Updated: Feb 7
Working with top surgeons throughout the UK and Australasia, we‘re being told that a growing number of patients try to get free work by applying social media pressure or threatening bad reviews online.
They‘re seeking refunds, in part or in full, following procedures; some threaten bad publicity through online reviews and blog posts unless the surgeon or clinic complies.
In response, clinics now report good outcomes when YESpbm takes over handling these "complaints" on behalf of busy doctors, with our unique "No win. No fee" service.
By outsourcing these challenges, clinics report internal staff enjoy greater mental health and satisfaction in their roles. Team retention can improve and as negative reviewing or blogging online is prevented, business can continue to flourish based on real reviews and, the experiences of genuine patients.
We follow strict guidelines and don't need to get involved with confidential clinical matters. Our team is highly trained and do this every day. YESpbm are engaged to represent a particular doctor and act as a customer liaison consultant from their office.
“My team works really hard but we can't seem to please everyone, all the time”
Online Review and Reputation Management have become increasingly important and rather complicated.
Harvard recently found that "just one bad review can cost a company up to 30 customers".
Look at it this way - Our clients are specialists. So are we.
Engaging as a third-party, mediating between a clinic and an "aggrieved" patient, with an absence of emotion or agenda, helps reach a better outcome quickly and quietly.
We settle matters without added cost or stress to staff at the clinic. No-one wants to hear abuse on the phone, or read it in reviews. When our clients have someone who is unhappy, threatening, or posting bad reviews, all we need is a quick brief to take it from there.
We aim to eliminate the threat of negative reviews at source, before they're posted, which means star ratings remain intact.
Our experience with training customer service staff, litigation, social media, Online Reputation Services and review management all comes in particularly handy. It's what we do.
"I've studied for years to get where I am - do stars really matter that much?”
You may have studied but so have your colleagues and competitors.
You may even be better or more regarded within your chosen field than them. In the old days (say just 5-10 years ago), people were "referred" or found a surgeon based on personal need from traditional sources. Without the white noise of social media and reviews.
Now, seconds online and a quick look at a star rating, with the odd review, makes potential patients feel they have all they need to approach a clinic for a consultation.
We're conditioned now by very clever people running some very clever social media. You wouldn't pick a restaurant rated 3 stars for an anniversary dinner would you?
Well, most people wouldn't pick something life changing like surgery in the same way.
You also wouldn't then call the 3 star restaurant, telling them you're not coming to a dinner that they had no idea you ever wanted. Well, neither will potential patients. The fact is, you'll have no idea how many patients you're losing every month, until you fix the bad reviews by managing the process better.
We understand, more than most, these stars and reviews rarely reflect the actual quality, or professionalism of your clinic. It’s our job then to make sure they do, or at least, that your potential patients see the best possible you online.
No win. No fee.
Few people know better than us the cost of a single bad review or how easily many of them can be to avoid, with some well thought out communication and occasional compromise.
We call this "Loss Mitigation", and it's keeping us very busy.
There's no cost up front to a clinic for the extra service, we take a small percentage of any money we save the clinic as a fee.
Aside from saving your time, freeing up clinic staff, avoiding bad PR and reducing or eliminating cash refunds; we've often found patients actually posting good reviews, instead of the bad they'd threatened, as they've been handled throughout by well trained, independent customer satisfaction professionals.
In the rare event we're unsuccessful though, we take no fee. Simple.
Let us take the abuse
For us, loss mitigation comes in many forms. It can be a letter sent from our partner solicitors, or an application to a review site to have negative comments removed should they seek to "manipulate" an outcome or don't "represent the true experience" of the reviewer.
We start with a scripted customer service call to the former patient/reviewer which allows them the opportunity to talk through their feelings, independently, along with why specifically they feel they're entitled to a refund, additional surgery, or some form of compensation. We listen and we empathise.
During conversations we gently remind them they have signed extensive paperwork with many disclaimers suggesting there are no guarantees of a particular outcome regarding any form of surgery and that surgery carries a degree of risk.
We remind them of the cost to a clinic in terms of unwarranted negative publicity and bad online reviews that ultimately we could make a case they be made responsible for that financial loss. As it's extremely delicate, we do remind them that we like to avoid this and would prefer to work towards a better outcome for them.
The issue we've found isn't necessarily one of "legal" right or wrong or clinical outcomes, it is one of perception.
"What's the true cost to me of every refund request or bad online review?”
Society's now largely governed by perception, far more than reality, and you need to take this into account in the operation of your clinic and business.
Harvard Business Review has concluded that just one bad review can lose a business up to 30 customers.
This number is greatly increased when a review mentions physical pain or suffering, negative physical results from surgery, or even "rude staff" where a reviewer is in a vulnerable situation, such as a clinic visit.
The calculations are simple then in terms of a cost of a bad review to you; take the average income you achieve per patient and, multiply that by 30.
The final question then must be - what's it worth to your business to find a positive outcome from each grumpy, or manipulative patient?
To turn their "frown upside down". Or, better yet, for us to do it for you?
Get back to focusing on what matters most to you - patient care.
All the clients we've conducted this work for so far, without exception, report they're thrilled at being able to focus again on their core competencies, either managing or running a busy clinic in the case of support staff or consulting on, or performing surgery in the case of our surgeons.
Rather than having a receptionist or business manager try to defuse the situation (and often despite best attempts - get it wrong), engaging a professional shield has not only saved them time and worry but also a considerable amount of money in both direct refunds and the true cost of each negative review.
You've got a lawyer and an accountant, it's time to think about professional best online reputation and review management services.
Why not get ahead of the trend with a confidential, free conversation? Schedule a call with the author now; firstname.lastname@example.org - or directly on my Calendly diary HERE to learn more.