January 30, 2021

How to Build the Online Reputation of your Dental Practice

Actionable tips for managing and growing your practice’s five star reviews.

Cate Perino

Have you ever requested an Uber, saw the driver’s poor rating, and thought to yourself, “No thanks!”? Imagine if you were signing up for a dentist appointment and saw a mere rating of 2 out of 5 stars on the dentist’s profile. I sure wouldn’t want them to drive me home from the bar, let alone perform my root canal. 

Reputation is everything and reviews can make or break client retention. Especially in the dental industry, where the drivers are in control of very precious cargo, reviews and reputations are heavily considered. 

Maintaining a positive and honest online reputation is crucial, as so many patients consult one or more review sites to view or post reviews for dentists. Building an online reputation is a huge part of growing a business, especially one like a dental practice where loyalty and trust is so important. 

Here are six tips to manage your dental practice’s online reputation:

1. Review your current online reputation and information

The first step in managing your online reputation involves learning what has been said about your dental practice. You can do a quick Google search of your name and practice and take note of the reviews listed on the first few pages of the websites that are pulled up. A helpful tip to ensure you’re always up-to-date on anything posted about you is by setting up email alerts about your name and practice name at Google.com/Alerts. It’s a dream come true, you actually can be a fly on the wall when it comes to online gossip. 

When you are searching your own name and come across your Yelp or Google My Business pages, claim and complete your business profiles. By doing so, you can provide more information on your practice such as business hours, your address, and contact information.

2. Expand your presence online and share content

Completing your business profiles and making social media accounts for your practice on multiple platforms helps increase your Google search results. Make sure that your profiles are consistent across all platforms. This will help patients locate your practice easier, and help you stand out as the best option. Invest in your website to ensure it is user friendly, communicates your brand well, and is suitable for mobile devices. 

Posting blog articles or sharing interesting dental tips or news is another strategy to increase traffic on your website and social platforms. Engage your patients and help them see your practice as more than a half-yearly check up chore.

3. Respond to negative reviews quickly and professionally

Even though your practice may be perfect in your eyes, you will most likely encounter some negative reviews. It is important to establish a strategy when responding to negative reviews. Although it may seem daunting to face the bully, you can actually have a positive impact on your reputation if you respond correctly. By responding in a professional and caring manner, there is an opportunity to rebuild trust with the reviewer and future readers.

You should begin by thanking the reviewer for their feedback, even if it is negative. Acknowledgement and an apology is a good start. Then you should address the patient’s concern while showing contrast in what patients usually experience when they visit your office. For example: “We’re usually known for our exceptional service, and we apologize for not living up to those expectations.” Then you can suggest moving the conversation offline, by providing a phone number to contact your office directly. This demonstrates receptiveness to feedback and shows that you take customer service seriously. 

4. Gain new, positive reviews and engage with patients

You should consider encouraging or asking satisfied patients for feedback on their experience at your practice by posting a review online. You can ask via email, phone, or text message after an appointment, and provide links on your website and social media profiles. You can send automated text messages to satisfied patients via websites such as ReviewTrigger, which directs them to review sites like Google and Yelp.

Also, make sure to be as active as possible on all platforms including social media. Reply to comments and direct messages to show your patients that you care about them and their feedback.

An unsatisfied patient may be more naturally inclined to vent about their tooth pain on your profile, so make sure to ask some of your happy patients for a quick review as they skip out of your practice too. 

5. Train your staff to encourage positive reviews 

Your staff is your most important asset. It is essential to train and manage your staff on how to interact with patients. You can train your team on how to spot unhappy, nervous, and frustrated patients, and how to ensure that they feel comfortable and satisfied with their experience. Going above and beyond to satisfy patients can result in positive testimonials, both online and by word of mouth. Remembering the name of someone’s child or asking if their chair is comfortable could make the difference between a 2 or a 5 out of 5 experience. 

In addition, you should train your staff to ask patients about their experience after their treatment, and based on their answer, your staff can encourage them to leave a review online. For obvious reasons, don’t take the risk of asking someone who seems even slightly unhappy. Sometimes a patient with numb cheeks and a bloody mouth rushing back to work just isn’t in the mood to give you a gold star. 

6. Analyze patient feedback for improvement

There is always room for growth. Analyze your reviews and identify areas of improvement. You can always count on anonymous strangers to be brutally honest. 

Put on your big kid pants, swallow your pride, and see what you’re doing wrong (and right). This way, you can make the proper changes in order to improve your practice and patient care. 

This can certainly help your fan base grow exponentially. 

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