossing out the phone book entirely, an Illinois dentist reminded us that it’s important to know your market’s demographics.

“The phone book brings in a lot of older adults. Patients usually call for extraction or dentures but often end up with implants, perio and bridgework. These are patients who don’t cruise the web but call when they are ready for care.”

Older Baby Boomers and their seniors may not be digitally savvy, but they still need dental care. If they’re part of your market, the phone book may still be a viable channel for your dental practice marketing.

Are phone book patients part of your target market?

Dentists: Do You Offer Laughing Gas? (video)

laughing gas survey videoNitrous oxide sedation at the dentist office is no longer the mainstay it once was, but laughing gas is still around. The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they still offer laughing gas.

We received a variety of responses from dentists.

A Texas dentist replied, “Nitrous should be available in all offices. This is just good customer service. It is not the dentist’s decision whether or not a patient needs it. All patients should be asked if they would like it. Charge a reasonable fee and it is money in the bank!”

A Washington dentist disagreed, “I think it’s nuts to use nitrous…the dentist and staff are breathing it (which has been shown to cause miscarriages and neurological problems, along with who wants a “high” dentist), it’s takes tons of time to set up, and it’s expensive!”

We found that specialists are significantly more likely than general dentists to offer conscious sedation. Since specialists often perform more intensive procedures than general dentists, they may have need for more sedation dentistry options.

To hear more of what dentists had to say about nitrous oxide, please click play and watch the following dental survey video

Do you still offer nitrous oxide? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Would you like to take part in our dental marketing surveys? Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter in the right sidebar of this blog.

Our survey question newsletter is emailed each Friday.

Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam

Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam
What is the best dental practice management policy on length of a new patient exam?

51% schedule a minimum of 40 minutes for comprehensive dental exams, this survey found.

Only 27% of dentists said they perform comprehensive exams in less than 30 minutes.

“Actually, I schedule an hour and sometimes it takes longer The compete exam is THE single greatest internal dental marketing technique,” offered one dentist, a subtle comment for comprehensive exams being a part of an overall dental marketing plan.

Here’s how dentists responded to this survey asking what length of time they schedule for an initial comprehensive exam:

  • 4% 10 minutes.
  • 10% 15 minutes.
  • 10% 20 minutes.
  • 3% 25 minutes.
  • 22% 30 minutes
  • 51% 40+ minutes.

Here are some further comments on scheduling comprehensive exams from dentists:

It should be one hour …

“One hour. It’s COMPREHENSIVE. That cannot be done in less than 45 minutes. It means you are looking at radiographs, perio probing, restorative, occlusion, TMJ, health history, and oral cancer exam. I defy anyone who says that a “comprehensive” exam can be done any faster.” (Georgia dentist)

“For new patients, an hour max, but if I only give them 20 minutes of my time, I don’t get the case as often.” (Illinois dentist)

“Really should schedule 50 or 60 minutes on adults.” (General dentist)

“We schedule one hour initial exam for perio charting, radiographs, photos, models, charting restoration, and for getting to know the patient.” (Michigan dentist)

“We schedule an hour, but sometimes it takes even longer.” (California dentist)

It should be more than an hour …

“We schedule 1 1/2 hours for initial medical history gathering, interview, complimentary Velscope cancer screening, necessary x-rays and comprehensive exam. NO cleaning at this appointment.” (Minnesota dentist)

“I actually spend and hour and a half for each new patient examination. Not one gets into hygiene without a NP exam.” (Washington dentist)

“My first appointment is 1.5 hours in length with a pre-paid reservation fee.” (California dentist)

“My patient is scheduled for 2 hours. In that time we take photos, x-rays, models and intra-oral images as well as the full exam, interview and charting with the doctor.” (New Jersey dentist)

“We schedule 90 minutes. 45 minutes for the exam and 45 minutes for records.” (Florida dentist)

Note: Survey sample included 100 respondents.

Dental Practice Management: Would You Hire Staff With Facial Piercings?

What's your dental management policy on oral piercings?These days, facial and oral piercings are commonly accepted among many young people in North America. Does this kind of personal adornment represent a dental management dilemma when it comes to hiring good associates, hygienists and front desk personnel?

The Wealthy Dentist wanted to know, so we asked this survey question:

Do any members of your dental team have facial piercings?

A 79% majority of dentists responding to our survey answered No, definitely not!

Some dentists responded based on health and personal preference:

“It’s enough to have piercings on ears – the face, lip, mouth are really stretching it, both from a visual standpoint and a health perspective (oral piercings have been shown to damage teeth and supporting tissues).” New Hampshire dentist

“UGLY! Especially the damage and infections caused.” General dentist

“I put up with tattoos. That’s enough!” District of Columbia dentist

Some dentists look at it from a business standpoint:

“Not the professional image I want to project.” Illinois dentist

“I do not believe it represents my practice. Save it for tatoo shop or Barnes and Noble. Attire and dress code is outlined in manual.” Illinois dentist

Despite these observations, 21% of our respondents said they had a team member with a pierced nose, tongue, lip or tongue. (Nobody reported pierced eyebrows on their staff members — but that’s a possibility, too.)

It’s cultural so I don’t mind,” answered a Sri Lankan dental implantologist who has a team member with a a pierced nose. “But definitely not any other piercing,” he added.

“Depends on the size of the jewelry. Tasteful facial piercings are acceptable. Oral piercings are acceptable for employees as far as hiring them, but we do not recommend for dental reasons.” California dentist

Another dentist, who reports staff having tongue and lip piercings, handles it in a very conservative manner: “My staff is NOT entitled to wear their piercings while they are on the clock.”

Here are the takeaways from our dentist survey:

  • You’re entitled to set your own dental practice management policy about facial piercings, but it pays to be aware of what’s culturally acceptable in your market.
  • When it comes to hiring, you also have the option to ask potential candidates to remove the jewelry while at work. That way, you don’t have to exclude someone who might otherwise be a stellar addition to your dental team!

Do you see any facial or oral piercings in your dental team’s future?

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