Sally is a typical 21st century girl—wired up, logged in. Before a date, she googles her suitor. Before going on vacation, she hits up TripAdvisor to size up her sleeping and dining options. But now Sally needs some dental work done. So what does she do?
She hits Yelp, Healthgrade, ZocDoc, and other review sites, checking out what patients of local practices have to say. Many local practices have no reviews, though. This doesn’t pique her interest. She keeps scrolling. A few have patently bad reviews. Were these experiences perhaps rare exceptions at otherwise wonderful practices? She has no way of knowing. The pleased patients never left a review. So she scrolls some more.
Finally, she lands upon a practice, one of the few in the area with a robust bank of reviews, the overwhelming majority of them positive and garnering a full five stars. (Sure, there may have been one or two negative ones. But the sheer magnitude of positive reviews far outweighed them, in both the rating system and in Sally’s assessment.) She’s pleased with what she sees and makes her appointment.
After getting her dental work done, she’s given simple instructions by the receptionist of the practice with a bit of motivation to leave a review herself. So she does, eager to share her pleasant experience with the rest of the world and adding to the practice’s dazzling online reputation. And thus the cycle continues.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Sally is no outlier in terms of how she makes her choices. She represents the 90% of consumers who say online reviews influence their buying decisions. While word-of-mouth is a great means of advancing your name, in the age of information, nothing beats the ease with which we can google a business and read what others have had to say about it in mere seconds. And this is rapidly changing how dental patients choose a practice.
In the past, it may have been normal to base choices simply on referrals, the doctor’s credentials, and location. But today, it’s referrals, location, and Internet presence. And, in addition to a sleek website, your online reviews constitute a major part of that presence. Moreover, because reviews increase new patients’ trust, the more positive reviews you’ve got going on, the more trust they’ll have.
But that reputation isn’t going to happen by itself, is it? Too often, people are only compelled to leave reviews without outside prompting when their experience has been negative. As we saw with Sally, this can be a problem. This is why having a plan in place to obtain reviews from satisfied patients is absolutely essential. We prefer the “COME ON!” approach, which can be summed up as:
- Consistency in asking for reviews;
- Office signage motivating patients to leave reviews;
- Making it easy for your patients to leave reviews;
- Email and marketing campaigns asking for reviews;
- Ongoing monitoring and moderation of reviews;
- Never leaving a negative review un-addressed.
There’s also an added side benefit of online reviews and citations: They boost your local SEO. This not only enhances your online reputation, but also your visibility.
Online reputation management for dental practices has never been more important. At My Dental Agency, we’re skilled in this field, which means you can sit back and do what you do best while we handle everything for you. Get ready for a whole load of Sallys streaming in!
With over a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, Jackie and her team have helped a wide variety of business owners all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. When she isn’t helping dental practices reach their full potential, she can be found at the beach with her three dogs or immersed in everything food-related with her large Italian family. For more, call (800) 689-6434 or email Jackie@mydentalagency.com.