Do Reviews Matter?

Let’s talk about REVIEWS!

Word of mouth has always been a powerful source of marketing. In fact, in most practices, if not all, the number 1 New Patient referral source is the current patients. Reviews allow the patients to share their experiences, good and bad, with you and the rest of the world.

1. Where do Reviews matter?
There are many platforms that have the capability of publishing Reviews. Many of you may have management systems like SolutionReach, Practice Mojo, DemandForce etc. These third party systems are great for Reviews because the opted-in patients receive a post-appointment survey. This survey is easy for them to fill out since they do not need to log into platforms such as Google, Yelp etc to leave a Review. If you are using a practice management system, please make sure to add the link of that Reviews platform (most have microsites where these Reviews are published) on your website. Secondly, please remember that having just the management system is NOT ENOUGH. You need to have reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook and Healthgrades. These sites provide unbiased Reviews, are trusted by potential New Patients and show up higher on Google. Google recently changed its business pages to show Reviews from other platforms underneath the business page listing. Google your practice and look to the right – you will see that Google mentions the reviews on Google and then underneath it, it mentions the Reviews from other platforms. Have links to these sites on your website and on all communication with the patients. Make it easy for them to write you Reviews.

2. What Reviews should you reply to? 
You are thinking negative Reviews, right? You are 50% correct. You also need to reply to positive Reviews! Why? Because if someone took the time out to write a positive Review for you, they deserve a high-five. Acknowledging and replying back to Reviews shows that you care and makes the patients feel appreciated, which in turn brings in New Patients. Remember to never discuss patient or treatment information, but try to acknowledge the specifics in the written Review. For example, if someone writes that the team member Samantha helped him or her schedule the next appointment, acknowledge in your review that you will let Samantha know and you cannot wait to see them at the next visit. This is not the space for canned and stock responses, especially after you have asked that same patient to write you a Review multiple times. Reply to all Reviews and stay positive, diplomatic and fun, when applicable.

3. Should you give out incentives for Reviews? 
I know that it seems logical to incentivize patients to write Reviews. I also understand why some of you maybe already doing this. However the most “trusted” Review platforms have a NO INCENTIVE policy. They do not want “bought” Reviews on these platforms. I completely support this because Reviews make your customer service transparent. You are never going to be able to get 100% positive feedback…and that’s okay…that makes you human. What you need to do is always strive to be good so you can get more positive Reviews and learn from the negative situation, if it were to occur. This will make your practice stronger and give you an insight on what you need to work on.

4. What is the best way to ask for Reviews? 
The best way to ask for Reviews is in the office. The highest conversions will happen when you ask a patient who is thrilled with his or her experience. You need to start by asking minimum of 10 people a week for Reviews. You can do this by assigning team members on specific days to ask for Reviews, having your raving fans write you Reviews when they are in the office and asking for Reviews after completion of a treatment. You also need to make it easy for the patients to write the Reviews. You cannot simply ask patients to write a Review without directing them where to write it. If you have all the Review sites listed on the website, have the patients go there. There are also dental companies that provide Apps to make it easier to collect Reviews. If you are seeing a drop in your Reviews, ask yourself what has changed? Is there a new team member who is not asking for Reviews? Are you not replying to your Reviews? Is it hard for patients to get to your Review sites? Are you asking fewer patients for Reviews? Do you have broken links to the Review sites? If something was working well and now it is not, that means something has changed and you need to identify that issue and resolve it. It may also help to invest in one of the companies with Review Apps to make it easier for you to collect the Reviews. If you want my recommendations on these companies, let me know.

5. Is there a way to get rid of negative Reviews? 
Many of the management systems allow you to hide or not publish a negative Review. This is also one of the reasons third party systems are not fully trusted by search engines. You do have the ability to flag Reviews on most online platforms, but there has to be a reason to do so. The only real way to get rid of negative Reviews is to get more positive Reviews. The way to get more positive Reviews is to ask for more Reviews.

I know this is a long post, but I hope it was useful and feel free to ask your questions!

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