Posts Tagged ‘Yelp’

Service of Noses Out of Joint: Are Online Reviews by Patients on the Line?

Monday, September 25th, 2017

 

Photo: youtube.com

Plastic surgeon Dr. Bahman Guyoron’s patient wasn’t pleased with the job he did on her nose to “alleviate nasal congestion,” according to Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Palazzolo, and while at it, he was to cosmetically tweak her beak. So she shared her thoughts about the outcome on a range of online review sites from RealSelf, Yelp to RateMDs.com, and Dr. Guyoron sued her.

The patient said she now must sleep with a breathing aid because her nostril collapses and that her nose is wider than it was before surgery. A second surgery by the same doctor didn’t fix the problems.

Photo: earth.com

Her lawyer said “her reviews were ‘substantially true or were her opinion,’” and that they didn’t harm the doctor’s reputation.

Palazzolo explained that the doctor would have to prove they were false and that he was damaged. “If the jury deemed him a public figure, he would have to show that [the patient] knew the information was false or showed reckless disregard for the truth.”

In email correspondence with the newspaper the patient wrote that her purpose was to inform others and that she didn’t expect to face financial ruin as a result. According to lawyers who handle such cases, wrote Palazzolo, “a negative comment can diminish a doctor’s business in short order.” And because doctors’ hands are tied due to privacy laws to discuss details of procedures, to get patients to erase such reviews some opt to sue.

Photo: petwave.com

“‘Given how few defamation cases go to trial—and cases involving doctors are even more rare—any trial would be an important signpost for future litigation,’ said Sara Kropf, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., who provides legal advice to doctors regarding patient reviews.” This trial is scheduled for February.

Photo: catster.com

At first Dr. Guyoron wanted the patient to remove the reviews and pay him $700,000, which she said she didn’t have. He now wants $1.8 million.

Knowing the risk to your wallet, would you think many times before posting online a negative review about any doctor? Doctors aren’t infallible: they make mistakes as we all do. Should review sites investigate/vet patient complaints before posting them? What are other effective ways to warn other patients about a doctor you’ve found faulty?

Photo: haririlaw.com

Service of a Day Off to Relax in NYC in December, 2015

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Day off

A friend with a high stress job, kids and an active pro bono life leading an industry association took a day off to relax in New York City, a great thing to do at holiday time. The people she encountered had themselves—not her—in mind. I couldn’t decide if this was due to the difficult economy making people feel desperate or to cultural differences.

FacialHer day began with a facial. She was enjoying it and good conversation with the esthetician [the person giving her the facial], when the woman began a deep-dish sales pitch encouraging her to upgrade the procedure and buy a bunch of packages. She was feeling pressured, but was in a good mood, and as the holidays were coming, she bought some services as gifts.

window shoppingThis done she window shopped, passing a cosmetics business where a woman was handing out samples. She stopped to get one and was told if she went inside she’d get the right product for her skin. She expected the man inside to open a drawer and hand her a sample but before she knew it she was in a chair and he was applying products to her face and arm, telling her she could get a $700 package for $400. She somehow got out of this place unscathed—she’s an international traveler who does business in several continents–but it was still touch and go, the pressure almost frightening. One of the products he applied appeared to perform a miracle under her eyes, though she admitted it felt very tight on her face. When she washed it off that night, nothing had changed.

yelp logoShe sent me a link to some Yelp reviews of this place and I quote from parts of one that I shortened and edited: “The people that work here are the worst. As you approach the storefront, you’ll immediately notice that there are two to three employees standing out front wearing black and white, aggressively attempting to shove flyers and samples into passers-by’s hands. They don’t only pursue tourists. They harass everyone walking by. Today, I was harassed by one of the males.” The man made fun of the writer’s New York accent when the writer told him he wasn’t a tourist. Then the employee and two female colleagues laughed at and mocked him. He concluded: “For your own sake, do not go anywhere near this place.”

Grabbing for your moneyMy friend ended her odyssey by being treated rudely at a restaurant that offered a special lunch price until 3:30. She entered at 3:20 and was immediately told to “Hurry up!” Few of the offerings on the menu were available at the promotional price and when she asked for more fried noodles—that along with the soup were the tastiest part of the meal—the waitress said it would cost an additional $1–and didn’t bring any.

So her relaxing day turned out to be far from it. What’s happening here? The unrestrained sales aggression reminds me of uncomfortable experiences I’ve encountered in some foreign countries. Is this the new American way? Do these businesses rely on one-time sales—and not on the benefit of repeats? I love to shop but this would no longer be true if I encountered too much of this approach.

cringing customer

Service of Extras

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Smoothie 1

Morning radio talk show co-host Todd Schnitt recently shared his frustration when he was unsuccessful at persuading the server at a well known NYC juice bar chain to top off his $8 smoothie with what was left in the blender container. He noticed the container in a lineup by the sink. Its fate was to be washed after its contents were tossed. He’d taken a big sip of his drink to make room.

Len Berman, his co-host on the WOR 710 morning program and the news director, Joe Bartlett, asked Todd if he’d gotten what he’d paid for. He said, “Yes.”  So that’s it then, they concurred: They didn’t feel he should have received a bonus.

smoothie 2Executive producer Natalie Vacca agreed with Len and Joe and added that had she managed the branch, she’d have suggested that staff use the extra for samples to bring in new customers. Someone observed that at Starbucks there’s little if any leftover and that the manager at the smoothie place should better train the staff in portion control to avoid costly waste.

According to Yelp, there are no more Brigham’s luncheonettes in Boston though Wikipedia notes otherwise. In its heyday, when I lived in Boston, branches were sprinkled throughout the metro area. The restaurant’s milkshake/frappe was spectacular and it came in a large glass, served with  what was left in the metal blender container–the equivalent of almost another full glass of the ambrosia, my favorite being coffee or strawberry.

milkshake 2There are some businesses in which extras continue to happen. Waiters will surprise guests with a free dessert or after dinner drink. At The Perfect Pint, a pub at which I ate lunch quite often this summer, my friends and I received a free second glass of iced tea or Coke, something I’d not before experienced in NYC. [The food is terrific here as well.]  Last night we had dinner at Mckinney and Doyle in Pawling–delicious as always. My husband was adding the tip to the credit card receipt when the hostess came with a second one. She said, “We owe you $20–here’s the correct bill.” Turns out that wine is half price on Wednesday night. We welcomed the nice surprise!

In public relations, many provide extra services, such as a tweak of a client’s letter or other small project not covered in an agreement yet not big enough to upset a budget applecart.

Is a business wrong minded to give extras? Do customers appreciate them or take them for granted? Do you appreciate them?

Extra

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