How Top Dental Practices Beat The Competition Using Online Reviews

Dental practices differ in many ways across the country - from location to services offered, to the atmosphere they promote within their offices - each practice is unique.

The one thing they all have in common is that every practice needs to develop dentistry marketing techniques that shrink the new patient gap: that difference between the number of new patients your practice sees and the number of new patients you want to see.

With so many options out there, how do you choose which direction to focus your dentistry marketing into in order to get the best new patients in the door?

When Being The Best Dentist Just Isn’t Enough

Your practice consistently provides new patients with a high-quality dental experience. Your team is professional and friendly when it comes to patient interaction from the receptionist to the hygienist to you, the dentist. Somehow, it still doesn’t seem to be doing the job and getting new patients in the door. What’s missing?

Online reviews.

All of us are familiar with online reviews in one form or another. When we’re out and about in a new area, looking for the best dining experience, the first thing we reach for is our phone to do a quick Google or Yelp search for a restaurant with the highest rating.

The same is true when potential new patients are looking for the best dental services in the area. Online reviews are vital because even the best marketing campaign can’t replace the value of a good review from a current or previous patient.

According to a survey done by BrightLocal, 92% of new patients read online reviews before choosing a dentist. Some admit to only checking the reviews, without even looking at the practice’s website, in order to form their opinion.

Dentistry is a field where reputation means everything. No matter how talented you are as a dentist, if the general public looks at you unfavorably, you won’t be able to attract the new patients you need.

Even if those negative opinions are unfounded, your reputation in your local community could mean the difference between a successful practice and one that suffers from year to year, eventually closing its doors.

  • More than 70% of all consumers trust online reviews as much (or more!) than they do personal recommendations.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 people will call a dental practice with a 5 star Google review first. New patients want a dentist with this type of online reputation.

Prospective patients trust online reviews when choosing a dentist, so how can you make sure your practice’s reviews are sending the right message?

Click below to download the 100% FREE dental insider’s guide: Online Reputation Management For Dentists

Get The Guide Now

5 Simple Steps To Use When You Ask A Patient For A Review

  1. Ask the patient if they will do you a favor and write a review.
  2. Tell them it will take less than 5 minutes.
  3. Explain how your practice and others in the community would benefit from a review.
  4. Tell them the easiest way to write a review (use their phone, or click a link in an email you will send)
  5. Thank them and let them know you look forward to reading their comments.

If you’re actively asking patients to review your practice, you will inevitably have to handle the occasional negative review. So how do you respond?

There are so many suggestions out there when it comes to how to handle bad reviews, but not all of them make practical sense and many can just make the situation worse.

It can be difficult, but try to see the good in a negative review!

It may seem counterintuitive, but having a few negative reviews actually makes a dental practice feel more genuine, especially if you respond well to both positive and negative reviews.

When replying to a negative review online, think of it as for the benefit of future readers/potential new patients not for the person who left the review.

It's an opportunity to send a general reply that shows your office cares about each patient's experience and is engaged with your online community.

5 Ways To Professionally Respond To Negative Review

  1.  When possible, respond personally & promptly to address any legitimate concern and offer the reviewer a way to come to a resolution rather than posting inflammatory comments.
  2.  Be sure to follow HIPAA guidelines and avoid addressing the patient’s personalized treatment (even if the patient mentioned it in their review).
  3.  Take the problem offline and speak privately to the patient via email or over the phone if that information is provided.
  4.  Always be polite when responding to a negative review. Resist the urge to be drawn into a back-and-forth, he-said/she-said situation. That never ends well and always paints your practice in a negative light.
  5.  Take negative reviews seriously, but with a grain of salt. Most negative reviewers aren’t out to defame you personally, they could have just had a bad day. If a mistake was made by your practice, admit it and move to correct it.

See the good in a negative review. If all your reviews are 5 stars, patients tend to assume they aren’t all legitimate.

Can you blame them?

No one is perfect 100% percent of the time. Sometimes a negative review can contribute to building trust in your practice rather than diminishing it.

A strong, positive online presence is vital to growing your dental practice and online reviews are a large part of your digital footprint. Make sure you’re giving them the attention they deserve and making them an integral part of your practice’s marketing plan.

Ready to take the next step toward enhancing your dental practice’s online reputation?

Click below to download the 100% FREE dental insider’s guide: Online Reputation Management For Dentists

Get The Guide Now

Post originally published July 2016 and has been updated to include the latest dental marketing information.

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Daniel Morrissey, CEO

Daniel Morrissey

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