It’s no secret that online reviews can make or break your business brand.

That’s why I’ve decided to put together this guide for dentists and practice owners to help understand how to use the power of online reviews to attract new patients and improve your online reputation.

I’ve mentioned in a couple of other posts about how you can gain a potential patient’s trust. But nothing even comes close to online reviews. They are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building that huge trust factor.

Dentistry is one of those professions where reputation means everything. No matter how good you are as a dentist, if the general public looks at you unfavorably, your new patient numbers are going to down.

Even if those negative reviews are fake or unfair, your reputation in the local community will suffer and this could mean the difference between running a successful practice to new heights or running a practice right into the ground.

By sharing with you the advice in this guide, we hope to help you build a successful online brand that can help you dominate your local market.

More than 70% of all consumers trust online reviews as much (or more!) than they do personal recommendations.

Nearly 9 out of 10 people will call the dental practice with a 5 star Google review first. New patients want a doctor with this type of online reputation.

Prospective patients trust online reviews when choosing a dentist, so how can you make sure your practice’s reviews are sending the right message?

1. Have a strategy in place to ask patients to give you reviews after you provided them with successful service.

2. Have a system in place to monitor your existing reviews on a monthly basis.

3. If you have negative reviews, make sure you respond and handle them properly

source: www.invespcro.com

What to focus on?

Ok. Before we go all crazy and get overwhelmed with how BIG the internet is, there are only 3 big mediums you need to take care of.

Reviews need to be posted where patients are searching for dentists. We like to call these sites “The Big 3”, also known as Google, Yelp & Facebook.

Many dental marketing companies are telling you to get reviews on what we call “second tier sites” like Demandforce, Lighthouse, ZocDoc, YellowPages, Insiderpages, Healthgrades. Let’s be clear! Your online reputation matters no matter the medium, but you need reviews where people will actually search for you.

When you look for a reputable business online, what’s your go-to search method? I guarantee your answer isn’t a third-party review site. The same is true for dental practices. People aren’t going to those third-party sites to look for your practice, so why waste time to have reviews posted on them?

When we are talking about the online world, we recommend a simple solution. You ask your patient for the review, provide a click to go to Google, Yelp, or Facebook and that’s it! When you are sending them to any other websites you miss out on getting a high rating where it matters.

Use online reviews to attract new patients

Online reviews can be one of the most powerful tools available to attract new patients to your practice. Patient reviews can affect your dental practice in the following ways:

1.  Reviews actively help you and your staff engage with and understand your patient’s needs.

2. Google, Yelp & Facebook reviews improve your practice’s visibility and ranking online in search results.

3. Online reviews automatically build trust with potential new patients by using your reputation to actively market your practice online.

How to implement these strategies?

These strategies can help you get positive patient reviews published online.

Strategy #1: Get Your Staff On Board

If your staff isn’t used to asking patients for reviews, the process might seem awkward. That’s why we’ve provided 3 tips you can use to make it easy for your staff and your patients.

  • Only choose 1-2 of your BEST patients each day to ask for a review.
  • Create and post a scannable QR code in your office. Patients can scan it with their smartphones to leave a Google/Yelp/Facebook review right away.
  • Add a review link or button to follow-up emails you send every patient after an appointment

5 Simple Steps To Use When Asking For Reviews

1. Ask the patient if they will do you a favor and write a review.

2. Tell them it will take less than 5 min.

3. Explain how your practice and others in the community would benefit from a review.

4. Tell them the easiest way to write a review (use their phone, or click a link in an email you will send)

5. Thank them and let them know you look forward to reading their comments.

Use this sample script to ask your patients for online reviews

Once you or your hygienist ask the patient for a review, this is how you can follow through with the process to make sure you get one. Dentist or hygienist walks the patient to front counter after the appointment is complete and says the following to the front-desk staff member:

Dentist/Hygienist: Thomas has offered to write a review for us. Will you please email him a link so he can post one on Google, Yelp or Facebook? (Or if you’re using a QR code posted in the office, have your staff member show the patient how to scan).

Front Desk Staff: Thank you so much for offering to write a review, Thomas. I know Dr. Jones is looking forward to reading your comments.

Front Desk Staff: May I get your primary email address, please? I’d like to send you a follow-up email that makes it easy for you to post your review.

