How to make sure your online reputation is driving patient growth

It is no secret that online reviews can be a powerful tool to acquire more patients for your dental practice. Positive reviews build credibility and establish trust with prospective patients. In the highly competitive dental market, most dental practices are already putting efforts towards getting favorable reviews from patients, and it can be difficult to stand out. To outshine the competition, you have to understand what type of feedback really influences potential patients to make that crucial first appointment.

Recently, insightful findings from Online Dentist Reviews Survey by DentaVox were revealed in “What Aspects of Online Reviews Matter to Patients [Survey Stats Infographic]”. Backed up by the survey results presented there, we uncovered the top five features of highly effective dentist reviews:

#1: Recent reviews are essential

Survey results show that online reviews do have an expiry date and it is 2 months! Older feedback have an impact on only 14% of prospective patients. Moreover, one in three patients will only consider reviews written within 2 weeks.

Tip: Regular flow of fresh feedback requires a systematic and proactive approach. As a dentist you can not afford to count on patient initiative for new reviews. Asking patients for reviews can be intimidating and time-consuming. You can make use of a specialized review platform to send review invites automatically. It may sound as an extra expense item, but there are free review platforms with this feature, so no need to dedicate additional budget.

#2: Over 4-star rating score is highly persuasive

Score rating is important but a dentist doesn’t really need 5-star rating to convince potential patients. The majority of people point out 4 stars as the minimum rating for them to consider choosing a dental practice. In fact, only five-star reviews can make a patient suspicious that it is too good to be true.

Tip: You should not be anxious if not all reviews are perfect, and do not try to report or delete negative ones. Instead, by responding in a professional manner, you have the chance to build an image of a mindful professional that appreciates and takes patient feedback into account.

#3: More reviews = more credibility = more new patients

The number of reviews plays a vital role for overall score credibility. People need confirmation from over 30+ patients to believe the star rating. In practice, only a small share of patients will share feedback without being asked.

Tip: Regular review invitations are essential to increase the number of reviews for your practice. In addition, small incentives can be helpful to boost response rates. Very few platforms provide this option while safeguarding the authenticity of reviews. One example is Dentacoin Trusted Reviews where patients receive a small amount of Dentacoin (DCN) digital currency for their verified feedback regardless of the review rating. The DCN currency can then be spent by the patient for covering their future dental treatments or buying oral care products.

#4: Verified reviews are more powerful

On social media and other general platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.) everyone can submit a review without ever visiting the dental office. This leaves a door for fake reviews, both negative and positive, and survey results reveal that patients are well aware of that. 46% of them consider important that the review is written by a real patient.

Tip: Although popular social media have their place in reputation building, utilizing a specialized review platform with a clear distinction between unsolicited and verified reviews can make a difference. For example, verified reviews on Trusted Reviews are marked as such when submitted by a patient after dentist invitation.

# 5: People seek to find if patient issues have been solved

Besides quality of service, which is important for 86% of respondents, the majority of prospective patients are interested to find out in reviews if patient’s problem was solved.
This provides good guidance on what information could be emphasized in patient feedback, especially when patients are not sure what to include.

Tip: Providing patients with hints about the aspects of their experience to touch upon can help them and boost the number of reviews at the same time. Detailed feedback not only helps you to learn and improve, but it seems it might also influence the choice of prospective patients.

DENTIST BONUS TIPS

Try out this 3 quick tips to boost your reviews:

  • Include QR-code in your appointment cards with a link to your online profile on reviews website.
  • Send an email with review invitation after the first visit and follow-up after treatment.
  • Share patient reviews on social media to show you appreciate their feedback.

Ready to take the lead to more effective online reviews?

Statistics presented in the article are based on results from Online Dental Reviews survey by DentaVox in the period 30/07 – 19/08/2019, featured in “What Aspects of Online Reviews Matter to Patients [Survey Stats infographic]”.