In today’s world, almost anyone can have a website and can claim to be the latest and best in their class. What is usually missing from this self-acclaimed expertise is the priceless commodity that cannot be bought—trust. As patients—and prospective patients—increasingly turn to the Internet when searching for health care information, how can dentists enhance their online presence and come across as true, genuine, knowledgeable oral health care experts?
The answer is putting maximum efforts into building trust online, and garnering positive online patient reviews provide a solid foundation.
Over 90% of consumers now read online reviews to help them decide where to go and what to buy. While it is true the most commonly searched category for online reviews are restaurants most people don’t realize the second most commonly searched category for online reviews are dentists / doctors. The days of ignoring your online reviews are over.
Here are some stats to clear your concepts
90% of people only look at the 1st page of Google results
80% of consumers research products online every week. (oracle.com)
70% of people trust the opinions of other consumers posted online. (nielsen.com)
The average consumer consults 11 online reviews before making a purchasing decision. (Source: socialbarrel.com)
Consumer reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions. (Source: socialbarrel.com
Why the apprehension?
Often very skillful dentists are also nervous about having an online identity , out of fear of getting a negative review from an unhappy patient. Come on, everyone has an off day! However, the best way to handle a negative review and effectively neutralize it is to have a record of authentic “prophylactic” reviews to back your credibility.
Having 10-20 glowing comments from enthusiastically happy patients will not only serve to promote the practice in a positive way and delegitimize any negative online rants, it may stop people who are considering posting a negative comment in their tracks—after all, nobody wants to be the lone voice of pessimism or stand out as the one “negative Nancy” in the bunch.
Positive reviews, social media and SEO?
Being in the healthcare profession, it can be embarrassing to ask your patients for online reviews yourself. Start by focussing on the patients who are already paying compliments and simply ask them to post their previously stated, positive sentiments in a public forum.
Another trick can be by making it super easy for the patients by sending them an email carrying a link to your online review profiles and a subtle request for them to post their words of appreciation. There are already apps present in the market which could send that introductory email with a review link for you with a single download
Are reviews the only game changing factor?
Google and other search engines are increasingly considering social media visibility, especially the volume and tone (e.g. positive, negative or neutral) of online reviews into account in their own algorithms, so online reviews even can be of help when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
A little gift for patients can do wonders
A tiny discount on the next visit, a general check up for the spouse or child, a fridge magnet, or a free pad of paper with your logo and phone number on it with a request to leave you a quick review can work wonders. The gift has to be something people will actually use, keep on their desk, and see every day. It’s a subtle but persistent reminder.
If in this day and age you don’t use this excellent opportunity to convert your patients into your marketing team, you will face a loss of identity in the ever evolving dental scene. So if the next time a patient asks you if they can find you online. Send them that link to your review page and let your skill speak through your client reviews.