Here’s some good news-bad-news for dentists: According to an August, 2016 article, over 9 in 10 consumers read online reviews, and 40% of those consumers read a mere one to three reviews before making a decision. But the single biggest factor in the decisions of consumers who read online reviews is the “star” rating.
The star rating is a big deal for dentists. A large company with thousands of reviews can probably get away with less than perfect online ratings. Dental practices typically have dozens of reviews, and with such a comparatively small number every review counts. If your star rating is much lower than your competition, it’s the virtual kiss of death when it comes to new patients selecting your dental practice.
In fact, if you’re as little as half a star behind your competitors, your dental prospects may very well not even bother reading your reviews. And those are patients who are lost to you forever.
4 Tips for Getting 5-Star Reviews
5-star reviews are like money in the bank for dentists. The higher your star rating, the more likely that your prospects will read about you and your practice.
Follow these 4 tips to get more rave reviews on your practice.
- Go the Extra Mile
Today’s patients have access to more information about dentists than ever before. Because they can comparison-shop online, patient expectations are higher – even if they never voice those expectations. Your practice and your staff have to provide friendly, caring service with a focus on patient comfort and excellent outcomes. Otherwise, expect complaints.
- Encourage reviews
Consumers have a right to post reviews online. Thanks to recent federal legislation they don’t have to be worried about being sued by disgruntled business owners unless the reviews are clearly libelous.
If you and your staff routinely encourage online reviews, you’ll get more. You can verbally ask for reviews, provide a reminder card at checkout, and/or send a follow-up email. And if your practice is delivering a superior patient experience, more of those will be 5-star reviews.
- Keep complaints in your office
Ideally, complaints by your patients and prospects will be few and far between. Even those few complaints are better handled in-office than online. Establish and enforce a clear, concise, and enforced complaints policy to encourage unhappy patients to air their grievances before they walk out the door. Minimize complaints by making sure that your patients and prospects understand your policies.
Keeping a negative review offline also keeps your star rating high.
- Address any negative reviews positively and promptly
No, that won’t remove a negative review, but it will bolster your reputation online. And, it may make unhappy patients more likely to take their grievances up with you personally.
If there’s a grain of truth in your patient’s online complaint, admit that you fell short of your own mark in providing their service. Defensiveness has absolutely no place in dealing with complaints.
If the complaint is unfounded, explain why. Today’s consumers understand that there are some people who just like to complain. Provide the basis for your readers to understand why the complaint is unfounded, and they’ll promptly discount it.
Follow these four tips for great online reviews, and you’re more likely to get more new patients. And those are money in the bank.