Patient: Sure (provides email address or scans QR code)

Front Desk Staff: Thanks again for agreeing to post a review, it really means a lot to us and to our reputation for you to share your opinion of our office online. Do you have any questions about the process I can answer?

Strategy #2: Focus On The BIG 3. Make It Easy For Patients To Leave Reviews

Your dental patients are consumers, just like all of us, who want leaving a review to be as easy as possible.

If you have a complicated multi-step process for them to go through to leave a review, they just won’t do it. There are a variety of ways to ask your patients to leave a review, but we like to focus on the 2 easiest ways to make sure a patient will actually post a review online.

1. Add a “Review Us Online” link to your practice’s follow-up emails you send every patient after an appointment. This makes it extremely easy for a patient to remember you asked them to leave a review.

2. Feature a “Review Us” plugin page on your practice’s website where patients can leave a review and choose whether to post it to Google, Yelp or Facebook.

Google Review Business Link

  1. Be sure to claim your business and keep it up to date at Google Business.
  2. Navigate the Google Place ID page and search for your business.
  3. Your business’ Place ID will be visible. Copy your Place ID.
  4. Then paste the Place ID in the following URL:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid={insert Place ID}

Yelp Review Business Link

  1. Find your business on Yelp and you can just click Write a Review to find your review page.

https://www.yelp.com/writeareview/biz/{your business ID}

Facebook Review Business Link

  1. Navigate to your Facebook page and simply add /reviews/ to the URL:

https://www.facebook.com/{your business page}/reviews

BONUS: What to do when you get a bad review

1. When possible, respond promptly and personally to address any legitimate concern and offer the reviewer a way to come to a resolution rather than posting hurtful comments

2. Take the problem offline. For example, send an email or call the patient and speak privately with them

3. Always be polite when responding to a negative review. Resist the urge to be drawn into the back and forth. That never ends well and always paints your practice in a bad light

4. Take negative reviews seriously, but with a grain of salt. Most bad reviews are not out there to hurt you personally, they could just have had a bad day. If a mistake was made by your practice, offer a fix and then move on.

5. See the good in a negative review. If all your reviews are 5 stars, people will assume they are not all real. Can you blame them? No one is perfect 100% of the time. Sometimes a bad review can bring a little bit of realness to your practice and contribute to building your trust factor also.

What Not To Do When Asking For Patient Reviews

Before starting to implement the above strategies take a moment a look at what you can’t do while asking for reviews on the BIG 3. You don’t want to be penalized or have reviews removed because you did something shady.

Google Reviews Don’ts

  • Do not review yourself or ask employees to review your practice
  • Do not offer incentives or rewards in exchange for a positive review
  • Do not set up an iPad stand in the office so patients can leave a review

Yelp Reviews Don’ts

  • Trust is highly valued with Yelp. Do not try to pay Yelp to alter or remove reviews
  • Don’t ask patients directly to leave you reviews on Yelp. Just mention to them that you are listed on Yelp or have sign in your office that says “listed on Yelp”. Make them aware but don’t be pushy.

Facebook Reviews Don’ts

  • Facebook’s review system is the most lenient out of all the 3 but it can be the most impactful if done right. Generally, follow the same rules as for Google and your practice should be fine.

Let’s Recap The Main Ideas In This Guide

A strong, positive online presence is vital to growing your dental practice and online reviews are a large part of your digital footprint. Make sure you’re giving them the attention they deserve and making them an integral part of your practice’s marketing plan.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to grow your practice’s online reputation and attract the new patients you want using online reviews:

1. Get your staff members to buy into the importance of online reviews and enlist their help in asking patients to leave reviews

2. Decide on an easy process to use to ask and get patient reviews (Plugin on the website, a link in a follow-up email, etc.)

3. Choose your best 2-3 patients each day to ask for a review.

4. Do a Google search for your practice once a month and respond professionally to any negative reviews.

5. Focus your reviews on Google, Yelp & Facebook. Don’t waste time asking patients to leave reviews on 3rd party websites!

—–


My name is Andrei Constantin and I’m the co-founder of Atom Leads, a digital marketing agency that loves helping local dentists thrive in the online world by creating results-based digital marketing systems that bring in more opportunities for their practice.