If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve seen some high-profile public relations nightmares unfold. And while your dental practice may not get the attention a major airline does, you still need a plan to deal with crises when they inevitably happen.
In this new age of social media, the public relations industry has had to make some serious adaptations. These days, scandals don’t simply fade — they’re recirculated on the internet through tweets, videos, memes, negative reviews and more, sometimes for weeks on end.
All business owners should take note because bad customer service is one of the things that people are most vocal about on the social media. In fact, a study reported that 95 percent of people who have had a bad experience with a business said they told someone about it.
If it hasn’t happened already, eventually your dental team will have to deal with a dissatisfied patient. Even if it’s just a minor issue or misunderstanding, failing to remedy the situation and restore the relationship will most likely have negative consequences for your practice.
An effective crisis management plan isn’t just about putting out fires, it’s about preventing them. Monitor what patients are saying about your practice online and in reviews, and act quickly to resolve concerns. Regularly ask for feedback in your practice and through social media. In crisis communication, tone matters. Train your team to demonstrate empathy, transparency, and a willingness to make things right.
We strongly recommend that dental teams read our blog post, “How to Handle Negative Reviews,” and apply the principles to their crisis management plans. Being proactive will help you build your reputation where it matters most, and address patient complaints before they write a negative review about you.
For one reason or another, eventually you’re going to have patients unhappy with you. Having a crisis plan in place will help you preserve the relationship — before the goodwill you’ve built in person and online erodes and they go to your competitors.
About the Author
Jackson Hadley is a marketing strategist with My Social Practice, which provides a complete social media marketing solution for dental, orthodontic and optometric practices. A public relations specialist, Jackson combines the advertising and trust-building aspects of social media to help businesses connect authentically with their communities.