Social/Media scrutiny is always a double edged sword for us veterinarians. It’s the 80/20 rule all over again. Most of the great people clients of ours write glowing reviews which of course we skim over then live and die over the relatively few “bad” comments which of course our version is going to be somewhat different. Should they be responded to? It’s so tempting.
I’ve seen vets go so far as to threaten legal action, right there on the site(s). Any response feels like it’s only going to fan the flames. I’ve finally resolved to not bother even reading them anymore and now I’m generally a pretty happy person. It’s interesting the path people will go to complain – you gotta tell me directly if you want any action. Most will just leave quietly and I get that.
The most recent face off in my lobby this week involved a client with a number of concerns including a “by the way” which ended with suggesting that I am no Dr Noble (the founder of the clinic who it’s named after). Ouch. And he stated that he had already made these complaints, yet I knew nothing of them until that moment. When going through the confirmed and bad things I agree we did do and the more paraphrased stuff I realized perception may be reality but hearing the account from the different people involved were quite a bit different. It makes me want to put all the parties in the same room and hash it out. But instead mea culpas were offered. We’ll see how that goes.
Which brings us to “Sophisticated Lady” who Yelped us, in the “not recommended” section but since disappeared. We’ll call him Bob (yes male) who owned a rabbit. He broke up with his veterinarian for what reason I don’t recall and traveled over 45 minutes to see us. I have come to realize those clients that complain about their previous vets I can be the hero for until they inevitably find something wrong with us. The rabbit has an abscess (infection) requiring multiple surgeries and lots of expense. Bob is what I consider high maintenance but I’m up for it. The medical challenge of his rabbits care being paramount. Both of my managers tell me they can’t deal with him – this should have been enough of a flag. But I persevere telling them to leave him to me. We have rapport, see?
And then we overcharge him, he thinks. Bob wants $27 back. Goes from being a fairly sweet talkative guy to a serious bully. Accuses us of horrible things, poor care, incompetence, malpractice, and says he will absolutely sue. And yes god forbid Yelp us unlike we have ever been Yelped before. Which of course is not the way to get me to give in. Poof goes our relationship. He goes back to his original veterinarian who simply increases the dose of medication and everything heals. Which of course I’m happy about but the fact that I don’t know how to prescribe for my patients has been confirmed.
The Yelp review was remarkable. I truly wish I had saved it for my own future entertainment. Just a rambling recitation of events painting the picture of Dr Evil and my minions with the recitation of a bill of $x including all the various items when he was expecting $x – 27 and he was suing me to get justice. (The bill was over $600, mind you) He never sued, natch. But the moniker was just special.
Another No Rec was one written by the out of state breeder of a puppy that I told my client I wasn’t sure of a health issue and we would just watch it. No big deal. The breeder calls me up to read me the riot act for questioning the puppy and his reputation by extension which I was certainly not. Then the classic Yelp review had a “$” for every “S” implying I was just out for money. I suggested no test and no return of the puppy for any clear defect. Sigh. Do I go into the Yelp wars and review him as a breeder with questionable tactics? There is not enough time in the day.