The following is a guest post by Sharygo Barazi of Findmydentist.com. If you are interested in guest posting for Dental Heroes, please sign up here.
Dentist reviews are such a critical part of a holistic dental marketing strategy that it’s very surprising when I consult dentists who have completely ignored this fact. Online dental reviews from your patients not only build confidence and trust in your practice, but also help in ranking your website in the search engines. And since it’s so easy to ask your patients for online dental reviews, there really is no excuse for not getting them.
Where Should Your Patients Review Your Practice Online?
It can get very confusing with so many platforms available for patients to leave online dental reviews for your practice, including Google+, dentist directories such as Findmydentist, Yelp, Angie’s List, and more. These are all important, but the very first place your patients need to leave reviews is on your Google+ page because Google uses them in deciding how well to rank your website in Google Places search results that pop up when doing a local search such as “City + Dentist” (E.G. Royal Oak Dentist). To rank well in Google Places search results, you need at least 5 positive reviews. Once you get five reviews from Google Places, you can start asking for reviews elsewhere as the search engines scour the web to see what patients are saying about your practice.
How to Deal With Negative Patient Reviews
Your responsibility as the dentist or office manager is to ensure that all patients are satisfied with the level of customer service offered at the dental office. This includes friendliness, patient education, and maintaining constant contact with your patients via appointment reminders and newsletters. However, if a disgruntled patient has left a negative online dental review, then it needs to be addressed in a professional manner as soon as possible. Here are six tips that Google offers for responding to negative reviews:
- Be nice
- Don’t get personal
- Feedback is helpful
- Keep it short and sweet
- Thank your reviewers
- Be a friend, not a salesperson
You can view all these suggestions in detail here. But what do you do when the negative online dental review is left on a website where you cannot leave a response? Well, try communicating with the Webmaster if the review is malicious and disrespectful. The Webmaster may see that the review was left in a distasteful manner and will remove it to keep the website “clean” per se.
Get a lot of Positive Reviews to Drone out a Negative Review
Since a negative review negatively impacts prospective patients’ perceptions (that was a mouthful) of your practice, it’s important to reinforce to them that they should visit your practice by getting more positive reviews. Ask all your patients to leave a friendly online dental review for you and you’ll soon have so many positive reviews that the one lone negative review won’t seem that bad. When patients see that one negative review, they’ll think themselves “Hmm…I see one negative review but I see all these positive ones. That person must’ve had a bad day or is just a negative person and the review isn’t a reflection of the practice.”
Quick Tip: To make it easy for patients to leave reviews, print off a form that instructs the patient on how to leave a review, email the patient the instructions, or place a link on your website that directs the patient to where the online dental reviews can be left.
It’s important to understand the importance of reviews but shouldn’t be something that you lose sleep over – unless the office is consistently getting bad reviews – in which case, it might be easier to start over from scratch and rebrand.
Do you have some valuable insight to share with other dentists with regards to handling online reviews? Have you used a particularly successful tactic for eliciting online reviews? Please share with us in a comment below.