Getting patients to post reviews about your dental practice is incredibly important in the age of internet marketing. It's also a lot easier than you think.
You probably didn't go into the dental profession thinking about internet fame and anonymous internet trolls, but in today's world you have to take your online reputation as seriously as crowns and cavities.
Managing your reputation shouldn't take a ton of your time and energy, especially once you systemize your approach to getting those all-important online reviews.
Why Bother Trying To Get Online Reviews?
Even if you don't use the internet to help you make important decisions about healthcare, the reality is that most of your current and prospective patients do.
In fact, a recent survey found that 31 percent of respondents had recently read online reviews about medical and healthcare providers.
Furthermore, 45 percent of respondents said reputation was the thing that mattered most to them when choosing a healthcare provider, and 91 percent said they regularly or at least occasionally read online reviews.
One more important stat to keep in mind? The survey found that 84 percent of people value online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations from friends.
Wondering what that means for you?
The majority of people rely heavily on online reviews when making decisions about healthcare providers, including dentists.
So you can either hope that you'll get good online reviews, or you can become actively involved in shaping the conversation.
There are other, less obvious perks to getting lots of positive online reviews too. For instance, the more people talk about you online, the higher you'll rank in local search results. Yes, online reviews help you rank in search engines.
The Step-by-Step Method
The survey referenced earlier provides insight into how much reviews matter and how providers can most effectively get reviewed. Seven out of 10 respondents said they would leave a review for a business if they're asked to do so. Here's how to do it effectively:
- Complete your entire interaction with a patient before bringing up the subject of reviews. If you're performing a series of procedures, for instance, wait until you've finished the last of the work. Ideally, talking about reviews should be the very last thing you do before the patient leaves the office.
- Gauge how the patient is feeling about your work. Ask something simple like, "How are you feeling?" It's pretty easy to identify when a patient is feeling positive about their interaction with you.
- When patients express satisfaction, make a gentle suggestion that they write a review, and name one or two specific sites. For instance, say, "That's great to hear. It would be a huge help to me if you would post a review on [site] or [site]. It was nice to see you!"
When patients aren't satisfied, it's not wise to suggest they write reviews. Instead, talk further about their issues and what can be done to make them feel better.
Also remember that it doesn't have to be you that has this conversation with your patients. Often times your front desk staff is in a better position to do this.
As a medical provider, you have to be more careful about your behavior around online reviews than, say, a barber would be.
Asking patients for reviews isn't generally a violation of HIPAA, PIPEDA or other privacy laws, but you have to be very mindful if you respond to reviews publicly to ensure that you do not violate any patient's privacy.
Review Sites to Watch
There are two categories of sites where you want reviews about you to appear:
- General Sites: These are the sites where reviewers talk about everything: sandwich shops, pet groomers, mechanics and, yes, dentists. Yelp, Facebook and Google are by far the most popular ones, and you should have a presence on each one of these.
- Healthcare Sites: These sites are specific to healthcare professionals. Healthgrades and ZocDoc are some of the most popular healthcare review sites.
Every review site operates differently, but you should check each one to see if anyone has created a page for you there and if you have the option to claim it. This is basically a way for you to tell the site administrators that you're the person who the profile is about so you can edit the page and respond to reviewers.
While it might sound unnecessary to set up and monitor profiles on more than one site, it's an important step. Some reviewers only use certain sites, so you want to have a number of positive reviews on all of the sites that are most important for your practice to make sure you reach the widest possible audience.
Making Your Life Easier
Managing your online reputation is something that could easily eat up an hour or more of each day.
Chasing down patients to remind them to write reviews is a bad use of your time, and it can seem pushy.
Instead, systemize your approach to getting these reviews using an automated system like ReputationStacker.
It's HIPAA and PIPEDA compliant and incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is enter patients' email addresses or phone numbers and the system sends them a one-question survey. Dissatisfied patients are directed back to you (so that you can handle their issue discreetly), and satisfied patients are directed to the review site of your choice where they post a review.
ReputationStacker is the most efficient way to consistently get positive online reviews.
Rinse and Repeat
Online reviews will continue to shape your reputation, whether you pay attention to them or not.
Help your practice flourish by encouraging happy patients to write reviews about you on a range of diverse sites, including Facebook, Google and ZocDoc.
And use an automated system like ReputationStacker to make sure you get a steady stream of positive reviews without taking time away from patient care.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.