You’re undoubtedly sick of hearing about how your practice needs a digital marketing strategy, to build a social media presence and why you should learn about SEO. While the dental industry relies heavily (and successfully) on patients’ word-of-mouth to refer and find dentists, there’s a digital alternative that you should be paying attention to: online reviews.
Online reviews are the internet’s platform to refer and find top-rated restaurants, reliable businesses and well-respected dentists. The problem? Anyone can say anything about your practice. The benefit? Unlike word-of-mouth, you have a chance to respond and repair any damage done by a negative review. Online reviews allow you, as a dentist and business owner, to see what patients are saying and take control of how you’re perceived. Often times these reviews will be monitored by a third party, or internal staff member, but it’s important that you understand what is being posted and how you should respond.
Patients’ number one factor in choosing a practice is the dentist. Online reviews provide the perfect opportunity to communicate and thank patients for their kind words. This not only solidifies a stronger bond with them, but shows potential patients that you care and are always available. This could be a standard reply to each positive review, with an internal note made to thank the patient again in person at their next visit.
Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter way to handle negative reviews. You may have a standard response apologizing and asking for the patient to contact you. You may also choose to personalize each response slightly to show others that you take time for each patient individually. Whatever you do, do not get defensive or upset online. Remember: anything you post and say, even if deleted, will live forever online.
Most online review platforms allow you to fill in contact information (location, hours, parking availability, services offered, website, etc.). This is a fantastic, and free, way to offer details about your practice for potential patients who haven’t visited your website yet. These are also the most important factors to potential patients when choosing a new practice, so having the information readily available makes their choice even easier.
There are many ways patients will hear about your practice, and you can’t always be there to defend yourself or thank them, so take advantage of online reviews as a chance to prove your professionalism and expertise. Position yourself for success by using online reviews as a marketing strategy, and to send the message you want patients to hear, wherever they may be.
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