For dental businesses in a digital age, having a presence on online review platforms is more important than ever. A survey conducted in 2019 by Iron Monk revealed that when searching for a dentist, 43.3 percent chose based on online reviews. This means online reviews are a major factor for dentists looking to grow their clientele.
While it’s normal to feel nervous about receiving public feedback, online reviews can actually work in your favor. Having no reviews at all can leave potential clients feeling like they are in the dark about your practice, which might make them select a different practitioner. Here are a few reasons to build and maintain a positive online reputation, and some tips to help you do so.
Reviews Help Customers Find Your Dental Office
Reviews help with Search Engine Optimization, driving your dental practice further up in a Google search than practices with fewer or lower-rated reviews. Reviews are now the second most important factor in local ratings (the first being links). If you’re looking for new clients, reviews are one of the best ways for these clients to find you when searching for a local dentist on the web.
Quantity and Quality of Reviews Matter
According to a survey conducted by Bright Local, 70 percent of people look at multiple reviews before deciding to use a business, and 47 percent of people wouldn’t even consider using a business with less than a 4-star rating. However, fake reviews (reviewing yourself, getting friends to review you multiple times, paying an online service to generate reviews for you) are not the answer. 68 percent of respondents from the same Bright Local survey reported having spotted a fake review in the past year, which made them more suspicious of the high star rating the business touted. Make sure reviews do not violate the terms and conditions of specific review sites like Yelp, because these reviews can be listed as “not currently recommended,” which may be a red flag for some savvy consumers.
Claiming Your Dental Practice Online
Currently, the three biggest review sites are Google, Yelp, and Facebook. These sites all have ways that local businesses can claim or verify their practice to keep information correct, like hours and contact information.
Google has a marketing kit for Google My Business. This kit also includes instructions on how to verify your business.
Yelp has a site where you can claim and manage your listing. Furthermore, there’s a form where businesses can request “Find Us on Yelp” stickers to place on the door of their practices. This gives clients the idea to write a review in case they hadn’t previously considered it.
Facebook has a Business Manager function where business owners can add their business page. Facebook gives the option to turn off reviews (the default is that they are turned on) but keeping the review function on shows your willingness to be transparent.
Tell Your Patients
Most of your clients with whom you have a positive rapport would be happy to write a five-star review. However, they might not think to do so. If you have a great relationship with a client, remind them that this is an option. Or make a sign for your waiting area telling your clients to give you a review. Even just a few reviews will help put your practice on the map.
Use Negative Reviews to Reflect and Improve
While there are costly services that claim they will erase negative reviews, the best thing to do is to avoid receiving those reviews in the first place. If you do have a few one or two-star reviews, look for patterns. Is there a recurring complaint that billing is a nightmare or that the front office staff is unprofessional? Consider implementing a new training or business process that could improve upon these specific parts of your practice.
While reviews may seem daunting, they can ultimately be an excellent growth tool, helping you improve and expand your dental business.
It goes without saying, another way to help you grow and expand your practice is by participating in quality dental continuing education courses as well. The Dawson Academy’s dental CE courses were developed as a complete plan for general dentists, specialists, dental lab technicians and dental practice team members whose goal is to develop a highly effective dental practice.