Smile Wide: Mastering Reputation Management for Dentists

Today, more than ever, your online reputation matters. It’s not just about how skilled you are—it’s about how patients perceive you before they even enter the door. That’s where effective reputation management strategies come into play. In this guide, we’ll specifically look at reputation management for dentists.

Throughout this installment, we’ll show you how to manage your online reputation effectively for dental practices. From handling reviews to building trust with potential patients, we’ll cover it all. Join us as we help you stand out in your local community.

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Automatically request reviews to amplify your online reputation

Why Reputation Matters for Dentists

In dentistry, your reputation is everything. After all, the mouth is very sensitive, and people won’t trust their oral health to just anyone. Potential patients rely heavily on online reviews and social proof when choosing a dentist. Positive reviews and testimonials can instill trust and confidence in a dental practice and are normally the catalyst that pushes new patients to schedule appointments. 

On the flip side, negative reviews or a lack of an online presence at all can repel prospective patients, leading them to seek dental care at a place that appears more reputable. 

Instead of solely relying on recommendations from friends or family, patients now often turn to online platforms such as Google, Yelp, and social media platforms like Facebook to find and evaluate dental practices.

As a result, dentists need to prioritize their online reputation and actively manage it to attract and retain patients. If you do not create a business listing for your practice, someone else might, and it may not be the most accurate representation of your clinic. 

That’s why it pays to be proactive. By cultivating a positive online presence through proactive reputation management strategies, dentists can better showcase their expertise, professionalism, and commitment to patient care.

Common Challenges in Dental Reputation Management

We’re not going to sugarcoat it, managing a dental practice’s reputation online comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common hurdles that dentists often encounter and ways you can mitigate them:

1. Negative Reviews

There’s no such thing as bad publicity—except if you are a dentist. Bad feedback can impact you more than you’d expect, and handling these fires promptly and professionally is the key to keeping them from going out of control. Dentists must find ways to address negative feedback while maintaining patient confidentiality and privacy, here’s some tips that can help:

  • Respond Quickly: Pretty much as soon as you notice the review appear. Ideally, within the hour, or at the latest, within a day.
  • Be Polite and Professional: No matter the context of the concern, make sure to be calm and professional, and not point fingers or use language that could reignite strong emotions.
  • Take Things Offline: This not only keeps issues more quiet but also maintains patient privacy. In your initial response, offer a phone number or email address where the client can reach you to discuss the matter further. 
  • Do Not Mention Your Name: Whether it be your name or the clinic’s name, try to avoid using it in your responses to negative reviews to avoid the feedback showing up in search results.

2. Visibility in Local Search Results

With nearly everyone using search engines to find local services, dentists need to ensure their practice appears prominently in these local search results. This involves optimizing your content to appeal to these algorithms, including your website, Google Business Profile listing, and other relevant directories, to improve visibility among your local audience

3. Managing Patient Privacy

Responding to online reviews while safeguarding patient privacy is a difficult task. Dentists must navigate HIPAA regulations and ethical considerations when addressing patient feedback, ensuring that no protected health information is disclosed in public responses.

The best way to circumvent this hurdle is by making every effort to take the conversation offline. 

Best Practices for Building a Positive Online Presence

Building a positive online presence is essential for dentists looking to attract and retain patients. Here are some best practices to consider:

1. Create a Welcoming Website

Your website serves as the online face of your dental clinic. Ensure it is user-friendly, visually appealing, and provides essential information such as the communities you serve, services that are offered, contact details, and staff bios. You should also incorporate elements that reflect your practice’s values and commitment to patient care.

2. Develop a Content Strategy

A robust content strategy can help position your practice as a trusted source of dental information. Consider creating blog posts, articles, or FAQs that address common patient questions about dental procedures, oral hygiene tips, and overall dental health. Providing valuable content showcases loud and clear that you know your stuff, and builds trust with potential patients who might be scoping your practice out.

3. Optimize Google Business Profile Listing

Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is key for improving your clinic’s local search visibility. Ensure your GBP profile is complete and accurate, including your practice name, address, phone number, and business hours. Encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews on your GBP listing to enhance credibility and attract more local patients.

4. Engage on Social Media

Social media platforms offer valuable opportunities to engage with users and showcase your practice’s personality. Regularly post updates, educational content, and helpful tips to demonstrate your commitment to patient care and community involvement. Engaging with your audience on social media humanizes your practice and helps you to build those meaningful connections.

