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The cost of bad review

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2020 by Craig Harwood


How much can a bad reviews cost your business?


Lawyer Gordon Cheng (source facebook)

The following excerpt from an ABC news article (see link to the full story below) highlights the cost of bad reviews to a business. In this case the ruling was the review was defamatory, mainly because it appears the person was never actually a client in the first place.

It highlights the value of reviews and importance of having a reputation management system in place, because conversely while bad reviews cost you money, good reviews make you money. If your not in the Google 3 pack with more positive reviews than your competitors talk to us about how to simply and easily achieve that.    

Adelaide lawyer Gordon Cheng wins $750,000 defamation judgment over bad Google review

An Adelaide lawyer has won a $750,000 defamation payout against a woman who gave his firm a bad review on Google.


Key points:

  • Isabel Lok wrote a bad online review about Adelaide lawyer Gordon Cheng's firm
  • Mr Cheng said he lost 80 per cent of his clients and $631,000 in income
  • A judge ordered Ms Lok pay him $750,000 in damages

The woman, Isabel Lok, was never a client of barrister Gordon Cheng, according to his evidence in the South Australian Supreme Court.

But she posted a one-star rating of his business on Google in October 2018 in English and Chinese, along with an extensive negative review.

Mr Cheng, 66, was born in Hong Kong and most of his clients come from Adelaide's Chinese community, or from China and Hong Kong, the court heard.

He told the court he lost about 80 per cent of his clients between the bad review and when a former client made him aware of it in February 2019.

He said the post caused him "significant distress, anxiety and financial hardship".

In March 2019 he issued a concerns notice to Ms Lok and made a complaint to Google.

Rather than deleting the review, the court heard Ms Lok changed her name on the review to Bel, then Cindy and finally Peter, the name of her father, who owns a restaurant in Adelaide's Chinatown. He denied any connection with the review, according to Mr Cheng.


See the full story at



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AHPRA and Facebook Reviews

Posted on Monday, May 13, 2019 by Craig Harwood

It's well known that ratings and reviews are an an extremely important factor in attracting new patients. In fact studies show over 70% of dental patients say ratings and reviews influence their choice of dentist. 

The problem with Facebook is that, until now, you have had little control over the reviews that patients post on your Facebook page. If a patient posts a review that crosses the line into being a testimonial then AHPRA requires that you remove the entire review tab from your page. There is now a solution for this. 


If you would like for information on how to implement this for your practice simply contact us on 1300 453 375 

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Google My Business

Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 by Craig Harwood

Make your practice the logical choice for new patients in your local area

With this comprehensive guide you or your practice manager can master Google My Business listings, along with Ratings and Reviews to make your practice the logical choice for potential patients to choose when looking for a new practice in your area. 

Over 90% of consumers use ratings and reviews online and over 70% of dental patients say that ratings and reviews influenced with choice of dentist (american dental association). 

With this guide and little help for our team and some really simple software you can be come the preferred practice in your area. Simply download now and work through the step by step process of optimising your GMB listing. 

As a bonus you also receive a free Q&A session with one of our experts and 5 day no cost proof of concept trial of the review software.

Click on the image to download the report 


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The marketing budget

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by Craig Harwood


So this can be like a piece of string - how much you should invest in marketing depends entirely on what you want to achieve. 

First we would look at what stage of businesses your in ie



  1. A new business in growth stage
  2. A mature business expanding
  3. Or maintaining a relatively small growth 

Notice there is really no stage that a business should not be investing in marketing to gain some growth - you are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. Even a mature business needs to keep ahead of natural patient attrition and grow enough to cover rising operating costs and inflation.

The next step is pull out that monthly profit and loss statement from your accountant or book keeper and your budget vs actual reports. aargh I hear you say, "we only do that once a year".  The bottom line is when a client is working with our coaching team we look at those figures every month, so let's get started. 

Your marketing costs are just like any other cost in the business such as electricity, rent, equipment leasing etc. and need to be budgeted for and included in the cost of your production, however with a twist. Your marketing expense operates in reverse to most other expenses. in order to increase your profitability you want to consider increasing this expense rather than decreasing it. 

Marketing is the fuel for business growth and when you understand the dynamics of how much marketing spend it takes to achieve a new patient then it becomes so much easier to dial up your marketing to the correct level for the number of patients you want to achieve. 

So for instance a new business is going to spend a much higher proportion of their turnover in the first few months because the marketing expense precedes the sale. Over the first year however it's likely to come back to around 18% - 20% of turnover.  A mature growing business is likely to spend in the vicinity of 8% - 10% of turnover and while a mainating business is still going to need to spend 3 - 5 % of turnover just to keep pace with attrition and rising costs.       

The next question then becomes, so I know how much I'm going to spend, so exactly how and where should I spend it to gain the greatest benefit. We'll cover that next time.  

Stay tuned for our up coming webinar on patient profitability and understanding your marketing mix. 



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Being Found On Google

Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 by Craig Harwood

Family Focus Dental in Wentworthville is a well established dental practice.

The owners were concerned as to why the practice was not appearing on the Google search results. After a few weeks of TLC with the listing and careful updating and page engagement the listing now appears in the top 3 under the map for Dentist Wentworthville.

Over the coming weeks the focus will be on reviews and gaining the start rating for the practice.

If your practice is not appearing on the search results there is reason why. Usually with a little time, careful attention to Google's requirements we can correct the errors that are preventing the lisiitng from showing correctly. 


