Modern dentistry exists in a dynamic, digital landscape. Online reviews play a pivotal role in shaping a practice’s reputation and success. Patient reviews provide insight for potential patients, make space for provider-patient conversations, and can increase your practice’s online visibility
Think of reviews as more than just mere digital testimonials—they’re dynamic reflections of patient experiences. Furthermore, they carry significant weight in shaping a practice’s online reputation. Over 70 percent of patients first look at online reviews when choosing a dentist.
No doubt, online patient reviews have a profound impact and ability to propel your practice to new heights. But where to begin? Here’s what we’re going to talk about today.
- Review platforms
- How to get patient reviews
- Tailoring your strategy to appeal to patients through review content
- How to manage reviews
- How to respond to patient reviews
This blog serves as your compendium on the power of patient reviews. Let’s dive in!
Google Reviews, Facebook, and Yelp reign supreme among the foremost review platforms, while healthcare-specific platforms like ZocDoc provide invaluable insights into patient experiences.
Google is critical. It’s the starting point for most online inquiries, and the platform uses reviews as a key ranking factor for where you appear when someone looks up your practice online. You want to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and appear organically whenever someone types your name into the search bar.
Appearing within the first few hits or on the very first page of Google is crucial. Studies have shown consistently that over 90 percent of internet browsers stay on the first page of Google and never click through to subsequent content. That’s why having recent reviews that push your practice to the top of search results is so important.
Get timely and regular feedback by:
- Provide a scannable QR code that takes them directly to Google Reviews, Yelp, or specialized review sites you want to appear on. Research what platforms people in your area use, but focus most of your efforts on Google.
- Send an email with links to review sites
- Text links to those who prefer to communicate over SMS
In the digital age, Google remains the most powerful platform for patient reviews and virtual visibility. Employing effective search engine optimization practices and responding thoughtfully to reviews on Google boosts your online reputation and demonstrates your commitment to patient satisfaction. Craft a positive online persona by staying informed, responsive, and solution-oriented, utilizing the vast potential of online review platforms to grow your dental practice.
How to Get Useful Patient Reviews
We’ve established why dentists must proactively seek and leverage patient reviews in order to assess treatment experiences and identify potential areas for improvement.
But first, you actually have to get said reviews to enhance your practice’s reputation for excellent patient care. Your strategic starting point should be patient surveys. Send out these surveys after a patient’s visit via QR code, text, email, or ask what they thought in person. Providing options for giving feedback gives your patients the choice of how they want to share and when.
Encouraging feedback, online and in-person, requires clear instructions and engagement strategies. You should build your survey intentionally so the feedback you receive is clear and contains information pertinent to other patients. People don’t really need to know if you only give out blue toothbrushes at the end of the visit. Instead, they want to learn about timeliness, cleanliness, level of care, clear communication, and other essential information affecting their experience.
That’s why tailoring your survey to elicit responses related to categories you shine in or need to grow in is important. We’ll get more into what patients want from online reviews and how your practice can deliver later—but keep this concept in the forefront of your mind as you build your review strategy plan.
What to Do with Patient Reviews?
Once you’ve received internal patient reviews using the survey, it’s time to extract positive testimonials and push them to a public platform. Or, if you got a negative review, it’s a chance to respond one-on-one and sort out the issue with your patient.
Steps to make reviews public:
- Reach out to your patient and thank them for the kind review
- Seek permission from satisfied patients to post their testimonials on your website
- Ask patients to post glowing reviews on Google or your platform of choice. This adds credibility to your online presence.
- Make it clear that it’s as simple as copy/pasting what they already said in your internal review. A nice touch would be providing the exact paragraph you want to appear online directly in an email or text. That way, they don’t have to dig for their original submission.
- Once the review is live on Google or another platform, respond to it publicly! A brief thank you or other kind words of appreciation shows you’re tuned into what patients say about you online. Engagement also helps with SEO results.
By sending a survey by text or email, dentists can effectively cultivate a rich repository of online reviews. This valuable information promotes the practice across various platforms and serves as a catalyst for continuous improvement in patient care and services.
Getting Relevant Reviews
Let’s dive deep into the importance of getting relevant reviews. In simple terms, you should tailor your strategy and surveys in a way that steers patients to talk about subjects that matter to people shopping for a new dentist.
Here are some basic tips for maximizing your survey impacts and getting information that draws in new patients.
- Build your survey with intentional questions. Research what people are talking about online when it comes to choosing a dentist and center your categories around these subjects.
- Common topics that healthcare surveys address include cleanliness, communication, quality of care, timeliness, follow-up, and how easily patients are able to make an appointment, reach your office, or find your practice.
- Use a rating system like stars or 1–5 ranking. It’s understandable and can be tracked and turned into statistics once you get enough responses.
- Ask specific questions with little to no wiggle room. Being straightforward in your queries will make it easier for patients to give an honest rating.
