After promoting a positive practice brand for decades, it’s understandable to feel upset when a disgruntled patient makes negative comments about you. Some folks won’t like the looks of your office. Others won’t like your treatment approach. And no matter how well trained and experienced you are, this can’t always be avoided or clinically managed. Don’t look the other way if unfavorable remarks and reviews start popping up. Take action to protect your brand.
Contact Your Attorney
This is not the time to do-it-yourself: get an attorney to help you determine the best strategy to defend yourself and your practice. Your guild associations and liability companies provide resources, but don’t hesitate to retain private counsel. Many clinicians think they only need help if they’re accused of ethical violations or infractions, but this isn’t true. Patients can be dissatisfied about all kinds of things and some will tell all who’ll listen. These days, they often voice criticism in online forums. But these can morph into formal complaints to consumer protection agencies, professional organizations, and licensing boards. Whether “justified” or not, you’ll spend a lot of time, energy, and money dealing with the trouble. It’s a good idea anyway to have prompt access to legal counsel for business and practice management to address issues before they become problems, so now is a fine time to establish this relationship.
Hire A Reputation Manager
There are so many digital venues for the public to rate businesses that you could spend your whole day looking for references to your practice. Even if you use an automatic alert system that keeps you abreast of anything written about you on the web, it can be a lot to keep up with. Fortunately, there are experts to help you since handling this task has become such a challenge ― particularly for practitioners who must adhere to strict laws and rules about patient privacy and confidentiality who require special strategies for countering negative reviews. Larger practices often assign a staff member to manage the group’s social media presence full-time who also scours the Internet for any postings about its providers. Whether internal or external, your reputation manager can stay on top of comments about you in the public domain to preserve the positivity of your practice brand.
Seek Peer Consultation
Dealing with a negative review of your practice can be stressful, so reach out to colleagues for support and consultation on identifying and managing risk factors. You’re not the only one who’s been criticized by a patient. Your peers will know how you feel. And be open to feedback about possible blind spots, countertransferences, or problematic policies and procedures. This will help you reduce your risk of potential customer service troubles in the future.
Take steps to protect your practice brand. Hopefully you’ll never have to worry about your professional reputation, but take swift action if you do.
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant specializing in Success Psychology.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
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