5. Ask for Reviews

Positive reviews from satisfied patients can greatly impact your practice’s online reputation. Encourage patients to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp after their appointments. Make the review process as seamless as possible by providing clear instructions and thanking patients for their feedback. One great way is to send review requests directly via email or SMS right after their appointment so that you can capture their thoughts while the experience is still fresh in their minds.

By implementing these best practices, dentists can build a strong and positive online presence that attracts new patients and keeps them coming back.

Managing Reviews like a Pro

There are a plethora of benefits of effective reputation management, and reviews play a big role in shaping a dental practice’s online reputation. Here are some tips to better manage these reviews:

1. Encourage Positive Reviews

Satisfied patients are often willing to leave positive reviews, but they may need a gentle nudge. Train your staff to ask patients for feedback at the end of their appointments and provide them with instructions on how to leave a review. Consider including a link to your preferred review platform in post-appointment follow-up emails/texts, or on your practice website to streamline the process for patients.

2. Make it Easy

The easier you make the review process, the more likely patients are to leave feedback. Provide clear and simple instructions for leaving a review, including step-by-step guidance if necessary. Consider creating printed handouts or digital resources that patients can reference when they’re ready to leave a review. Additionally, try to ensure that your practice’s online profiles are easily accessible and optimized for review collection.

One step you can take to make this even easier for clients is to set up review request automations via a reputation management platform so that when they finish an appointment, they automatically receive a request for feedback on their smartphone. 

3. Respond Professionally

Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to patient satisfaction and professionalism. Always respond promptly to reviews, thanking patients for their feedback and acknowledging their experience. 

For positive reviews, express gratitude and highlight specific aspects of the patient’s experience that they appreciated. Try to respond promptly, and don’t be afraid to mention the name of the practice or doctor in the comment, as this can help the review appear in search results.

For negative reviews, address the patient’s concerns empathetically and offer to resolve any issues privately offline. Avoid getting defensive or engaging in arguments publicly, as this can reflect poorly on your practice. 

Just remember, no matter the sentiment of the review, you should always make every effort to abide by HIPPA confidentiality.

Pro Tip: Having trouble figuring out how to reply to feedback? You’re not alone. Check out our article: reputation management examples for local service businesses to get inspired.

4. Monitor and Manage

Regularly monitor your practice’s online review profiles to stay in the loop about new feedback. Set up alerts or notifications to receive updates whenever a new review is posted. From there, assign responsibility for review management to a designated staff member who can respond promptly and appropriately to reviews. You can also consider implementing a review management tool or software to streamline the process and ensure that no review goes unnoticed.

Leveraging Patient Feedback for Improvement

Listening to what patients have to say online can really help your dental practice better serve them in the future. Here’s how:

1. Spotting What Needs Fixing 

When patients leave reviews online, pay close attention to what they’re saying. If you notice a lot of people talking about the same problem, like long waits or unfriendly staff, it’s a sign you need to make some changes.

2. Getting Useful Info

Besides online reviews, you can also ask patients to fill out surveys. Surveys help you dig deeper into what patients think about different parts of their visit, like how long they waited or if they felt well taken care of. Use what you learn to figure out where you can improve and keep track of how you’re doing over time.

3. Getting Patients Involved

Make sure your patients know you care about what they think. Encourage them to leave reviews or take surveys by offering them something in return, like a discount on a specific service, or a chance to win a gift card to a popular restaurant. 

You can also put up signs in your office asking patients to share their thoughts online or fill out a survey—just don’t forget to include those QR codes! When patients know you’re listening, they’re more likely to speak up and help you make things better.

Shine Brightly Online with Broadly

Now more than ever, managing your dental practice’s reputation online is important. It helps you attract more patients, gain their trust, and stand out from other dentists. Remember, it’s not just about fixing bad reviews—it’s also about showing off what makes your practice great and doing everything you can to ensure every patient has a good experience.

Keep working on your online reputation over time. Stay in touch with patients, ask for feedback, and make improvements to keep your practice growing.

At Broadly, we get how important reputation management for dentists is. Our tools are here to make it easy for you to handle your online reputation, bring in new patients, and build a positive image in your community. Want to learn more? Get in touch with us today for a free demo.

Watch your online reputation transform with Broadly