If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a patient review is worth its word count in gold – or platinum – or whatever is today’s trending precious metal. Still not sure? Let’s put it this way, 70% of dental patients said that online ratings and reviews influenced their choice of dentist.
And, in case you thought you were safe from Google, remember that online ratings and reviews also factor into your practice’s search engine rankings. Search engines consistently tweak their ranking algorithms to return the best results possible, and this means delivering highly recommended doctors.
Further, online reviews create the perception of trustworthiness and transparency. The prevalence of social media and the increasing number of review sites available (Yelp, Angie’s List, Rate MDs, etc.), mean that your practice is conspicuous by its absence. Trust us, if prospective patients can’t find any reviews on your practice they aren’t going to think, “Wow – that dental practice is so good that not one patient felt the need to share their experience.” More likely, the train of thought will go something like this, “Why hasn’t anyone left a review on that dentist? What are they hiding?”
Understanding the power of online reviews is only half the battle; getting patients to leave them is the other half. So, how do you make that happen amidst the daily juggling required to keep your practice running? First, don’t under estimate the obvious…make the ask!
Send patients a follow-up text or email reiterating the importance of their satisfaction and asking them to share their positive experience online. Bonus points if you save the front desk staff time by using an automated patient communication system (FYI – this method also ensures consistent outreach).
Training your team to gently suggest satisfied patients share their experience is another great way to make the ask. Perhaps while booking a patient’s next appointment, your front desk staff mentions that the practice has profiles on certain online review sites, or hygienists politely close their appointments by asking patients to share their feedback online.
Strategically placed signage in your lobby is another way to plant the online review. Invite patients to share their experience, and ensure the review site URLs are listed clearly. You might be surprised at the number of loyal patients that use their time in the waiting room to post a positive review before they even sit in the chair.
Right up there with making the ask of patients, is making it easy for them. No matter how happy or loyal a patient is, if sharing feedback is a challenge they’re not going to do it. So make the process simple – incorporate review site links in follow-up texts and emails, include preferred review sites on appointment cards, and don’t overlook your own website.
Your website’s reviews page is one of the most convenient places for patients to share their experience – no membership or email account required. Just make sure to stay abreast of what’s posted on your website. ProSites’ reputation marketing feature allows you to determine which comments appear on your practice website. Patients can submit reviews, but nothing goes live on your site until you hit ‘publish’. Plus, when patients rank their experience 4+ stars, they’re automatically prompted to share their review on popular review networks such as Google+, Yelp, and Bing, which also makes you more visible to prospective patients.
In summary, online reviews influence patients’ choice of provider, lend credibility to your practice, and play a key role in determining your search engine rankings. For more information on how you can increase positive reviews, download our complimentary whitepaper How To Get Frequent Positive Reviews For Your Dental Practice: Climb to 5 Starts on Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook and More.