If your dental practice is like most, you still aren’t operating at full patient volume. On average, patient volume is just 80% of pre-pandemic levels, the ADA reports. Online reviews can help to attract new patients and fill your chairs. In fact, if you don’t have enough reviews, you could be losing out to competitors with a stronger online presence. Keep reading to find out how to get more reviews—and patients.
Why Online Reviews Matter
The importance of online reviews for local businesses continues to grow. According to a recent study, online reviews now account for 16% of the factors affecting your practice’s rank in search engine results—second only to a presence on Google My Business, which accounts for 33% of your ranking.
Because star ratings from Google reviews show up in Google search results, patients can easily form an opinion of your practice at a glance. Those star ratings may be the deciding factor in whether a patient clicks on your site or calls you.
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, patients are turning to reviews to see how different practices are handling disease prevention protocols and ease their worries about the safety of dental offices. Adding fresh reviews on a regular basis will give potential patients insights into what it’s like to visit your office now, enhancing their confidence in your safety measures.
5 Steps to Get More Online Reviews
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. Younger patients may also have fewer concerns about visiting the dentist despite COVID-19, so getting more reviews can help attract this demographic. 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 patient 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). As you request reviews, prompts like, “We’d love to hear how we made you feel safe at this time” or “Let us know how we’re doing with social distancing” can encourage patients to rave about your pandemic prevention measures.
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. Be sure to thank patients for positive reviews—engaging online shows you’re friendly and responsive.
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.
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.