If you are a dentist or orthodontist, you probably know that patient referrals are important to your practice’s success. Today, online reviews are just as influential as a personal recommendation for customers.
This is why online reputation management for dentists is so important.
Generating good online reviews will help you grow your practice and continue to serve more people in your community.
We’ll show you how build a strong online reputation, which will help you attract new customers and increase patient retention. Following these basic steps will help you get to where you want to go.
Why is Online Reputation so Important for Dentists?
The dental business is a competitive one, with most cities having tons of practitioners just a few exits away. With all these options, the average consumer has no idea why they should choose you over another oral healthcare provider.
That’s where online reviews come in.
Potential patients look at dentists, orthodontists and oral healthcare professionals online before choosing a provider. In fact, a recent survey found consumers will go through an average of 10 online reviews before selecting a local business.
This means that what people are saying about you online (and your composite star rating) matters.
It isn’t just the quality of reviews – frequency and volume matter too. According to the same BrightLocal survey, 85% of consumers thought online reviews older than 3 months were no longer relevant.
If you work in an area where dental coverage is rare, your online reputation is that much more important. Prospective patients without dental insurance are even more likely to be influenced by online reviews because they don’t have a set list of in-network dentists to choose from.
If you haven’t been paying attention to your online reputation, chances are you are missing out on significant opportunities to grow your dental practice.
Now that you know why online reviews matter, what can you do to improve your online presence? Don’t worry, it isn’t as intimidating as it may seem – you just have to get started with these four steps!
- Claim your Google my Business Account
If you haven’t done this already, we have a comprehensive guide on how to claim a Google My Business listing. This is a free (at least at the time this article was originally published).
Claiming your business listing is the first step to helping people find your business and being able to leave a review. This isn’t an optional marketing strategy if you want to be found online.
Doing this will help Google display the correct information when someone searches for your business and help categorize your business, so you show up in map results for dentistry. It also allows you to evaluate feedback and interact with customers who are leaving reviews on your business.
Before you start commenting and reacting to negative reviews, however, we recommend checking out our guide on how to respond to negative reviews.
- Ask Patients for Reviews
So how do you get quality online reviews for your dental practice? It may seem self-explanatory, but your focus should be on getting happy customers to take the time to leave reviews.
It’s ok to ask a customer for a review in person or via email, but what isn’t ok is to offer incentives for positive reviews. Doing this only erodes trust with the customer and ultimately shows them you care more about making yourself look good than about their experience with your practice.
In fact, offering a reward for a good review directly violates many of the ethics standards for online directories and could lead to blowback against your business. You don’t want to go there!
We recommend trying email marketing campaigns to generate reviews from recent customers. You don’t want to be sending an email to a former patient or to an unengaged segment of your customer base as they are less likely to respond, or worse, might leave you a bad review.
Again, don’t promise them anything in return for a review.
- Measure Results and Take Complaints Seriously
The next step is to measure what customers think. This means getting a read on what people are currently saying online about you on places like Google, Facebook, Foursquare and others online directories.
When (not if) you get a negative review, don’t panic. These things are bound to happen in the service industry. Instead, focus on what can be changed or improved to better meet patient expectations.
This step can be daunting, especially if you get a lot of reviews, but we have a solution for you!
Binary Fountain makes it easy for dentists and other healthcare professionals to view their online reviews and take control of their reputation management by offering a comprehensive way of viewing patient reviews across all of your listings.
- Always Prioritize the Customer Experience
Accumulating quality reviews shouldn’t be a focus for your marketing staff. Providing a superior customer experience should be an organizational priority for your entire team. From your receptionists to your dental assistants, everyone should be dedicated to prioritizing the patient experience to ensure the standards you have for patient satisfaction are being met.
By taking feedback from costumers seriously and by making the organizational and operational changes you need to meet those expectations, you will see a massive increase in your patient retention.
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