Patient feedback – the missing ingredient for maximising new treatment uptake

Patient feedback – the missing ingredient for maximising new treatment uptake

John Pemberton and Philip Molden share with dental practice owners how they can use existing patients’ feedback to help bring in new patients to supplement income, even in these challenging times.

What do you think patient reviews do for your practice?

Certainly, they give patients a chance to share their stories and help other people reading those reviews to form a picture in their mind of what your practice is like and if it seems like the right fit for them, too.

However, feedback also offers the potential for something very, very valuable attached to reviews that few people take proper advantage of, or, in some cases, even realise exists.

And given these uncertain times, it’s a huge mistake to miss this trick; namely, ‘cross-selling’ or, to put it in healthcare terms, promoting your full range of treatments to a new group of people needing and wanting dentistry.

The feedback no-brainer

We know that online reviews are a powerful tool that can be used by dental practices to show potential patients what products and services are available.

We’ve seen that for ourselves through experience and tried and tested methods that we have used to hone our knowledge base.

Indeed, the team at Working Feedback has a level of expertise in this area that means we have been able to identify how and why happy patients spend more money and are willing to advocate for the practice amongst friends and family, as well as online.

Therefore, when handled in the right way, patient feedback published on the practice’s website, Google Reviews and social media platforms can increase treatment uptake by broadening a practice’s reach and improving the conversion rate from queries to care.

You might ask – how do I get my patients’ reviews, my name, my practice’s name, and the treatments I offer ahead of everyone else out there?

The good news is that it’s a simple process!

The data is on your side

First of all, a Nielsen report found that 66% of people trust online reviews and 69% of those will act on opinions they see online, which, when extrapolated, is an incredible number of people – in the multiple millions! After all, nearly everyone is online nowadays, especially in the UK.

In fact, according to Statista, the UK has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. Almost the entire nation has access to the internet with an estimated 62.86 million monthly users in 2021.

So that sorts out ‘viewer’ numbers as a general issue.

The specifics of SEO

More specific to the needs of a dental practice, to make the most of this opportunity, search engine optimisation (SEO) must be used to best effect.

Once again, this is simple to achieve. When replying to reviews, include keywords, because Google searches the replies as well as the original post.

So, if someone writes a great review about tooth whitening but omits the practice name, reply with something like, ‘Thank you so much for visiting our practice in Elgin, Moray. Your comment is gratefully received.’ Suddenly, Google has what the patient wrote, and you’ve got your location in there via your reply.

Then, if your practice collects lots of really positive reviews about tooth whitening, people searching for that treatment will see that and perceive that is the practice for them.

When someone else has been through something and come out the other end so happy that they are prepared to make the effort to leave a review, that offers others incredible reassurance and adds value that just can’t be achieved in any other way.

The true value of testimonials

Harvard Business Review hit the nail on the head with, ‘What consumers truly value… can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated.’

However, what we do know is that companies that score highly on emotional elements tend to have a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS) (a widely used metric for customer loyalty and advocacy), on average, than companies that spike only on functional elements.

Dentistry, of course, provides a combination of both – a principal’s dream.

So, to promote the treatments available within the dental practice on the back of online reviews would mean to sell complementary or related products to a patient or potential patient who reads specific feedback, appealing not only to emotional but also functional elements.

Making the most of what you have

There is another incredible way to get great results that can’t be achieved with Google, with no extra effort on your part.

For example, Working Feedback offers a service that is more impactful and direct than relying on SEO. This is the ability to sell additional services, whereby we create a bespoke package for the practice so that our client can ask whatever questions they want during the online feedback process.

So, if a patient is filling in a review to say what they think about, for instance, their visit to the hygienist, we can ask a question such as: ‘Did you know that we also offer tooth whitening?’

Typically, that kind of questioning results in an additional £5-10k worth of requests each month for the dental team to follow up on.

With those kinds of results ready for the taking, why wouldn’t you want to partner with Working Feedback, to help you handle reviews and use them in a positive manner, to the benefit of your practice, your team, and your patients? Let’s face it – it’s a no brainer.

Working Feedback is a top tier partner and integrates directly with Software of Excellence and Dentally. For further information, please visit, email [email protected] or call 0800 043 2100.

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