Successfully promoting a dental practice requires a level of dental marketing and advertising that encompasses everything from social media know-how to accruing positive patient reviews.
Successfully promoting a dental practice requires a level of dental marketing and advertising that encompasses everything from social media know-how to accruing positive patient reviews. Reviews, in particular, are a goldmine for prospective patients. According to PatientPop, 89.3 percent of patients say positive patient reviews and a strong star rating are important when choosing a dentist or other healthcare providers.
A positive review from a stranger can be equivalent to a recommendation from a close friend or family member. About three out of four people (78 percent) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to BrightLocal.
If the majority of prospective patients make reviews a priority, then you should, too. Read on to learn how to get more patient reviews for your dental practice as well as how to best manage your online reputation.
Best practices for collecting patient feedback
When collecting patient feedback, it is imperative that you focus on tactics that will bring you the best results.
A great tactic to consider is sending automated patient satisfaction surveys. These are ideal because they are automated, saving your front office staff time and are deployed at strategic intervals to ensure a maximum response rate. An effective delivery cadence also gives patients multiple opportunities to respond. You and your staff may not have time to send surveys manually. If you do have time, you may not be sending surveys at the optimal times for your patients to give feedback.
Requesting patient feedback should not be done solely online. Dentists should also teach their staff best practices for requesting feedback in person. Coach staff to check in with patients before they leave. Simple questions like “How was your visit today?” and “Were you able to easily schedule your visit with us?” can prompt valuable feedback. If patients’ responses are positive, instruct staff to ask whether they would be willing to share their experiences by writing an online testimonial.
Asking for and giving reviews is commonplace in many industries. Chances are your patients periodically leave reviews for other businesses, so they likely will be happy to leave one for your dental practice.
Online reputation management best practices
A large part of collecting feedback is monitoring and appropriately replying to the reviews you’ve already received. Online reputation management means ensuring prospective patients are seeing helpful reviews, so they are persuaded to learn more about your practice and, ultimately, schedule an appointment.
Monitoring popular sites for patient feedback can help you get ahead. Your practice may be listed on dozens of business and dental directories. If you are not utilizing reputation management software that automatically monitors for new reviews, then prioritize the more popular ones. Sites that are most utilized by patients are Google, WebMD, Yelp, Healthgrades, and Facebook, according to PatientPop.
Monitoring for reviews is only half of the online reputation management battle -appropriately replying to feedback is also critical. Some 70 percent of people say it’s “very important” or “moderately important” for providers to respond publicly to online reviews, according to Software Advice. Furthermore, 89 percent of people read a business’s response to reviews, according to BrightLocal.
When replying to reviews, be quick, concise, and careful. The ideal response window is within 24 hours after a review has been posted. If you miss the window, reply as soon as you can. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), dentists are prohibited from confirming a reviewer is a patient or divulging patient information, so keeping responses brief is best. The longer your reply, the more likely you are to reveal protected health information (PHI) or appear defensive.
Fraudulent reviews are a different case and should be reported immediately. These reviews are a misrepresentation of your dental practice. In many cases, these reviews can be flagged for removal.
Finally, seek feedback that you can implement for dental practice growth where possible. If a majority of patients are complaining about wait times, for example, consider what can be done to reduce wait times or make waiting more pleasant for your patients. Once feedback is implemented, show off the changes via social media or a website update.
A better caliber of dental reviews
Gathering online reviews for your dental practice can seem challenging, but the payoff can be astronomical. Continuously accruing positive reviews can attract new patients, while constructive feedback can help you make necessary practice improvements. Develop a dental marketing strategy that lets your reviews speak for themselves and see what coming highly recommended does for your dental practice.
Jared Jost is Vice President of Marketing at PatientPop, the market leader in healthcare practice growth technology. He has deep expertise and experience in implementing integrated marketing campaigns and helping businesses achieve their revenue goals.