Whether you love it or hate it, the reality is that patient reviews are a significant factor in potential new patients’ decision on which dentist to choose. Consequently, it is vital for you to monitor and manage your online reviews, and to encourage satisfied patients to write reviews. Here is what you need to know.
To manage your patient reviews, you first need to know where they are. Your practice is likely listed on some of these sites already, while others require you to take active steps to create a listing. Search each site to see if your dental practice is there, and then update any inaccurate information such as your business name, address, or phone number. For sites where you are not yet listed, create a listing as soon as possible. Major review sites include:
Yelp: Yelp covers all types of businesses and service professionals, and it is currently considered a market leader in review sites. Make sure you have an accurate, up to date listing, as many of your patients and prospects will naturally gravitate there.
Angie’s List: Angie’s List charges a small monthly fee to see your reviews. This charge is generally worth it, though, as the site has positioned itself as an excellent place to find trustworthy professionals in many different service categories.
Google: Google’s My Business pages are an interesting hybrid. Reviews from other sites are regularly aggregated there, and users can also write reviews directly on your page. It is absolutely vital to claim your page and ensure that your business information is accurate. Since so many people start with a Google search, reviews on your Google My Business page can make or break your quest to attract new patients.
Of course, there are numerous other review sites as well. Run a quick Google search to find those that seem relevant to your practice and your geographic location. Besides correcting inaccurate information, consider uploading photos to each listing to provide more insight into your practice.
The best way to get reviews is simply to ask for them. Consider offering your existing patients a small incentive, such as a free toothbrush or a few dollars off the next cleaning, in exchange for a review. Be sure to provide specific instructions on which review site(s) you prefer and how to go about leaving a review.
Managing Bad Reviews
No matter how hard you try, you cannot satisfy everyone. Sooner or later, you will receive a negative review. The best way to manage it is to face it head on with diplomacy, concern, and tact. Publicly respond to the review. Ask for clarification if needed, but be careful not to come across as confrontational. Apologize for the situation and offer a resolution.
You do not need to engage with someone hostile or offer rewards that far outweigh the severity of the patient’s experience, but a genuine apology and attempt to resolve will go a long way toward influencing the opinions of others who read the review, if not the person who left it. No matter how tempting it may be, never attempt to remove a negative review except in the most extreme cases.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.