Do you want to earn a new patient appointment without spending a truckload of money on marketing and advertising?
Then, say hello to Online Reputation Management (ORM)!
Dental reputation management is the process of building, maintaining, and managing your practice’s reputation on the internet. ORM generates positive reviews for a brand, creating a pleasant, likable, and reliable brand identity. It ensures that a business gets as many reviews as possible from happy customers and that these reviews are brought to the attention of potential customers. It helps combat the negativity by pushing negative information (reviews, ratings, articles, etc.) about a business lower in the search results by inserting new, positive content.
Dental Reputation management helps you manage what potential patients would see about your practice when they look it up online.
ORM gives you control over what people see about your business online. It helps you negate the risk of damage that negative reviews could cause to your practice. This is particularly important for dental practices as there are few other businesses where reputation has such a defining effect on their success or failure. After all, in no other field could a poorly delivered service have lifelong implications as it does in healthcare. Hence, managing online reviews and building a positive online reputation is vital for the success of a dental practice.
Dental Review Management, as it would be more apt to say, paints a pleasant, authentic, trustworthy, and positive picture of your practice online. Having an online presence and managing it is far more critical for your practice than you realize; that is precisely what we shall discuss in this article. We shall also discuss why it is essential to manage patient reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., why you need more patient reviews, and how to respond to patient reviews, among other things.
Patient review management is just a niche-specific term for medical practitioners to describe online review management. It deals with collecting patient reviews of dentists, ensuring that negative reviews don’t hurt your practice, and promoting positive dentist reviews on platforms and websites your potential patients are most likely to visit when seeking information about you.
Here’s why it is considered to be so important:
Managing patient reviews of dentists help you identify these negative reviews before they snowball into something severe. Then, if the grievances are genuine, you can work towards settling them and turn a negative into a positive one. This act would also build brand loyalty as there are very few things that attract patients more than seeing a dentist care about the patients and strive to take all steps necessary to provide the best dental care experience to them.
If the reviews are fake or spreading wrong information, you can always seek to remove those reviews by bringing them to the platform’s notice. Don’t neglect this step because the emanation of incorrect or misleading information can affect your dental reputation.
Learn more about Why Should Dentists Maintain a Positive Online Dental Reputation?
Google dentist reviews or Yelp and social media reviews are responsible for the appreciation or depreciation in the value of your most important asset – your reputation. The more the number of 5-star reviews, the stronger would be your reputation and the greater the impact you have on your potential patients.
“It is important that online marketing for dentists involves generating reviews on a regular basis.”
A single review would usually not be enough to convince a potential patient. A crowd, though, may do it. There have to be enough reviews of you for the patient to make anything of it. Just a couple of 5-star ratings won’t do much. The number of reviews needed to turn the needle changes from industry to industry. In healthcare, the magic number appears to be 7.
A National Research Corporation (NRC) study suggests that 3 out of 4 patients need to see a minimum of 7 ratings before they believe them. 77% need to see at least 7 comments about a practice, each saying the same thing, before they believe it to be a genuine trend.
More patient reviews could also be viewed as an indicator of popularity. If more patients are reviewing your office, it means that many patients are visiting you. This popularity among patients could be a crucial factor in acquiring new patients.
The NRC study also suggests that numbers alone don’t cut it. Recency is also an important factor. 2 out of 3 patients consider reviews older than 18 months to be useless. 1 out of 5 won’t rely on reviews for older than 6 months.
6 out of 10 patients said they become suspicious of medical practices that only have positive reviews. There needs to be a balance between positive and negative reviews, with the positive ones dominating the negative ones. Hence, it is important for you to gather more and more reviews so that you can show enough two or three stars reviews about your practice without having them overwhelm the effect of positive reviews. This fine balancing act needs to be performed expertly by a Dental Review Management agency.
Patient reviews of dentists are considered to be genuine, personal, and unbiased sources of information. You can promote your practice through ads, but a dentistry review from current or past patients will always be more reliable for potential patients. Seeing other patients speak well of you instantly builds a good reputation for your dental practice for them.
“When you have a good reputation, you are more likely to get a new patient appointment than otherwise.”
