How to Get Dentist Patient Reviews with a Proactive Reputation Management Strategy
At this stage you have achieved your ultimate goal of your dentist website – a new dental patient! You did this by setting up a professional website design, SEO, link building, social media, retargeting and conversion rate optimization, all with the desired effect of gaining website traffic that converts into new dental customers. Good job, but your work isn’t over yet! One of the most important parts still needs to happen, and many dentists get stuck at this point, and that is obtaining patient reviews.
The Importance Of Dental Patient Ratings and Reviews for Your Dentistry Practice
More and more people are going online to do research on their next purchase, and it isn’t just limited to online shopping. Inc. reports that 91% of people read online reviews, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends, and that 68% form an opinion after reading just 1 to 6 reviews! Many times people will research not only the benefits and features of something they want to buy, but they are also looking for reviews in order to make their final decision. And this is very common for those looking for a new dentist. Many times people will go online and search for a local dentist and once they have located some in their area, most likely the very next thing they will do is look at their ratings and reviews.
Obtaining dentist testimonials, ratings and reviews from your dental patients is extremely important and should become part of your day-to-day operations.
Gaining dental customer reviews have the following benefits:
- Helps increase trust in your dentistry practice.
- They help your SEO efforts – Google likes ratings and reviews and will show them within your Google My Business and Google Map listings.
- You can showcase your best reviews on your website, thus increasing your trust signals
- Your brand identity is increased.
- People expect them, and might be suspicious or hesitant to do business with you if you don’t list reviews.
Don’t Hesitate to Get Dental Patient Reviews and Ratings
Many dentists are hesitant to allow dental patients to put reviews online. After all, they might leave a bad review! But, if someone was going to leave a bad review, they were most likely going do it one way or another anyway. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to ask every single patient that comes through your dentist office door for a review. If you get the occasional Grumpy Gus that comes across your dental chair, you just don’t ask them for a review, thats all. The important factor is to provide the highest possible quality dental care and nurture patients along so that they will LOVE to give you a glowing, positive review.
Don’t Try To Falsify Reviews
Your local competitor has over a hundred 4 or 5 star reviews and you have none! You might be tempted to start falsifying a bunch of reviews in an effort to catch up. Don’t do it! Google and other search engines have pretty sophisticated algorithms in place to monitor reviews, so don’t even think about creating any bogus reviews. If they see several reviews all at once, and from the same IP address or based on the user’s browsing history, they can tell it is not real, and they will either demote those reviews or penalize your website and Google My Business listing, which will negatively affect your Google Maps listing for local searches. It is very important that you obtain natural, positive reviews from real dental patients that are satisfied with your dentistry practice.
How To Obtain Positive Dental Patient Ratings and Reviews
The first step to acquiring ratings and reviews for your dentist practice from dental patients is to provide exemplary service. This not only applies to your dentistry skills, but also how your entire staff conducts itself, from the receptionist, dental hygienist and various office staff. While this seems like plain common sense, if you or your team provides amazing service, then securing positive dentist patient reviews will come naturally and easily.
Here are some methods of collecting dentist reviews:
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Make sure you are listed on the most popular doctor review sites and other review sites.
This will make it easier for your patients to leave reviews without even asking them.
The most popular review sites are:
- Google My Business
Your Google business listing needs high quality and authentic dentist patient reviews since Google uses this primarily for determining your authority and ranking on their Google Maps and organic listing for organic SEO efforts.
Make sure your dentist Facebook business page is set up in order to accept patient reviews.
- Angies List
Add links to your website
Add links to your website for dental patients to leave reviews on these 3rd party review sites.
Send out emails to dental patients asking for reviews
Again, you only want to send requests for reviews to the happy and satisfied customers. You should automate this process so that it is very easy for your office staff to manage. If you are just starting out getting reviews, you can send out a mass email to all of your existing and satisfied dental customers, but you should also send it out to any new dental patients, even ones that have already become repeat customers.
Hand out review forms as they leave your dentist office
These forms can list the many websites where they can review your dentist business online. Make the form easy to understand and let them know it shouldn’t take them much time to complete.
Offer incentives in order to obtain reviews
You can present special coupons, promotions or a promotional products like magnets or pens with your logo on them to entice patients to leave reviews. Many times, customers feel obligated when they receive something, and kindly asking for a review is often expected. This technique works very well and has a higher-than-average response rate than if you don’t offer an incentive. This is also a good method to jump start a new reputation management campaign where you have a very low number of dentist reviews online. Once you have obtained a good volume of positive reviews, you can either turn off the incentive program, or perhaps offer the incentive on a 2nd or 3rd follow up in order to increase your review conversion rate.
