By now you know that online reviews can make or break your dental practice. Have you ever received a negative online review? Don’t worry, here are a few ways you can turn a negative online review into a positive for your dental practice.
Before we jump into four ways you can build your dental practice with online reviews, and how to combat the occasional, stressful, confounded bad review, let’s start with a stat: 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. What’s that mean for your dental practice? Word of mouth is now digital and viral!
Online reviews impact your patients in every aspect of their life—from restaurants and vacations to retail purchases and deciding on a dentist. This isn’t anything new to you, though. As a consumer, you also look to online reviews as a resource and proof of customer experience.
The beautiful truth for your dental practice will make you smile, though. If you devote time, energy, attention, and a thoughtful strategy to online customer reviews, you’ll find that sites like Yelp!, Angie’s List, Health Grades, Google Reviews, and Yahoo! Local Listings will become legitimate lead generators—and invaluable customer service platforms.
Without further adieu, then, here are four ways to utilize online customer review sites to help grow your dental practice.
1. Every review needs to be replied (especially the bad ones)
As soon as you look at reviews as a business opportunity the better. These sites are an opportunity to engage with clients and display your commitment to customer service to prospective clients. While these online review sites don’t make the pantheon of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, websites devoted to online reviews need to be considered social media platforms. With that said, it’s important to be social on social media, and responded to reviews is an absolute must if you’re going to grow your dental practice using online review sites.
Acknowledge the good comments and the bad reviews every time. Responding to positive reviews is easy: “Thank you”, “We’re so glad we helped”, and “Thanks for trusting our office” are good places to start with positive comments. This approach will build credibility for your dental practice.
Just like you reply to every good review, every negative comment needs attention and a response. By acknowledging dissatisfied patients, validating their gripe, apologizing, and providing a solution to their problem publicly, your dental office will tangibly show prospective clients that you’re professional, respectful, attentive, and—most importantly—real.
2. Encourage satisfied clients in-person to review your dental practice.
In marketing, it’s called a “call to action,” and it works. The idea is simple: politely ask or nudge clients, customers, and patients to take your desired action, and odds are they’ll do what you’re asking. Conversely, if you don’t ask patients to review your business, they probably won’t. The takeaway: there’s no harm in asking.
There are a lot of ways you can politely ask happy patients to review your site. A few ideas include:
- Train your dental office’s staff to ask clearly satisfied patients to provide an online review at the end of an appointment.
- Print out an index card or business card with online review instructions for patients to take home with them after an appointment.
- Put CTAs (a marketing abbreviation for “call to action”) on your website, linking to your preferred online review site.
- Ask patients to review your office on social media channels.
- Send follow-up emails or appointment reminders with CTAs.
- There are many more ways to accomplish this, too!
3. Promote good reviews on your website.
Integrating reviews in the form of testimonials will be a great complement to your website. There are widgets available by almost every online review platform that allow your reviews to populate your dental office’s website.
This approach shows prospective patients a number of things, including:
- Clients you’ve worked with,
- That you’re confident in your practice,
- Customer service is a top priority.
4. Negative reviews are business opportunities for four reasons.
With millennials emerging as the next generation of big spenders, we are going to see massive shifts in the ways real estate agents do business.
Online reviews have become an integral part of your patients’s customer journey. And, with millennials emerging as the next generation of decision makers and prospective clients, dentists must acknowledge the influence and impact online review sites play in their dental practices’s profitability.
Relinquishing control of your dental office’s messaging is a daunting prospect of online review sites. However, following these four steps will ensure that your dental office leverages reviews—both good and bad—to benefit your practice’s bottom line. Being authentic with reviews will prove to be a great asset for your practice, as long as you graciously, respectfully, and transparently approach reviews just like you would in a face-to-face conversation.