Your dental practice’s reputation and business is often defined by the quality and quantity of reviews your patients leave on online websites. More than 92% of customers, across all industries, search and read online reviews before they make a purchase decision. It’s much the same in the healthcare sector, with more than 88% of patients reading online reviews and their choice of which doctor to see is largely based on the number of positive reviews you have on such key sites as Google and Facebook.
As the owner of a dental practice, it’s important that your patients not only have a great experience, but that they also are encouraged to share their experience by leaving a positive review for your practice. So, how can dentists encourage patients to write reviews without coming across as pushy?
It’s usually not as easy as simply by asking your patients to review your practice once you’re done with their treatment, so here are a few tips that can improve your chances getting lots of positive reviews from your patients:
- Have a presence on as many review sites as possible: You can’t expect your patients to be available on the review platform of your choice, so the best approach is to list your dental practice on several review site, and especially focus on the most popular ones. Doing this manually can be time consuming, but it will ensure your patients can find you on a review platform that they already use.
- Check-in on patients before they check out: You’re probably already doing this, but it bears repeating — once your patients are out of the chair, it’s important for you to ensure they are satisfied with their dental procedure. This will not just give you an opportunity to check on the patient’s sentiment, but also allow you to immediately address any concerns. And if the patient is happy with the appointment and treatment, you can thank them and request them to review your practice online. You might even suggest a review platform where you want them to add that feedback.
- Following up helps: Some patients won’t be interested in talking about how their treatment went right after receiving it, so you should try to keep the channel open by following up with them over the next couple of days. You might try sending a text message or a quick email thanking them for their visit and requesting they write about their experience on a website you link to in the email.
- Printed handouts: Apart from sending out emails a couple of days after the appointment, you can also handout a one-page sheet to thank your patients for their visit and request them to rate and review their experience online. You can make it more convenient for them by adding simple instructions of the reviewing process for the website that you have chosen.
- Add links to review platforms on your website: Some of your patients likely visited your website before they booked an appointment, so make sure that your site has links to review platforms on which patients can review your practice. Alongside these links, you may also consider adding a short video of the reviewing process for those patients who’d rather not read instructions but would want to follow a video demonstration.
- Post a sign in the waiting room: Posting a sign in your waiting room for your waiting patients to read may help encourage new reviews. Be sure the sign is eye catching and includes the website address you want them to use access the review site. But before you do this, think about whether yours is a practice that is able to keep to your appointment schedule. The last thing you want is a waiting room full of bored patients looking for a place to complain about a long wait. As long as that’s not an issue, a few brights might really help remind patients to leave feedback.
- Reward your reviewers: No, we don’t mean that you should offer free teeth cleaning to patients who leave positive reviews. A better approach (and one that won’t get you in trouble with review sites) is to make it a practice to respond to all your happy patients with a “thank you” note on their review. This not only provides positive reinforcement for your happy patients, it also encourages new patients to write a review for your dental practice. You can even share your best reviews on your practice’s website and on social media pages to further inspire new patients to leave feedback
Even after following all the above mentioned, if you are not able to receive a lot of responses, here are two tips that can help increase your response rate and get more positive reviews for your dental practice.
- Always remember that you’re asking a favor from your patients when you ask them to write a review.
- Clearly define how you benefit from your patients’ reviews. Let patients know that this simple step can help other potential patients understand what they can expect at your practice.
With these simple tips you’ll be able to generate reviews to address those 88% patients who’re looking for them online before they make a choice. Once this step is done, it’s time for you to have a review management strategy that helps you use these online reviews to better your website’s search ranking and get more patients.