Navigating the online world of reviews

Simon Chard discusses why reviews are ‘incredibly important’ to your brand, how to increase the number of positive reviews, and how to deal with negative ones. 

Hi guys, welcome back to episode six of Building A Brand.

Happy 2024! I hope you have had a fantastic Christmas break and you’re ready to hit the ground running this year with building your new personal or business brand.

Today we’re going to talk about a very interesting topic, which is navigating the online world of reviews. Whether those are written reviews, video reviews, positive reviews or negative reviews, reviews are such a powerful part of building your online presence and building your own brand, whether that be your personal brand, or your practice brand or even a startup brand.

People trust people

People buy from people, and people trust other people. There’s no point in me going out there and telling everyone that I’m the world’s best dentist because, obviously, I’m going to say that and nobody’s going to believe me.

What people are going to believe is when other people say that they’ve come to see me, or they’ve come to see my team, and they’ve had a wonderful experience. And this is something that’s been really powerful for me over my whole career.

I’ve done a lot of work on video testimonials over the years, right back from when I just qualified, if I’d done a good filling or a little anterior composite, I would always set my SLR up on a tripod and get that patient to record a video testimonial.

Now, oftentimes, they weren’t that confident in front of the camera, and sometimes those testimonials can feel a bit awkward and they don’t really resonate. But you never know. And I think the best practice, for me, has always just been to ask the question.

Some people will say no, some people will say yes but not really engage, and then you’ll be really surprised that about 25% just absolutely fly. And it’s those that can be so powerful for building your brand.

The key to receiving reviews

Now, with the world of online reviews , Google reviews is a really, really powerful way for you to grow your search engine optimisation (SEO), and for people to review the services that you’re providing.

All of us who own practices know the importance of Google reviews. We’ve tried everything at the practice with regards to building online reviews. We’ve done QR codes in the clinic, we’ve asked patients to do when they get home, we’ve tried to get them to do them there – those will work to varying degrees.

But really what’s worked the most instrumentally and the most powerfully is an automated email that goes into their inbox when they get home with a little incentive – a £50 Amazon voucher or something like that – to leave a positive Google review. That has probably created 5x the number of the reviews that we were getting on a monthly basis.

I’d really recommend that you guys implement that in your own practices at home. Or equally, if you’re an associate and you’ve got your own personal brand and your own personal website, you can encourage them to review us directly on that.

Dealing with negative reviews

Now, the reality of the world is that we’re not going to please everyone. We’re always going to have some negative reviews that pop up online. And this can be really, really traumatic for you to deal with. Certainly for me, I’m a people pleaser. I want all my patients to be happy, the ones that have seen me or even the ones that have seen my associates or the rest of the team.

In our practice, we’ve got seven surgeries. So, it’s a lot of people going through that practice. But you’re not going to please everyone, and some of those people will feel the need to write bad reviews about you online.

The first thing to say is take a deep breath. You’re not going to please everyone. Accept that that review has been put and don’t respond with aggression or anger; you need to manage this in a way that is most positive for the future of your brand.

The way that you do that is by acknowledging the feedback – obviously don’t reveal any personal information because these sort of interactions can be quite litigious sometimes. But try to be very clear about what you and your brand represents, how you try to look after your patients.

Always respond to them if you can do, because other people that see that review will also look at your response to it. So I always recommend responding to both the good and the bad feedback  on your social pages and on your Google pages, because that will also improve your performance on the algorithm.

Reviews are incredibly important

So, in summary, reviews are incredibly important. You need other people to recommend your services – you recommending them alone is not going to do the job.

Number two, leverage video testimonial where possible. Video is far more engaging than the written word. It seems so much more authentic, and always ask all of your patients that you feel are happy with your services whether they’ll do one for you. You’d be really surprised how some people really come out of their shell on camera when you put them in a position to tell the world about the services that you provided.

Thirdly, always respond to your reviews – the positive and the negative. And don’t take it too personally when you do inevitably receive that negative feedback.

I really hope that’s helpful. As always, please do let me know if you have any topics or feedback about the Building A Brand process so far, and we’ll see you on the next one.

Catch up with Simon’s previous Building a Brand columns:

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