A survey reported that 7 out of 10 potential patients consider a positive online reputation to be an extremely important factor in choosing healthcare providers. When potential patients see positive reviews of you, they feel that they are more likely to get a professionally delivered dental treatment and an overall positive experience at your office. The chances of experiencing rude behavior seem minimal.
This sense of security, provided by smartly delivered reputation management services, encourages potential patients to book an appointment with you.
More than half of the populace uses a search engine (read: Google) to look for dentists. In other words, your Google dentist reviews would determine whether they find your practice before someone else’s (as we have already discussed how online reviews impact your ranking).
Google gets more than 57% of all reviews across the globe, making it the largest review site by a long way. It is very convenient for patients to leave reviews there and for other patients to find them. Users can also leave a Google Map Review, which helps other users find directions to your office on the same page on which they read the reviews.
If you have multiple positive reviews on Google, way more users will view them as compared to all the other sites. Hence, leveraging Google reviews with an optimized Google My Business profile is very easy.
A large number of positive Google my business reviews give you another advantage – an opportunity to feature in the Google local 3-pack. The Google 3-pack displays the top 3 businesses when a user makes a local search (product/service + location. For example, dentists near me, dentists in Minneapolis, etc.). The 3-pack appears at the top of the results page and contains all the important information about your practice, such as an address, contact number, ratings, map, etc. Practices featuring in the local 3-pack get more visitors than all of the other practices combined.
To put it simply, if you want more patient appointments, managing Google reviews should be one of the first things you have to focus on.
Since the last decade, medical offices have been facing a new challenge that could make or break their practice – social media. Your social media reputation has a surprisingly strong influence on the fortunes of your practice simply because almost everyone is on social media these days, including all your potential patients.
Social media is one of the first places a disappointed patient goes to share his or her experience and vent his/her frustration. It would also be the first place a delighted customer would go to voluntarily talk about his/her experience with you. Most likely, the first platform of choice would be Facebook, simply because it has a whopping 2.6 billion active monthly users! This is also the reason why a lot of dental marketing deals with Facebook and all its variables. Things can escalate pretty quickly in this world. One happy or disgruntled patient could have a cascading effect and bring in or ruin several potential appointments, besides, of course, building or breaking your social media reputation.
Facebook is also a platform that potential patients use to find out more about a local dental office before visiting it. A Facebook business page and efficient dental social media marketing would give them exactly the information they are looking for. And if this page shows a high average rating for your office, then it won’t be unreasonable to expect a new patient appointment regularly.
Recently, Facebook has introduced some updates for business pages. The most important among them is the development of the ‘recommendations’ feature, an upgraded version of Facebook reviews. As a result of this update, the option to ‘recommend’ or ‘not recommend’ a business is integrated into the reviews. This section will also contain all previous recommendations made by users. Your old Facebook reviews won’t go anywhere; they will continue to be displayed on your Facebook page.
This new feature has brought several advantages along with it, such as:
1 out of every 3 Facebook users is using the platform to get recommendations and reviews. If you weren’t paying attention to your Facebook reviews and recommendations yet, now is the time!
Read more about Why must dentists invest in Facebook and Instagram advertising?
Yelp is one of the biggest review websites outside of Google and social media sites. It reports about 178 million visitors a month, and more than 90% of the visitors are Americans. That is about half the population of the United States! Just think about how many of your potential patients would be searching for ‘dentists Yelp’ reviews before choosing a dental practice!
Just the sheer volume of visitors on Yelp makes it an unignorable site for Online review monitoring. Also, the fact that Yelp has more mobile users than desktop users suggests that it is ahead of the curve on mobile, which is extremely important as most of the millennials and the next generation of patients will be smartphone users.
Yelp is known to be a very credible review site because of its strict content guidelines. Your competitors, former employees, business promoters, or anyone who is getting paid to write a positive review is not allowed to post a review on Yelp. Threats, lewd language, and arguments are also banned. Questionable reviews could be reported and removed if found to be problematic.
All these factors make it evident that dentists Yelp reviews are extremely important to be managed.
