Ahh, the internet. Like many of you, I grew up in an era where most arguments were never really settled. Unless one of the arguing parties actually owned an Encyclopedia Britannica and the argument was about which bird can hover (answer: the hummingbird), most $20 bets entered a permanent state of limbo. In 2012, this is no longer true. I was recently marveling at how nearly any fact can be pulled up on the web in less than 10 seconds. (Wikipedia should be getting a cut of all the bets it’s helping to settle!)
While the power of the internet to transform our everyday lives is undeniable and largely positive, as dentists we are faced with something dentists in the “golden age of dentistry” never had to deal with. Do you remember the “golden age”? Dentistry was great back then! The golden age is loosely defined as the time period 10 years before you graduated from dental school — for me that’s 1978. Back then, all patients were independently wealthy, and they lusted after full-mouth rehabilitations. When they were happy, they said “thank you.” When they were unhappy, they told six to eight people.
Today’s patients — happy or unhappy — are increasingly internet-savvy, and with the increase in social media platforms and participants, managing these communication channels becomes necessary. We can’t please every patient, and we are going to disappoint some. Unless we learn how to manage social media, we just have to hope that the ones we disappoint are blood relatives or in-laws.
It’s inevitable that you will eventually have a bad review or two on Yelp or another social media site that doesn’t even exist today. Read my recent interview with Glenn Lombardi to find out how you can use this new form of communication to your advantage. I know the dentists back in the “golden age” didn’t have to deal with this, and you never signed up for this, but it’s here. Appoint a staff member to lead your team’s social media efforts and follow Glenn’s well-reasoned advice!