Hi Dentists. Does Your Reputation Management Strategy Have Teeth?

Satya Kandala

7 min read Last Updated Sep 17, 2020

Today all good things come with reviews. Think about it. Have you come across any fabulous products or services that didn’t have any reviews? Probably not. Today we judge how good a product or service is by its star-rating and reviews. Almost 80% of patients browse through reviews as their first step towards finding a new doctor and this is why dentists’ reputation management is so important for dentists.

Did you know that healthcare is one of the top three industries where reviews are most read? With reviews playing such a vital role in consumers’ decision making, it is essential that your reputation management strategy has teeth or power.

Take Brockport Smiles, for example. They are a one-location dental practice located in Brockport, New York. Before they started focusing on their online reputation management, the dental practice had very few reviews on Google. The lack of reviews on Google also meant that they had low visibility. After sending out automated review requests in the past year and a half, the dental practice went from just 3 reviews to over 330 reviews on Google. 

Since reviews are such an important factor for Google’s search algorithm, Brockport Smiles is now ranking in the local map pack: they are one of the top three practices in search results. The practice stands far above competitors when it comes to reviews and social proof, making it the obvious choice in the area. 

Dental reputation management

Why is reputation management key for dentists?

So, why is it important for dentists? If you practice great patient care, patients are going to come to you. Right? Maybe yes or maybe not. Reputation management helps you become the obvious choice. Online reputation is the new word of mouth. Here are a few reasons why dentists need to monitor their reputation:

  1. Social proof: Social proof is just proof of customer happiness. A few years ago, it used to be asking your neighbor who their dentist was and if they were happy. Today, we look it up online. Make sure that your website and social media reflect how happy your patients are with you. That starts with a higher number of positive reviews and a great star-rating.
  2. High Ranking in Search Results: Google reviews help in Google search rankings. This is because Google places a high value on user-generated content, which includes reviews when it picks up signals in its search algorithm. While Google is just one of the search engines out there, it’s the biggest one and special care should be taken to rank highly in its search results. Industry-specific sites such as Zocdoc also add a lot of credibility and will help your site to rank high.

Tips for a good online reputation strategy for dentists

Want to start working on dentist reputation management? Here are some things you can do to get started.

Always send review requests.

Most of your patients are probably more than happy to leave you a review if they had a good experience at your dental practice. It really comes down to you to make sure that the process of leaving reviews is as simple as it can be. This includes sending them a review request with a link to the site you are requesting a review at. 

Use reviews prominently on your website.

Your job isn’t done after sending review requests to your patients. Remember, your happy patients are your best advertisement. You should be showing them off (with permission, of course) on your website. Use them creatively and liberally. And don’t worry, your future patients are very interested in this information. 

Post best reviews on social media.

There is a reason why Mark Zuckerberg made billions. People are very interested in each other and their opinions. If you are planning to get a new doctor, chances are that you will investigate them everywhere, including social media. I know I do. Your patients are no different. Checking out a person/business’s Facebook profile is almost second nature. Make sure your dental practice has an informative and impressive social media presence, rich with frequent authentic reviews and star-rating.

Have a consistent NAP.

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. If you have your listing featured at a number of places but have inconsistent information — that’s bad news. Having consistent NAP across listings is key to rank high. This consistency is a signal of prominence to search engines and it helps you rank high.

Handle negative reviews with care.

While it might be tempting to go all House MD on patients who leave negative reviews, that’s a bad idea. Nobody wants a rude dentist or doctor, even if it is Hugh Laurie. Always be polite while responding and try to steer the conversation towards personal engagement. With some personal attention, you might convince the patient to edit or remove their review. Remember that not all negative reviews are bad. Think of it as constructive feedback and a chance to keep it real. 

Follow HIPAA guidelines.

As a healthcare provider, you should always be careful to not violate HIPAA guidelines. HIPAA guidelines are in place to protect patients’ privacy. Violating HIPAA guidelines while responding to patient reviews is easier than you might think. Make sure that even your automated responses to posts are HIPAA compliant to avoid fines (or even imprisonment in some cases). 

Case study: Aspen Dental

Let me tell you a story. Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI) practices were founded in 1964 and are in over 536 locations. ADMI practices strive to remove barriers that prevent patients from obtaining good quality dental care. To this end, each ADMI-branded practice offers convenient access to a full range of affordable, comprehensive dental services, including preventive care, general dentistry, and restoration.

However, ADMI faced new challenges when they began to grow at a rapid pace in the past decade. 

The challenge: To receive a high volume of patient feedback

ADMI prides itself on providing superior customer service across each individual branded practice it supports. Expanding rapidly at a pace of 55 new practices per year, each new office needed to establish a positive presence online in order to build a local patient base. This would require generating a very high volume of new reviews. ADMI sought an efficient way to receive more reviews in order to acquire new patients for each location — without disrupting workflow within each office.

The solution: Automate review process with seamless integration with dentist reputation management

In December 2018, ADMI integrated BirdEye into its existing patient relationship management platforms to automate the review collection process. Tens of thousands of text messages are sent automatically each month at a designated trigger (think, for example, after an appointment). These in-moment requests also prompt the promotion of positive reviews across top sites. This streamlined process has allowed each ADMI office to establish a positive online presence through review generation. All of this is conducted automatically, with minimal effort from staff, from a single dashboard.

The results: More reviews, which means more patients

After adding several more locations, ADMI not only maintained its high ratings but improved its overall score nationwide from 3.8 to 4 stars. Every ADMI office receives a steady flow of authentic patient reviews through a completely automated feedback collection process. In less than three months with BirdEye, ADMI more than quadrupled its Google review count. It also more than doubled its total Facebook reviews.

A good online reputation strengthens as more positive patient reviews are received and promoted. This is key to building the trust required to draw in new patients, which ADMI’s practices did with BirdEye’s help.

How can BirdEye help you

With a powerful online reputation management tool like BirdEye, you can focus on your patients and leave all the hard work of keeping an eye (or a tooth?) on your reputation to us. BirdEye has a ton of products that go beyond just review management. With BirdEye, you can also communicate with all your patients at all points of their patient care process, via text or Webchat, from a single dashboard. This means more happy customers.

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