How to Get More Patient Reviews and Why You Need to

May 20, 2019 Karen Axelton

 

lighthouse 360

 

Does your dental practice have enough online reviews? If not, you could be losing out on potential new patients. Online reviews of businesses—including dental practices—are becoming more important than ever for a variety of reasons:

  • Online reviews now account for more than 15% of the factors Google takes into account when ranking search engine results for local businesses.
  • Google is now the number-one place consumers look for reviews. Almost two-thirds (63.6%) of consumers say they’re likely to check for reviews on Google before they visit a business.
  • Star ratings show up in Google search results, so patients don’t have to dig beyond the first page of search results to form an opinion of your practice. Now they can do it at a glance—and those star ratings may be the deciding factor in whether a patient clicks on your site or calls you.

Here’s what you can do to get more reviews and make the most of the reviews you get.

Find out where you’re being reviewed. It’s possible your patients are leaving reviews on sites you don’t even know about. In addition to common review sites like Google and Yelp, there are several review sites for dentists as well as medical and healthcare review sites. Do some online searches and claim your listing on all of the review platforms you find. This will help you keep track of your reviews. If a patient has written a great review on an obscure site, see if you can get them to also review you on Google, which will help improve your star rating.

Target younger patients. While 86% of consumers read reviews of local businesses, 80% of people aged 18 to 34 also write reviews. In contrast, just 41% of people over 55 have ever written an online review. This isn’t to say you should ignore older patients, but if you’re trying to get more reviews, younger patients may be more likely to write them. You can use Lighthouse 360’s email marketing solution to segment your patient lists by age so you target just the right people. Read more about marketing to millennial patients.

Take advantage of your communication software’s review-boosting capabilities. Lighthouse 360 has lots of Google-friendly features that can help you get more Google reviews. For instance, you can request Google reviews from patients via text message or email. You can also target patients who use Gmail, meaning they’re more likely to post on Google. You can even customize your feedback campaigns to focus on Google (or any major review site you choose).

Respond to your reviews. In addition to responding to negative reviews, it’s also a good idea to thank patients for positive reviews. To avoid seeming mechanical, vary the thank-you’s with a relevant comment for each reviewer, such as, “We’re happy you had a good experience at our office, Susan!” By engaging with patients online you demonstrate that you’re friendly and listening to what they have to say.

Google actively encourages business owners to interact with people who leave reviews. “Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave,” Google states. Act on positive verbal comments. If a patient says something nice about your practice during an appointment, ask if they’d be willing to write a review. Follow up the same day with an email to the patient that includes their comment and a link to the review site. This will make it easy for the patient to write a review while the visit is still fresh in their mind.

Pace yourself. If you rarely get online reviews and suddenly you get two dozen in a week, some review sites may filter out those reviews. Review site algorithms may view a rash of reviews with suspicion because it doesn’t seem credible that you’d get that many organic reviews. Instead, try to maintain a steady cadence of new reviews—maybe one a week.

Make it a contest. Get your front desk staff and hygienists involved in growing your reviews by giving them something to aim for. For example, you could set a goal that if the practice gets one new review per week for the quarter, you’ll take the team out to lunch or give everyone a gift card to a favorite place.

Offer free WiFi in your office. Patients who are waiting in reception can be inspired to write a review if it’s easy to do right then and there. Try posting signage in your waiting area with your WiFi password and an easy link to your preferred review site: “Love us? Review us at [link].”

The key to getting more reviews for your practice is to make the process as easy as you can for your patients. Lighthouse 360 makes the process easy for you, too. It collects reviews from satisfied patients and posts them to top online review sites such as Yelp and Google. You also get your own page on RateABiz.com to spotlight your reviews and improve your search result rankings. Learn more about how Lighthouse 360 can help with online reviews and much more. Then try these tips to improve your overall online reputation, including your reviews.

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