Negative reviews, Yelp and your veterinary clinic

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.
May 01, 2014

Dr. Jeffrey Werber
Faced with a client who no longer wanted ownership of her dog and was opting to euthanize rather than provide the basic treatment the dog needed, Jeffrey Werber, DVM, owner of Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, and his associate devised a plan that seemed to be a win for everyone. The client agreed to sign over the rights to the animal and pay only for the euthanasia and cremation she had planned for. Instead of euthanizing the dog, Werber's team treated the dog and facilitated adoption.

Then came the Yelp review.

The client's obscenity-laced comments on on this online review platform, which covers everything from dry cleaners to cardiologists, not only painted a very different picture of the exam room experience but mentioned Werber's associate by name.

Werber was furious—not least because of the utter absence of truth in many of the comments. "They can say anything they want and you can't stop them," Werber says. After that review and countless others, Werber realized one essential thing when it comes to online reviews: perception is reality.

However, he has chosen to fight. Werber believes veterinarians can and should address negative reviews online. Even if you can't change your critic's perception, you might change the perceptions of other readers.