Did you know that 94 percent of dental patients, in general, read online reviews before selecting a practitioner? A whopping 84 percent of them say they trust the reviews as much as they do the recommendations they get from their friends. This means that to manage the online reputation of your dental practice, you need to establish, or maintain, a viable and robust patient feedback system.
Human nature is such that one negative review can cause you a lot of emotional stress even if it is in the company of 10 positive reviews. Studies have shown though, that it is not a negative review alone that will keep potential patients from choosing you as their dentist, but the lack of any online reviews is more likely to keep patients away.
The more reviews you have, the less influence a negative review will have. For example, if you only have five reviews, four good ones and one bad one, that means 20 percent of your reviews are negative. But if you have 10 reviews with one bad one, only 10 percent of your reviews are negative.
The more reviews you have, the less impact the negative ones have. Plus, there are ways you can turn a negative review around so that it ultimately increases traffic to your website and therefore your patient load.
Reviews give patients a window into the dental practice and what to expect from the dentist. Comments considered helpful include everything from how long the patient waited in the waiting room, how skillfully they felt the dentist performed the procedure, and how politely and professionally the staff treated the patient.
If the right questions are asked in a well-thought-out patient survey, and negative reviews appropriately responded to, the reviews will help you stand out from other dental practices.
Reviews can build domain authority, which means where your practice ranks in response to a patient’s Google search. The higher your practice ranks, the more credibility you have with prospective patients. The most frequent sites used by those looking for reviews are Google, Facebook, Yelp, and testimonials posted on your own website.
One way to begin developing your online reputation management feedback program is to try to find yourself on Google. Search for terms like “best dentist” in your geographical location. Use query words patients might use when searching for a dentist such as:
You will find that dentists with more online reviews, and the greatest number of stars, rank higher. Develop your own feedback program that will increase your number of reviews and therefore increase your own rank.
Good reviews raise the visibility of the practice and commonly use the words, “friendly,” “thorough,” and “excellent.” Negative reviews commonly use the word “rude” more often than any other.
All types of feedback are important and, if responded to appropriately, even a negative review can raise the visibility of your practice positively.
Your written response to the unhappy patient is important. It shows you care and that the bad experience was an anomaly. A “one-off” experience and you hope the patient will give you a second chance.
It is important to ask for feedback. Unsolicited reviews are found to be skewed toward the negative while solicited ones tend to be more positive.
A well-designed patient feedback system should be simple and easy for patients to use. It should not take the patient long to respond. Research revealed that 10 percent of mobile users abandon a feedback survey after about seven minutes. Desktop users stay around a bit longer. The research concludes that a survey that takes only about 7-9 minutes to answer is ideal.
Some general feedback questions you may want to ask include:
Asking specific questions helps narrow down the issues so if there are problems, you can address them appropriately.
You want to make it as easy as possible for your patients to provide you with reviews. Some strategies include:
Creating and managing a patient feedback system may seem overwhelming. This is not what you signed up for when you chose to be a dentist.
At Dental & Medical Counsel, we can help. We work exclusively with dentists, physicians, optometrists, and veterinarians. In addition to working with you to set up your patient feedback management system, we can make sure your feedback responses posted online are HIPAA compliant. When you are ready to learn more, the dental attorney team at Dental and Medical Counsel is available to help. Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation with attorney Ali Oromchian.
Dental & Medical Counsel is committed to helping doctors avoid legal pitfalls. We take care of the legal stuff so you can take care of your patients. Our passion is to help you traverse the legal landscape and it is a job we take very seriously. We provide a wide range of services, including practice transitions, partnerships, employment agreements, employment law, lease reviews, real estate purchases, estate planning, trademarks, incorporations, and more. We can’t wait to work with you!
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