Send out a request for review via a postcard mailing. Start with the more cost effective technique of email first, then follow up for the 2nd or 3rd request via a mailing.
Some of your patients might not be as computer savvy as some of your other dental patients. Perhaps have someone in your office give them a call asking them for a review. Some might be flattered that you asked!
There are ways to automate many of the techniques listed above. Contact us at Digital Tooth Fairy and we can help set it up for you.
Some things to realize when trying to secure dentist reviews:
Don’t be a pest or harassing when asking for dentist reviews
If after 2 or 3 times you don’t get a review, you really shouldn’t keep asking them for a review. Some people just don’t want to do them for whatever reason.
Not everyone will provide a review
This can happen for various reasons, but if you have a more automated system in place, then this should increase the quantity and quality of your dental reviews. Reasons can vary, but some of your customers are just too busy to take the time to do it. Or perhaps your review process is too complicated. The key here is to have an easy system set up to automate the process and make it as pain-free as possible for your patients to complete.
Sometimes you will get a less than favorable review
No matter how high the quality of dental service you provide, you can’t please all of your customers. Which leads us to our next action item.
How To Deal with Negative Dentist Reviews
While the goal of creating a patient review system is to get as many positive ratings and reviews as possible, you might occasionally get a negative review. But, believe it or not, this is a good thing. Think about it. If a potential new dental customer reads your reviews, and every single one is 5 stars, and each review sounds like the dentist’s mother wrote it, they might be suspicious and hesitant to call and make an appointment. People expect some bad reviews. Now, if all that you have are 1 and 2 star reviews, that is definitely not going to work out in your favor. If anything, it illustrates that you don’t have a good reputation management system in place, and/or that there are serious problems with your dentistry practice that you must deal with asap.
Here are some ways of handling negative dentist reviews:
Reach out to the reviewer offline
If you can tell who the reviewer was that left the negative review, it might be worth contacting them to see if there is anything you can do to help rectify the situation. Then, once it is resolved, kindly request that they revise or remove their review.
Reply to the negative review
Probably the worst thing you can do is to just let a negative reviews accrue without a reply. Most review websites allow you, as the the dentist, to reply directly to the review. You should address the points they made in their review in as positive a way as possible. Don’t be combative or angry in your replies. Make sure your replies are somewhat generic and don’t violate HIPPA privacy rules by revealing their names or anything else identifiable to who it is you are replying.
Make sure you are monitoring your reviews
The last thing you want is to one day search online for your dentist practice business name online and be surprised to see a bunch of negative reviews! You need to make sure that you are proactively monitoring your reviews on all of the review websites. Once you see a negative review you should respond to it immediately. You should have someone on your staff dedicated to checking on this, or have a dentist reputation management agency assist you with this.
Benefits of Negative Dentist Reviews
Yes, we said benefits! If you get the occasional negative review of your dentist practice, it can actually be helpful.
Negative reviews act as quality control
A negative dentist review can offer insight as to how your dentist business is not performing as well as it should be, which can be addressed and fixed. Many times when someone has a bad experience with a dentist, for whatever reason, they will not tell you about it. Instead, they will never come back again, thus you have lost a customer, perhaps forever. And if this problem continues without you being aware of the problems, it can have long-term negative effects to your dentistry practice. You might start wondering why dental customers are not coming back or why your sales figures are down. So, when someone leaves a negative review, it alerts you to an underlying problem, and gives you an opportunity to address it right away before it becomes an ongoing problem that can cause harm to your bottom line and your branding.
Negative reviews can help build trust
If all you had were 5 star reviews with glowing testimonials, then perhaps prospective new dental patients would be suspicious and not trust your dentistry practice. People actually expect some bad reviews when they search online. The important thing is to have more positive than negative reviews, so that your star rating averages anywhere from 4 to 5 stars.
You can see how obtaining dentist reviews is extremely important for your dentist practice. If you follow a process that streamlines, or better yet, automates getting dental reviews, then it can help improve your online reputation as well as help your SEO efforts to improve your rankings on the search engines.
Conversion Rate Optimization for Dental Websites
Final Remarks on This Guide and Next Steps