How to encourage more online reviews from your patients
Software of Excellence explains how you can get more online reviews for your practice.
Online reviews are important for every business these days and that includes dental practices. According to a 2017 survey by www.brightlocal.com, 85% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation.
Word of mouth has always been an important referral source for dentists, but now the way in which people refer to others has changed with more and more people ready to trust the opinions of people they have never met. Aside from improving your reputation, the number and quality of online reviews are also critical factors that affect your search engine ranking.
The collection and management of online reviews is something all owners and managers should be aware of and below are a few helpful tips on how to get started.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that businesses can use to manage their presence on Google. It is essentially a mini website that allows you to control how information about your business is presented. It appears on Google’s search results listing, in Google Maps and on Google+. You can enter up-to-date practice details including address, telephone numbers, opening times, FAQs and photos. You can even add a blog, which you could use to let people know about offers, if you’re accepting new patients, to give directions to the practice and of course for any reviews.
Maintaining an active Google My Business listing will not only make it easy for potential patients to contact you, it will also increase your ranking on Google’s local search engine results page and place you high on the listings on a postcode or ‘near me’ search of your area.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask
Leaving an online review is a common practice these days and most people are used to being asked for reviews, for everything from a recent product purchase to a holiday. If you ask politely and give your reasons for asking, lots of patients will be more than happy to oblige.
However, if you do ask, it’s crucial to…
3. Make it easy
Though many may be willing to leave a review, they can easily be put off if it’s too much effort or you rely on them to remember to do it when they get home.
A follow-up email is a good way of prompting patients to post a review once they are back online. A short, friendly reminder with links that will take them straight to the right place will encourage them to click and leave the review when they have a spare five minutes.
Consider using a tool such as Software of Excellence’s Online Reputation Manager. Stored on a tablet, you can hand it to your patient after their appointment and ask them to give a star rating and leave a review. The app then automatically sends an email to the patient with a copy of their review and links to your social channels, asking them to copy and paste their review onto Facebook or Google.
If you didn’t capture their feedback during the day, the app can also be programmed to email every patient that visited the practice, asking them to leave an online review.
4. Respond positively to bad reviews
It’s unrealistic to expect no bad reviews at all; in fact, it can look suspicious if a business has nothing but five-star reviews. The key in these cases is to respond swiftly, positively and professionally. Acknowledge the feedback and let the patient know that you take it seriously and want to address the issues raised. If you do this, others reading your response will see that you care and want to provide a good service.
5. Get collecting those stars!
The influence of online reviews continues to grow and dental practices that don’t actively seek and manage them effectively are at risk of falling behind, both in terms of patient recruitment and Google rankings. Just remember: it’s not as daunting as it may seem – just be confident when you ask!
For more information about how Online Reputation Manager can help you manage your online reviews, please visit www.softwareofexcellence.com.
www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/?SSAID=314743&SSCID=81k2_bj3dj#q1 (2017) accessed 17/09/2018