I’ve recently become a reviewer.
I’ve never been compelled to leave a review before, until just last month.
It’s been interesting, because I do rely on reviews, and rankings, when choosing where I like to dine.
Yet I’ve never left reviews, until recently.
As you know, I do enjoy my food out.
Dining for me is about the experience.
Good food, ambience, and great service all contribute towards making that restaurant visit an experience worth remembering.
So, it was last month in London, that I decided, that I needed to “give back”, as you would.
And the reason was simple.
The reason I decided to take the plunge, as a reviewer, was because we dined at a London Pub near where we stayed that did not live up to its rating on Trip Advisor in any way, shape, or form.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I’ve had plenty of average and below average dining experiences before.
But this place was certainly punching above its weight, to coin a phrase.
Out of its league.
And I felt compelled to clarify, for others on Trip Advisor, that this Pub was indeed not some magical place….
So since then, I think I’ve left six reviews on Trip Advisor in total, so far.
And it’s been great to leave reviews of some of my favourite restaurants in New York, which I had the pleasure of dining in again. As well as some new discoveries.
So it got me thinking.
Because what inspires someone to leave a bad review?
Sure, as I’ve said, there’s a “duty”, as you would say, to inform and protect other members of the public from making the same error that I had just made.
And it’s true. For some, a night out that does not live up to their expectations may be a huge disappointment.
By leaving my review I may have saved someone who had saved up for a long time for a night out from having a poor dining experience.
And maybe they may have had a much better night out because they read my review and decided to go elsewhere.
It’s an interesting world, the world of a reviewer.
Because, now, I’m hooked.
And I feel obligated to review each and every restaurant that I now choose to eat in, from this day forth.
It’s a weird feeling.
My wife has been a Trip Advisor reviewer for years.
So much so, that her reviews get rankings.
I think she has made something like sixty or seventy reviews.
She has some clout.
And it’s weird…
You see last month, just before I left Active Dental, we received a negative review.
And when I read the review, I could see the patient’s point of view.
But I didn’t think that his experience warranted placing a review.
The patient, a young male, snappily dressed, had come seeking a consultation as to whether we could straighten his teeth with Invisalign.
And after a cone beam, and a thorough examination, it was my opinion that Invisalign would not have the power to correct his cross-bite as well as the underlying airway issues that had caused this malocclusion.
However, from the review, I was able to glean that our young male patient had sought a second opinion.
And another dentist had decided that Invisalign would in fact do the job required.
And maybe that job required was to just straighten the teeth.
I don’t know.
My point is, that our patient left unhappy that he had spent money at our Dental Office on an opinion that did not align with his expected outcomes.
And for that reason, he went public with his opinion.
Should he have contacted us, and let us know his feelings?
Had he done that, prior to posting the Google review, would we have refunded his fee?
In hindsight, it looks like we missed a great opportunity to remove a negative review that happened just because of a difference between our patient’s expectations and our “professional opinion”.
I don’t think we cooked a bad meal?
I don’t think we failed to provide a great experience?
In fact, I believe that my diagnosis was correct, and that there is no way that I could have given the patient his best medical outcome with the medium he wanted me to use.
But the wildcard is the Google Review.
Because like a tattoo of an ex-lover’s name across your chest, it’s there to stay.
For me, I’m not so fussed about this review.
It’s a misunderstanding.
And I’ve left that Dental Office, so the review stays back there, and does not carry forward to me.
But it is quite scary.
And the point is, that if you’re not one hundred and twenty percent in tune with your customers, you could pay severely, with a bad review.
In this day and age, more than ever, there are so many online review sites out there, it is so, so important to be making sure that all of your valued patients are placing their positive reviews of your office on a very, very regular basis.
In this way, by having patients place their positive reviews, you are able to dilute any negative reviews away into insignificance.
Of course, a negative review can come from poor performance.
Just like the poor performance of the London Pub.
And it can also come from a failure of aligning the outcomes of the patient’s visits with their expected outcomes.
Which is where I fell down.
In all cases, communicating with the customer is *THE* best way of reducing the risk of that imbalance occurring.
And it’s a matter of communicating well.
There have been times, when I’ve dined out in the past, when I’ve felt compelled to let the maître de know of my disappointment.
Thankfully not so many.
And there have been times when I’ve just decided not to return ever again.
It’s said that people are more likely to tell others of their bad experiences than they are of their good and great experiences.
“Bad news travels fast”.
And in this day and age, with online reviews, bad news has the ability to travel at breakneck speed.
As business owners, we need to have a plan to reduce the impact of bad reviews, when they
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