85% of people consider online reviews just as trustworthy as a recommendation from someone they know. According to Zendesk, 90% of people are influenced by positive online reviews and 86% by negative reviews. Online research has become a major factor in people’s decision making, and online dental clinic reviews are no exception to this growing trend.
Positive dental clinic reviews are crucial
Patient reviews of dentists, in particular positive ones, will help grow your clinic. Good comments for dentists and clinics are what entice new patients and persuade others to switch dentists. It’s your best form of free advertising – people trust reviews because you can’t pay for them. They’re honest accounts of other people’s experiences.
Positive dental reviews also help your search engine rankings. Search engines like Google are constantly making changes to their algorithms to show the best results. Positive dental reviews tell Google that your clinic is highly recommended, and it will in turn rank you higher.
Considering how impactful they are, a strategy around online dental reviews is important as part of your overall dental marketing plan.
Getting dental clinic reviews
Before you even think about online reviews, you have to make sure you’re providing excellent dental service that would encourage patients to leave a positive review. This includes friendly service, a convenient omnichannel experience, and a well-managed dental schedule.
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Make sure your dental clinic is listed on the main review sites so that patients can leave dentist reviews if they feel like:
The first step to getting online reviews is simply to ask – 70% of people will review if asked.
But it’s important to keep in mind that most patients won’t leave dentist reviews unless it requires minimal effort. Below are some ways you can make it easy for patients to leave a review:
- Add a link to one of the review sites on your website
- Include a link in your email signature
- Send an email campaign asking for feedback and reviews
- Send a snail-mail request with the link
- Send patients a follow-up text two days after the appointment
Always respond to reviews
Getting reviews is only one part of it; you have to actively monitor and respond as well. How you respond to reviews affects your clinic reputation.
If it was a positive dental review, thank your patients. When you respond to reviews it tells both current and prospective patients that by taking the time to craft a response, you care about them. If your team has the bandwidth, you should be responding to all dental clinic reviews.
Yes, even negative reviews
Unfortunately, negative dental clinic reviews are unavoidable. The good news is that if you only had 5-star reviews, it tends to come across as unrealistic and patients may think that you purchased reviews.
No one is perfect 100% of the time. The important thing is to respond to patients and try to turn the experience into a positive one. Negative dental clinic reviews provide you with invaluable feedback about your clinic; every negative review is a learning experience and an opportunity to improve clinic processes.
When responding to dental clinic reviews, especially negative ones, it’s extremely important to keep all federal and provincial privacy laws in mind. These laws are in place to ensure that you do not violate patient privacy. Dentists are not allowed to respond in a way that exposes patient information or even acknowledge the individual was at their clinic without the patient’s written consent. So while a patient can share details about their appointment and the dentist or clinic, you cannot respond with any information specific to that patient.
While you have to take extra precautions to make sure you’re adhering to privacy laws, it’s crucial to respond. Sometimes you may not be able to change the mind of the patient who wrote the review, but its public nature means that many current and potential patients are watching how you respond. Your responses can influence their decision on whether or not to do, or continue doing, business with you.
You can mitigate negative reviews with these tips:
- Exercise empathy: Patients who wrote a negative review are not happy. When you express empathy by showing you understand where they’re coming from, it goes a long way to assuage their frustration.
- Show a willingness to address their problem: If and where possible, let them know that you’ll be looking into the issue they brought up.
- Don’t take it personally: It can be hard not to feel attacked when reading negative reviews but it’s important to take these as chances to improve your clinic. Wait at least a day before responding to the negative review so that you have a chance to cool down.
- Own up to the mistake: If it is a legitimate complaint, avoid acting defensive or pointing fingers. It doesn’t resolve anything and casts your clinic in a bad light. Apologize that they didn’t have a great experience and offer to reach out to the patient personally to address the problem.
- Use the right tone: When responding to reviews, avoid using a lecturing or patronizing tone and don’t use technical jargon that your patients may not understand.
- Keep it short: Avoid going back and forth in an online argument with the patient. It doesn’t reflect well to have that type of discussion in such a public forum and will likely violate privacy laws. If the response requires further follow up, take it offline and offer to contact the patient directly.
Using online reviews to grow your clinic include asking for and responding to them. Responding to reviews—whether good or bad—could win you new patients and increase patient retention.
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