It is not a novelty that an outstanding online reputation is a great asset to any dental practice. Yet, very often it does not get the needed attention. Mainly it is due to the wrong impression that it just takes care of itself. On the contrary, a passive approach to online reputation can have several adverse effects. At best, a few positive reviews here and there or the complete lack of ratings will not influence favorably the decision of potential patients. In that case, most likely they will be attracted by a dental practice with a better online image. At worst, unaddressed negative feedback can drive new patients away, even if left by just a few people.
So, what effective strategies can dentists use to improve their online reputation? Here are some proven methods:
- Self-assess your reputation regularly
- Monitor and Reply to Reviews
- Get Strong Reviews
- Use Reviews Effectively
Self-assess your reputation regularly
Evaluation of the current state of your online image is an essential first step to improving it. Furthermore, practicing self-assessment every few months is important for keeping a close eye on whether perceptions change in a positive direction.
Some of the key points to consider are the presence on important review sites, overall ratings across platforms, competitor’s comparison, etc.
Check out our reputation assessment checklist for a quick review of the most important aspects you should cover. It also includes research-based benchmarks and tips for the next actions. Download the checklist for free from the button below.
Monitor and Reply to Reviews
With the self-assessment checklist, it will be easier to monitor reviews as you will already have the sites to track listed. On most platforms, you can enable alerts for new feedback if your profile is claimed or verified.
It is a good practice to respond not only to negative reviews but also to some positive ones. Avoid the frequent use of “sample” answers as they may sound impersonal and too over-practiced. If you are wondering what is the right approach for replying to negative feedback, you can find some tips in the article below:
Get Strong Reviews
It may seem that it is out of your hands as to what reviews you will get. However, there are several things you can do to encourage more reviews that better illustrate your strong points.
Find below tips that will help you in that direction.
Ask patients proactively for their feedback
Leaving to patients to think of writing a review decreases significantly the number of ratings you get. That is why a request in person followed up by email or message can boost your ratings. If it feels awkward to pop up the question face-to-face, you can use a platform with automated review invite options such as Dentacoin Trusted Reviews.
Don’t wait too long
Patient’s impressions fade away with time so it is better to ask for their feedback sooner than later.
Give tips to patients
Often people do not leave reviews simply because they are not sure what to write. You can help patients out by providing suggestions about the aspects they should mention e.g. treatment quality and results.
Still, there is no guarantee that they won’t just leave an overall star rating that doesn’t illustrate why they are satisfied with your services. So, you can use a specialized platform designed to guide the reviewers through a rating of all important aspects of their experience.
Here is an example from Dentacoin Trusted Reviews:
Source: Dentacoin Trusted Reviews
Incentivize patients ethically
Many dentists wonder if it is acceptable to motivate patients with incentives. The answer is that it depends.
It is not a good practice to provide rewards for high ratings or positive reviews. Moreover, generally, it is against the rules of review websites. On the other hand, incentives for submitting feedback regardless of the rating are permitted by some platforms. There is even an option to take advantage of built-in incentives (find out more here).
Use Reviews Effectively
Are you making the most of the reviews that best present the expertise and high level of dental care in your practice? You can find out with this free test here.
Organically, reviews will reach a limited audience of the review site’s visitors. However, you can proactively expand their reach and by that emphasize the strong feedback that will improve your reputation. One easy way to do that is by the active use of social media. How to do that? Check out the article below for more ideas and implementation tips:
Dedicating time for managing your online reputation is essential regardless of whether you are running your own practice or working as an associate dentist in a clinic. New patients will look you up and existing patients might be influenced by a better online image of the competition. With the regular evaluation of the current state, timely monitoring, and response to new feedback, and effective use of strong reviews, you can build a long-lasting positive image of your dental practice.
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