Online reviews for dentists

Your online presence is as critical to your business as the goods or services you provide. Few things in the modern world are as important to businesses as online reviews. Potential patients trust reviews and seek them out on multiple review sites.

Think about it: most people have access to the internet, whether on their computer, their smartphone or tablet or even on their gaming consoles. Before settling on which dentist to see, most people scour the internet in search of reviews to inform them on which practice is the best choice. Getting more online reviews has become the word of mouth in the twenty-first century and can have a big impact on helping a dental practice gain new patients.

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Effects reviews have on your dental practice

People take reviews seriously. 84% of people trust online reviews from strangers as much as they trust recommendations from people they know. Now, 5 star reviews on the internet can make all the difference. Reviews alone won’t suffice if many of them are low rated. Good online reviews are key.

Let’s break this down so you can better understand the effect, and the importance, of positive online reviews. Let’s say you’re hungry, but you can’t decide on which restaurant to visit. Two new diners have opened in town recently, but you don’t know anyone who’ve tried them. Do you flip a coin and hope for the best? Or do you jump online and seek out reviews? If you’re like most people these days, you open a search engine in your browser and start reading.

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Of the two new diners, one has fifteen five-star reviews, and the other has nine two-star reviews. What is your reaction to these findings? Do you buck the trend and try the diner with lesser reviews or do you view it with skepticism, assuming so many low rated reviews from strangers might indicate larger problems? It’s possible that you’ve done something similar in regards to a restaurant, business, or even a book or movie. And you aren’t  alone.

80% of people won’t even consider using a business if it doesn’t have an aggregate of three to five-star reviews.

Online reviews help inform consumer behavior  these days. They can help potential patients find a good new dentist, or they can warn them to avoid an unpleasant one. If you’ve ever responded to online reviews or if you’ve ever allowed them to inform your opinions, then you know how important they are.. As a dentist or an administrator running a dental practice, you absolutely shouldn’t assume that your patients and potential patients are exceptions to the rule.

How to get more reviews for your dentist office

It might sound too simple or obvious, but the best way to generate testimonials is to ask for online reviews. Believe it or not, asking works. According to online review statistics, 70% of people will leave reviews if you ask them. It’s astonishing to think it’s that simple, but it truly works.

You can ask for reviews or feedback in person, in the form of follow up emails, mail, or a feedback box located in your office. Keep in mind: however if you’re going to request a review, be sure to tell your patient in-person how they can leave you a review. For example, if you’re going to send an email tell them that! They’re more likely to leave you a review if they’re anticipating the request.

When reviews of your dental practice appear online, read them and pay attention to what your patients say and how they interact with them. If their reviews were positive, thank them and express humility. Display empathy and a willingness to address their problems or complaints if they wrote a negative review.

Most important review sites for dentists

You can use several websites to increase your exposure and monitor reviews.

Yelp Reviews

Yelp is one example. In fact, many dental practices seem to dismiss the importance of Yelp. As a site dedicated to providing reviews of businesses, it’s an important place to get reviews. In fact, fifty-one percent of all dentists allow their Yelp review pages to go unclaimed. If you don’t claim your Yelp page, then you might lose out on crucial and important reviews from satisfied patients.

Google Reviews

Google My Business is another important review site. It’s a social media page combining the personal and friendly atmosphere of Facebook with the business sensibilities of LinkedIn. Like Facebook, people post reviews, compliments, and recommendations of businesses. It’s populated by millions of people and could play an important role in your business. On Google reviews, you can interact with patients more in-depth than on a page like Yelp.

As with Yelp, forty-five percent of dental practices haven’t claimed a Google + page. Imagine the patients and potential patients you could interact with if you joined Google’s social network.

Facebook Reviews

Facebook is the most visible and populated social media site on the internet. Millions of Americans visit it on a daily basis. They discuss nearly every facet of their lives on there, sharing details and events both large and small with their online friends. Praise and complaints of local businesses, including dentists, are posted and traded daily. These posts could shine a positive or negative light on your practice, either helping or hurting your dental social reputation.

Negative Reviews

Despite your abilities, experience, and professional work, you’re bound to deal with some patients who won’t have wonderful things to say about you or your practice. You can’t please all the people all the time, as the cliché goes—and it’s true. No matter how hard you try, no matter how professionally you behave, you’ll inevitably encounter patients who you seemingly can’t satisfy.

Some of them will take their complaints online. Although you should make it a point to thank people who leave positive reviews while appearing humble and expressing humility, you should also not ignore negative reviews. Even if you disagree with a negative review, even if it upsets you, you should approach it with an evenhandedness and a level head.

Personally, respond to each negative review. Express empathy by articulating that you understand their frustrations, complaints, and so on. Apologize and reiterate the key points of their complaints to convey that you’ve weighed and considered the issues troubling them. If possible, try to offer help or a way to correct or rectify the situation that upset them.

This personal touch could inspire people more than the slickest marketing campaign. Remember, people read reviews. Chances are, they’ll also read your response to reviews and see how you handled the situation. If you respond with empathy, sensitivity, and professionalism, it might change the minds of those who wrote the negative reviews. It could also inform the opinion of people casually reading the review and your response, winning you new admirers and possibly even patients in the process.

Treat every negative review as a learning experience. If negative reviews inundate your practice across several social media sites, then you might consider seriously taking the central complaints to heart. Perhaps you’re behaving in some way to alienate your patients. Perhaps your practice ushers people and in and out in cold and uninviting ways. In addition to addressing reviews online, you should set your ego or pride aside and try to listen to complaints and learn from them.

Final thoughts on reviews for dentists

Dental marketing isn’t simply dumping money into ad campaigns. It entails how you interact with your patients, how you take care of them, and how you respond to their praise and criticisms. Creating an online presence on a variety of platforms could increase your exposure. Knowing how to handle and respond to review—both good and bad—could win you new patients and increase the loyalty of existing patients.

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