As a dentist, you already know the power of online reviews. Everyone fears the dreaded negative review, but your day can instantly be made when a loyal patient boasts about you and your practice for everyone to see.
It's safe to say that online reviews are here to stay. So the question becomes: How do you work with them?
5 strategic ideas
Instead of fearing online reviews, like many of us do, the key is to strategically plan on how you can create an optimal online reputation for yourself and your practice. Here are five ways to do just that.
1. Set Google Alerts
Signing up for Google Alerts allows you to receive notifications every time your predefined keywords are mentioned on the internet. Simply input queries you wish to be notified of (such as your practice name, your name, and others) and how often you want to be notified, and provide the email address that you want your alerts sent to.
2. Ask loyal patients to leave a positive review
Often, all you have to do is ask. Happy patients would love to share a review about your practice -- even just a few simple sentences -- but they probably don't think to do so off the top of their head.
After their appointment, ask them in a follow-up email how everything went. If they have good feedback, request that they leave a review on your website or Facebook page. Don't forget to include a link to where they should leave a review, so it's seamless for them.
3. Use Facebook polls
These polls can help you get a better understanding about your audience. Show potential and current patients that you care and value their feedback by using polls and comments on social media to actively engage with your audience. By maintaining a strong presence, you show people that you care about catering to their needs and listening to their feedback. Ultimately, this builds trust and encourages engagement with your practice.
4. Always respond, no matter what
Regardless of whether feedback or a review is positive or negative, make sure to respond. A negative review isn't the end of the world, but your response will affect how someone feels about the negative review that was left. If you leave a polite and understanding response back to a negative review, it'll come off much better than a hostile and defensive one.
Online consumers are savvy, and they'll see for themselves if someone is being a bit too dramatic in their harsh review of your practice. However, how you respond will be the difference whether they ignore the negative review or start to actually look elsewhere for a different dentist.
5. Consider hiring a professional
A good reputation can take years to build, and you don't want to let one negative online review destroy it. Ask your website or marketing communications provider if they have any features or tools that can help you actively gain, monitor, showcase, and respond to patient reviews.
Melissa Mickelson is the director of communications at ProSites, a dental website design and online marketing provider.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.