For most dentists, a significant portion of new business comes from people searching online for a local dentist. Perhaps they’re new to the neighborhood, unhappy with their existing dentist, or have children who need to start regular dental visits. Whatever the reason these prospective customers are searching online, chances are they carefully read online reviews before selecting a dentist. Knowing the power of online reviews, how can you use them to grow your dental practice?
Start by letting your patients know that you welcome online reviews. Many people never think of reviewing medical professionals, even though they review restaurants all the time. You can visit review sites, such as Yelp, to download signage and decals for display in your office. Simply seeing a Yelp logo in your reception area, for example, can inspire patients to write a review. Include icons for relevant online review sites on your website homepage in a spot where they’re easy to see. The icon should link to your review profile so people can easily write reviews if they’re inspired to do so.
However, don’t wait for inspiration to strike your patients. Make it a practice to ask satisfied patients to review your practice online. Here are some ideas for doing so:
- Train your receptionists to chat with every patient after their appointment and say “We’d love it if you would review us online. You can find our office at (list the review sites).” Of course, receptionists should use their discretion, and only ask customers who are in a good mood.
- You can also add language on your billing statements that encourages customers to review your practice online. For example, at the bottom of the bill, you can say “Like us? Review us online at Yelp.com.”
- Include requests for online reviews in any email newsletters you send your patients. Since you don’t want to blast out these requests to all of your patients — only the ones you know are satisfied — look for an email marketing solution that makes it easy to segment your email subscribers into different lists. That way, you can carefully target any emails requesting online reviews only to the people who are likely to write them.
As soon as you begin receiving online reviews, make sure to monitor them regularly. Thank people for their positive reviews. Statistics have shown that the majority of people only write positive reviews, but if you get a negative review, respond quickly. Apologize (no matter what) and ask the person to reach out to you off-line (by calling or emailing). It's best to discuss any problems one-on one, rather than trying to resolve them publicly online, which can lead to bad publicity. Of course, once you've resolved the issue and the patient is satisfied, be sure to share the happy outcome on the review site so everyone else can see it. When you can turn an unhappy patient into a satisfied one, it’s a powerful marketing tool.
Managing a lot of online reviews can be time-consuming. One way to simplify things and help your busy dental office be more efficient is to use dental management software that automatically collects and posts reviews to all the top online review sites, such as Yelp and Google+.
Finally, amplify the power of your online reviews by sharing them on social media. Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to add reviews and posts to Facebook from within its portal. Be sure to ask your Facebook followers for reviews, too.