If you’re like most online consumers, before you make any purchase or big decision, you likely go online to do some research. You want to know what others are saying about the product you’re looking at or the service you’re interested in.
Whether you’re in need of a plumber, electrician, or pediatrician, you’re likely online looking for providers, reading reviews, and asking friends if they’re heard anything good or bad about the business. If you hear something good, you take that to heart, similarly, if you hear something bad you likely also take that to heart.
Online reviews play a huge role in any marketing, but are particularly important when it comes to executing a dental marketing strategy. You can rest assured that if you’ve provided service to someone in the last five years, you’ve got some reviews hanging out online. The question is, are they good or bad?
Have you ever searched the name of your practice or your name? A quick search on Google or Bing will tell you just what people really think about you. Good and bad reviews can help you coach your staff, alter your business practices to meet the needs of patients, and understand how you’re perceived by the public.
Why are reviews important?
Online reviews are important because they play a key role in maintaining transparency with the public. They give people an inside look at how you operate your business.
Additionally, online reviews help boost your online rankings, which increases organic traffic and can ultimately lead to customers who cost much less to acquire than other customers.
How to Get Reviews
It might seem like when asking for reviews from patients you’re acting like a nag. After all, you can only ask so many times before it starts to come off as desperate. Streamlining the process of getting reviews can make a difference in how likely a patient is to submit one. Thankfully there are many new marketing ideas for dentists that focus on getting reviews without bothering patients.
To get organic reviews you’ll want to make sure your website is listed on as many third-party review sites as possible. The most helpful and sought after reviews are typically on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. These are not only indexed but also help with your organic rankings. Facebook reviews are particularly helpful because when someone posts a review of your practice, their entire network of friends see it, as well as the public. Make sure you have an active Facebook page where people can leave reviews.
Good dental marketing should point people towards your website. On your website, there should be an obvious button and call-to-action for happy customers to submit a review that can then be repurposed on print content and other online sources.
As you begin to collect patient information, do your best to collect emails. This will help you create an email list that you can then email with a personal email asking for reviews. You can even link directly to your Facebook page and Google listing.
This email list will also tell you who is opening emails and clicking through to various links. People who have clicked, but haven’t left reviews might have gotten busy or just need a reminder. You can create a re-engagement email campaign that follows up and asks them to submit a review.
Older patients might be more responsive to posting reviews by filling out a postcard and mailing it in or filling out a card that is mailed directly to them with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Patients who leave reviews should be rewarded. The first method, which should always be done, is to respond to each review online with a heartfelt thank you. This shows your appreciation, makes the conversation two-way and lends transparency to the exchange for the public to see.
The second way to reward reviewers is to provide them with a small token of appreciation. Most sites have a strict rule where you cannot compensate someone for a review. However, if someone has willingly posted a review and you want to thank them, you can give them something like office swag or a treat. Obviously, because we’re dealing with marketing for dentists, we wouldn’t want to give something that’s counteractive to good oral hygiene.
Handling Bad Reviews
Unfortunately, even the best dental office can run into bad reviews. Sometimes they may be warranted, while other times trolls who have never been to your practice might come online and write a bad review. Understanding and accepting this as a part of running a business, and creating a plan to address them is key. Never panic.
The first line of business is to determine whether the review is legitimate. If it is, then respond publicly to the review with sympathy and a sincere wish to make the person happy. Your goal is to show the patient and the public that you’re remorseful for a bad experience and want to make it right.
If a troll has posted a review, make it clear that your office has no record of a person of that name having ever been in for treatment. Additionally, clearly state that your goal as a practice is to provide the best treatment to patients and refer to your mostly glowing reviews from happy patients.
All reviews should be handled within a timely manner, but bad reviews, in particular, should be handled almost immediately. Bad reviews are like gossip and can spread like wildfire. Your best chance at getting an individual to edit their review or take it down entirely is when they’re deeply involved in the process. After a few days, they might even forget that they’ve written a review.
It’s nearly impossible to get a bad review removed by a company like Google, because they want people to know that they’re a reliable source for honest reviews. As a result, managing reviews will help mitigate the lack of recourse businesses have in terms of reviews.