You come in to the clinic in the morning, ready for another full day dedicated to keeping animals healthy. But you walk in the door to the phone ringing off the hook, an overloaded inbox, an influx of negative reviews on your Yelp and Google Reviews profiles, and an overwhelming number of comments and posts to your practice’s Facebook page overnight…all because of a former client or staff member who took their complaint to social media to garner sympathy and make you the bad guy. What do you do now? How do you deal with this disaster?
It’s unfortunately becoming more common as social media and blogging empower people and function as amplifiers of personal opinion. According to a survey we conducted in fall 2014, one in five veterinarians has been the victim of a cyberattack or knew a colleague who’d been a victim. In addition, seven out of ten cyberattacks against veterinarians or veterinary practices were initiated by a former client or staff member. Cyberattacks can cause financial harm to your business, but more common consequences are stress and negative impacts on mental health – for both the veterinarian and the support staff in the practice. `
How do you protect your online reputation and prevent or mitigate attacks? It’s not as hard or time-consuming as it may seem. We’ve got new resources for AVMA members to help, including best practices, guidance for monitoring your online reputation, tips on when and how to respond to online criticism, and dealing with cyberbullies. These resources were developed with the assistance of Bernstein Crisis Management, whose staff members have more than 30 years of crisis consulting experience, and were vetted (pun intended) by AVMA members in practice.