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Negative reviews, Yelp and your veterinary clinic
Many veterinarians worry about how online critics might—or are—affecting their business, but those reviews can also take an emotional toll.


DVM360 MAGAZINE


You can't make everyone happy

Werber says when he was young and scared, he learned a valuable lesson: "No matter how good you are, how nice, how caring you are, people are not going to like it," Werber says. "You can't please everybody."


Dr. Shawn Finch
Shawn Finch, DVM, an associate at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals in Omaha, Neb., agrees. She says that in veterinary medicine you can do everything right and, still, not everything goes well. "You can do a good job all the time and people can still get mad," she says.

Donato gets that. "I can't make everyone happy," he says. "I understand we're going to have negative reviews—that's OK—we'll handle those appropriately." It's the reviews he knows to be false that bother him.

Plus, Finch says, not everyone can let negative online attacks roll off their backs emotionally. "I can see how it would hurt someone even if it didn't hurt their business," she says.

Finch says many negative reviews essentially amount to cyberbullying—a word that's been used frequently in association with Koshi's suicide in New York. "Emotionally it's such a hard thing," she says. "Not every veterinarian is like this, but we do tend to be tenderhearted and easy to wound."

Finch recalls a bad review from a client who—luckily—didn't bother to remember her name. "It made me sad that they didn't think I had their best interest at heart. I won't go back and read that one," Finch says. "It upsets me."

In fact, veterinarians who worry too much about negative reviews can go down a bad spiral, she says. For that reason she quit reading them. "I do insulate myself," Finch says. "If I started it would totally depress me so I just don't."

Werber says he's built up a thick skin in his nearly 30-year career. "It doesn't bother me anymore—it used to," he says. "My clients will come in and laugh at those reviews. I have clients who will respond for me."

He hopes others will focus on the positive and learn to let it go as well. "Don't let it bug you—you can't," Werber says. "At least have the majority love you and leave it at that."


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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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