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There I am at my doctor’s office, and I ask, “How’s business?”* He says he’d like to improve customer visits and sales per visit. He gets a lot of calls, but not all are great prospects. There’s a lot of upside potential.
I tell him, “That’s interesting, and maybe not surprising. I noticed your Yelp reviews weren’t all good. In fact, I almost didn’t come in originally, because your average rating is fairly low.”
His demeanor changes. He’s agitated and angered. “Yeah, some of those people aren’t even patients. They hide the good reviews. You can go search for them, but Yelp promotes bad ones as much as good ones. Then their sales people say they can influence the order if I subscribe. It’s extortion.”
I tell him there’s a way to manage his Yelp reputation so there’s a more balanced story about him online. Leaving it unmanaged lets the reviewers have the last word.
Now isn’t the time to go into detail. We finish our appointment. Later I send him a detailed review of his online reputation, including several things he can do to present a more uniform and unified brand image that’s consistent with his business goals and technical skills.
Several months go by, and he contacts me. He asks for more information about how to manage his Yelp information. I send him very specific guidance. It’s important to respond properly to online hecklers, to offer a balanced and fair perspective without reinforcing the negative messaging they’ve left. Medical practitioners have to do it while staying within HIPAA rules.
When we spoke a few months later, he thanked me. He’d seen a 25% increase in inbound calls and appointments, and they were higher quality leads that resulted in more appointments and sales. Overall, his sales were up about 25%.
Consider And Act
- What would you do with 25% more leads and sales?
- Have you assessed your online reputation?
- Are you willing to do the work to improve your reputation and increase your sales?
- Where’s your incentive to do so?
- How far outside your comfort zone are you willing to go to make a difference in this area?
- Who is rewarded and who is hurt by taking no action?
- What are the costs of making a difference in this area?
- Are you ready for a breakthrough in this area, or is status quo good enough?
- What’s the safe choice, and what are the risks, and for whom?
- What values are reflected in the status quo, and what values would be reflected in the case of a breakthrough?
- Live your values.
*While I’ve placed conversations in quotes, they’re not exact quotes of the conversations. They are representative of the spirit and content of the conversations, as I recall them.
Also published on Medium.