We’ve talked to many dentists and their office staff members about the marketing of dental services in the digital marketplace. We talk about websites, SEO strategies, email campaigns, and lead generation, but there is one topic that quickly emerges as a hot button and source of frustration for many practices.
That topic is the online Google review process. Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews can have both a positive and negative impact on the business and revenue generation of dental practices.
What frustrates dentists the most is the feeling that the review process is either unfair, inaccurate, or beyond their ability to manage in a meaningful way.
As a marketing company we, the Dental Scout team, hope to provide you with some ideas and thoughts that can both simplify and demystify the challenge of managing the online review process for your business.
The Impact of Google Reviews
To start, it is important to understand that online reviews are impactful and they are here to stay. In fact, 87% of consumers read online reviews when making decisions about local businesses.
Just behind hotels and restaurants, medical offices are the most likely type of business to have their reviews read by consumers.
Because of this, as a dental practitioner you can’t afford not to take active steps in managing the outcome of this important element of your marketing strategy. Below are very simple and straightforward strategies that you can employ to improve your review scores, starting today.
Ways to Improve Google Reviews
1. Ask Your Patients for Google Reviews
You need to ask your patients for reviews. This one is the simplest and easiest to accomplish starting now. You might have thoughts that asking for reviews is something that is pushy or even tacky, but it’s not.
In fact, people are already accustomed to being asked. Many of your patients likely read reviews that were already posted about your practice. They understand the importance of reviews and most of them already know how to create one.
2. Ask for Google Reviews In-Person
The best time to ask about reviews is when a patient is in your office. You can have staff ask when a patient is checking out or even better, you can ask yourself at the end of an appointment.
Most patients will take it as a compliment and remember that most of them really value you as a member of their healthcare team. You can lead with a simple question like, “How has your experience with us been? We value your opinion, is there anything that we can do to improve our services?”
After getting their feedback it is a great time to ask if they would be willing to share their experiences with others in the form of a review so that other patients like them can benefit from your services.
3. Make it Simple
Make it easy for your patients to post reviews. It is very simple to create a link specific for reviews that can skip many steps and take patients directly to the review process for your business.
The easier you make it, the more reviews you will get. Put that link on your website. Post your link to your social media for existing customers and consider sending it out as part of your next email to your customer base. You can also add the link to your email signature. That way the link is visible to all of the patients that you communicate with directly.
4. Create Google Review Link Cards
Create review link cards. Like a business card, you can have a simple card that has the link for leaving reviews and even the instructions for doing so that you can hand out to patients as they check out after appointments. Make sure that staff is asking about patient experiences and providing this important tool to get additional reviews.
5. Respond to Google Reviews
Finally, respond to reviews. All of them that you can. Market research shows that people pay attention to how businesses respond to the reviews they get. If you get a bad review from a patient, don’t panic. Take the high road and express your concern about a bad experience and a willingness to work with a patient to find solutions.
Bad reviews can be changed, but even if they aren’t, the public will see your willingness to work in a positive way with someone that was dissatisfied. Have a member of staff check for reviews weekly as a procedural task and notify you of any concerns. It literally takes minutes at the end of the week to take the time to respond to those that took the time to leave a review.
Google Reviews are Important to Dentists
Dentists are highly trained professionals and most of them would probably prefer to spend the vast majority of their time caring for patients. As small business professionals there are simply so many things that pull at a doctor’s time.
It can be hard to decide what to prioritize on the administrative side of a successful practice. In our opinion, reviews are one of the most overlooked areas that really deserve a high priority slot in your schedule. There are few, if any, things that you can do that have such a large impact on your bottom line at such a low cost. I hope that this information is helpful.
With over 25+ years in dental, we have reviewed and researched the marketing pain points for private practices. Out of that research came DentalScout, a marketing company that creates visibility for private practices by providing professional marketing services that help dentists grow.