In addition to the Big 3 of review sites, a dental practice must also focus on accumulating positive Dental office reviews on industry-specific review sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, 1-800-Dentist, Zocdoc, etc. While these websites do not have nearly as many visitors as the major review sites, they still have a decent amount of people relying on them for genuine dentist ratings.
More importantly, the people looking for you on such sites have the highest motivation to book an appointment. You don’t go to industry-specific review sites, just randomly gathering information for future use, do you?
Let’s say you are having a meal at a restaurant that has marketed itself as a business that puts the customer first. At the end of the meal you enjoyed, the manager asks for your opinion about the food and their service.
Now you don’t want to go beyond the generic “Oh, I loved it!” but you still do because the manager was persistent about getting your review. So you give him some important feedback – the dish you loved the most, the behavior of the staff, etc. But now imagine how you would react if the manager walked away as soon as you were done talking without saying as much as a ‘Thank You’! Needless to say, you’d be incensed. And in case you didn’t even enjoy the meal in the first place, we can only imagine how angry any person would get in such a situation.
If this were to actually happen to you, would you just forget about the incident immediately after stepping out of the restaurant? You’d ask your friends and family to avoid visiting this restaurant. You’d probably go online and share your experience on social media and maybe even Google, leaving behind a trail of negative reviews.
Now just put yourself in the manager’s shoes and a patient in yours, and you’d know just why you should respond to your patient reviews as soon as possible.
Gathering Dental office reviews from your patients is just one part of the Dental Review Management process. You must also respond to the patient’s review appropriately, which changes according to the tone of the review.
When you receive a positive dentistry review from a patient, the first thing you should do is thank the patient and let them know that you’re grateful that they took the time to give a review.
You can attempt to get something more out of a positive review by mentioning a dental treatment or service they might be interested in. This is where Dental marketing kicks in.
You should end the conversation by asking the patient to visit again for an even better experience. Don’t forget to ask them to leave similar positive Google my business reviews or maybe even a Google Map Review.
“Make sure to share positive reviews of your dental practice on your website and social media profiles.”
Replying to a negative review is obviously trickier than replying to a positive one. You can’t just ignore the patient’s feedback as it will incense the patient. You need to acknowledge the issue and thank the patient for bringing it to your notice.
Get more information about why the patient felt the way he/she did. Find out if it was because the patient had an off day or if you actually have a major problem with your service delivery.
Apologize to the patient with the promise of a far better experience on their next visit. An apology almost always appeases the patient. It also conveys that you care about delivering the best dental care experience to your patients. If there was indeed an error on your part, or if it was just a misunderstanding, an explanation would help.
Ask the patient if they would like to reconsider their rating and would like to give new dentist ratings to you. If the patient agrees and the review is 4 stars or above, go ahead and post it on all the available platforms. Also, ask the patient if they could leave a Dentistry review on your Google My Business if it isn’t a problem.
Dental Reputation management can help you deal with unhappy patients before they write about their experience online. A patient survey system is what would help you accomplish this.
Implementing a patient survey system would enable you to get honest feedback from your patients, who can provide feedback anonymously if they want. You can find out what pleases your patients the most about your practice and what turns them off. You can identify pain points that may not have been uncovered otherwise.
You can listen to the patients’ grievances and work out solutions to resolve them and avoid similar incidents in the future. Most importantly, you can do all of this before the patient shares his or her experience on social media or any review site.
Paying serious attention to the patients’ grievances early on conveys to them that you care about them and the experience you provide them. Also, patients are most likely to talk to their family and friends about their experience with you a day or two after their appointment, just as a part of their regular day-to-day conversations. You must rectify any issue the patient might have faced before they do so. And needless to say, you can’t fix something unless you know what’s broken. Patient surveys help you identify just that!
For 37% of all patients, reading online reviews is the first step in searching for a new doctor or dentist, even before they ask or get a recommendation from anyone!
87% of people say that a business needs to have at least a 4-star average rating for them to use it.
Online reputation monitoring and management have now become indispensable for all dental marketing. They play a defining role in how well your practice does. A positive online reputation would ensure that:
Ignoring online reviews of your practice just won’t cut it anymore. A comprehensive, efficient, customized patient review management system will differentiate the best from the rest.
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