- Keep it short! If you’re not receiving the volume of feedback you want, it might be time to delete some questions or condense your survey. Use analytical tools to see where people exit the survey before submitting it and adjust.
- Include short answer fields. Ask people to write a few sentences on their experience (within the context and confines that you want to know more about–remember, straightforward questions are your friend). These personal anecdotes have the potential to become outstanding public reviews.
By prompting patients to provide feedback on specific aspects and tailoring survey prompts to cover essential areas, practitioners harness the power of patient reviews to grow their practice in unprecedented ways. In a landscape where every detail matters, strategic survey design becomes a catalyst for better patient care, increased online engagement, and, ultimately, a thriving dental practice.
How to Manage Reviews
You’ve put in the effort to get the reviews you want but what to do with this wealth of information? A little admin know-how, established timelines, and guidelines will make managing reviews much more efficient.
Here are some practical ways to facilitate the flow of review information and streamline your management process:
- Regularly gather, organize, and analyze reviews. Dedicate a specific time on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Designate a particular team member to be in charge of this crucial task. Having a routine run by a lead person enables deeper insight and the identification of recurring issues, positive patterns, and patient concerns.
- Categorize feedback under specific categories like time management, environment, communication, follow-up, and patient experience.
- Within those specific categories, you can flag feedback based on urgency and impact. You should examine these areas closely, especially if they involve negative reviews. This gives you a great opportunity to connect with your patient directly and manage their feedback internally.
- Sentiment analysis. Technology can help you determine the general feeling of reviews. Get an overview of patient satisfaction among your reviewers when using free or low-cost online tools to see if your reviews are positive, negative, or neutral.
- If a negative review has made it to a public platform—don’t panic. This is a great chance to show your dedication to quality dentistry and your patient’s comfort when you respond. Address them promptly and professionally with an apology when appropriate, and make sure you outline future actions that you’re implementing to get a better outcome.
- If you begin to see patterns in feedback, develop a structured action plan to do more of what works or to address identified issues.
Your practice should communicate changes openly with your patients while managing reviews. This demonstrates your commitment to feedback by letting them know you’re actively working to address positive and negative feedback. Generally, transparency and good communication build trust. Reinforce the concept that patient voices are heard and valued when you consistently manage and act upon review information.
Demonstrate how your practice is dedicated to patient-centered care, all while you continuously improve and build trust.
How to Respond to Patient Reviews
Make it easy for your team to navigate the digital landscape when you give yourself directions and guidelines to follow for patient review responses. Studies show that over half of the people who leave reviews want to hear back from the business they were addressing.
A good communication strategy encourages consistency, promotes positive comments, and addresses negative concerns with sensitivity.
Responding to comments helps another aspect of your review management strategy—identifying patterns, pinpointing positive traits, and addressing concerns. The more you pay attention to public reviews and respond to them, the better. This is an invaluable tool and learning opportunity for your practice.
How to set up your review response strategy:
- Dedicate a specific time each day or once a week to look at public and internally received reviews.
- Delegate roles so your team members know what they have to do and can become experts in the area. That can include reading reviews, categorizing reviews, penning the actual review response, and monitoring any further engagement.
- Make a one-sheet of pre-approved language for patient review responses. This maintains a professional and consistent image that exceeds patient expectations.
- Develop established responses to common scenarios. You don’t want to sound like a robot, so allow room for personality and relatability, but stick to your practice’s guidelines for the sake of consistency. This also makes it easier to respond quickly. Timely engagement is key.
The secret to responding to reviews is to be clear and well-organized. As your team gets used to responding to patient reviews, all this will become second nature. With a really well-organized response strategy, you will set yourself up for success and make room for any needed tweaks. You can give a more thoughtful response when the nitty-gritty of how to approach feedback is pre-established.
Don’t be afraid to change your strategy, either! Your practice will find what works well and what doesn’t. Embrace growth and flexibility in responding to patient reviews. The result will be increased patient trust, good online visibility, a genuine internet presence for you practice, and a glowing reputation as a communicative dentist who cares.
A Wrap Up on Patient Reviews
Clearly, patient reviews hold a ton of untapped power for your practice! Take it one step at a time when you approach patient reviews in a holistic and well-organized manner. Begin by understanding review platforms. Educate yourself on how to best get patient reviews in person or online. Use a variety of methods, such as sending out surveys, providing comment cards, and following up during any post-appointment conversations.
Once you have a way to receive feedback implemented, you can begin to tailor your survey and patient review strategy to get information that matters. As you read what people are talking about, you’ll start to identify pertinent patterns and categories. Tweak your survey to dive deeper into the patterns you see, and you’ll begin to receive feedback that matters to patients reading public reviews online.
All throughout this process, you’ll want to develop a way to respond to patient reviews and create consistency throughout your team. Think of this entire process as a cyclical and ever-evolving one. Remain open to change, and remember that responding to reviews boosts your online visibility. Even if you have to address negative words, it shows you truly care about your patients.
Now, get out there and get some reviews!
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