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The Preferred Dentist

Posted on Friday, October 14, 2016 by Craig Harwood

Congratulations to the team at Gold Coast Dental Studio

Since working with us to implement a Reputation Marketing Program Natasha and her team have seen a great turnaround in their online reputation. 

From a point of having no reviews when we first looked at the results in Nerang Qld in an earlier blog post, the team was prompted to talk to us when they received a negative review. Often receiving a negative review on Google or a review site can be the reason practice managers or owners contact us. Ideally you should be proactive and not wait until there is a negative review as there are significant benefits in the number of new patients attracted to practices with a positive reputation.

Gold Coast Dental Studio has gone from having a negative online reputation to being the practice of choice based on patient reviews and ratings in just a couple of months by implementing Reputation marketing Program

Before Implementing the Reputation Marketing Program

After Implementing the Reputation Marketing Program  

Gold Coast Dental Studio is now the practice of choice in Nerang as determined by patient ratings and reviews.

But it doesn't stop there - when prospective patients (and remember the people who are searching for a dentist in your area are doing this know they need to visit a dentist and they are ready to make an appointment) click on the Google listing they are given the full contact details and the detailed reviews from previous patients. There is no better marketing than this.


For information on how you can implement an AHPRA compliant Reputation Marketing Program just contact us for a free no obligation demonstration of our simple system.  

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Do you need to be online?

Posted on Monday, August 01, 2016 by Craig Harwood

Today's patients are more connected than ever. From researching their symptoms (unfortunately DR Google is something we now have to deal with) to reading reviews about your practice, most of the interactions happen online, before they even walk through your door. So instead of letting other people tell your story, it's important to reach out and be on the front foot. By actively address concerns and interacting with patients you can develop a significantly better patient experience  

Online made easy

Promoting your practice online should not be a complicated project. Instead, with some careful planning and the help of marketing experts you can develop a Marketing Action Plan to develop and manage your entire online presence in a systematic and efficient way.  
Our sites come complete with administration sections that let you seamlessly manage your online presence and of course our staff are there to assist when needed, or to manage the entire process for you. 

E-mailing made easy

Ever wondered how you can reach out to all those potential customers? Our sites come complete with newsletter systems and templates to help you reach people easier. Whether they fill in a form or you import an already existing customer list, once those details are in your site you can send them news on a regular basis. 

Contact our team to find out how you too can bring your business online!
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Which dentist will miss out?

Posted on Friday, July 22, 2016 by Craig Harwood

Hot on the heals of my last post using the example of a Google search for "Dentist Nerang", I came across some important information. Google is looking to take away one of the 3 pack search results spots and replace it with a paid advertising spot. 

If they do progress with this then it would mean that in the example of Dentist Nerang below one of these three dental practices would be pushed off the search results.

There is no doubt that appearing under that map in the search results when combined with a good customer rating (4 or 5 stars) is the most valuable piece of advertising a dental practice can acquire. Google is looking at the click through rates and they see this area is highly effective at attracting new patients. This is an area that they are currently giving away for free, so you would have to wonder how long that can last for.  

Now google hasn't released an official statement on this as yet, however 

the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, Google confirmed that ads are coming to the Local Pack. The timing and precise appearance/placement are to be determined.

During the pre-conference Workshop, Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, discussed some of the new AdWords features as they pertain to local. Among them, he showed a screen shot (above), which Joy Hawkins tweeted, but which is not officially authorised for distribution at this point.

So back to our Nerang example, in this case Amazing Smiles is likely to be safe. They have a strategy in place and are likely to stay there. It's now up to Riverside Dental Practice and Gold Coast Dental Studio to put a Reputation Management Program in Place to secure their position, and all the new patient enquiries that go along with it.  


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Dental and Medical Reviews Part 1

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 by Craig Harwood

Now I'm not a big fan of healthcare review sites. However, recent updates from Google have meant they are here to stay and we need to take them more seriously.

Of course, feedback, both negative and positive, can be extremely useful for effective practice management and early awareness of negative feedback can assist in addressing any issues before they become a major problem. It's now important that each practice has a AHPRA compliant Reputation Management process in place, to ensure that they can both deal with any negative reviews and also encourage positive reviews and feedback from patients.

The majority of practices have a very high satisfaction rate amongst patients; however most will also have a few that have a predisposition to seek out the negative things in life and focus on those. These days, those people are likely to find their way to websites and review directories leaving negative feedback there.

This negative feedback can have a serious effect on he practice from a business point of view and also the professional standing of the practitioners. With recent changes to Google, negative feedback will also affect how your found (or if your found) on search engines.


To see this simply Google: your practice type and suburb eg Dentist Nerang. This will show you how people are seeing your practice.

As an example here is the search result for; Dentist Nerang  

 As you can see in the natural searches, having a review rating draws the eye to Amazing Smiles. People searching for a dentist in this area are now likely to click on that listing and read the reviews. However Riverside Dental has only two reviews and no rating while Gold Coast Dental Studio none.

From a potential patients point of view amazing smiles is the natural choice and should receive a greater percentage of the new patients in the area.

On the negative side if you do not manage reviews and have an effective reputation management system you could be subject to that small minority of negative patients doing significant damage to the practice.

As an example this Dental Surgeon has two negative reviews and no way of addressing the issue - this can be extremely costly to the practice both in reputation and income


 An effective Reputation Management plan will help provide a way for these people to vent and keep the negative review in house, while encouraging positive reviews and ratings.

For a no obligation discussion on how we can assist your practice please contact Craig on 0418 280 064 or at the office on 1300 453 375   

In part 2 we will look at what your Reputation Management plan should contain and introduce the software we use to automate the process.  

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