So how can you use this information to leverage local search rankings for your dental practice?
Firstly let’s agree that a pro-active approach to patient service and feedback can boost your business reputation online. Positive reviews are a sign of trust, and they carry a great deal of weight in search rankings. Happy patients are an excellent source of positive feedback and reviews.
For practices wishing to boost their online visibility in local search, online patient reviews on Google maps, and other third-party review sites are crucial to higher rankings.
What about Negative Reviews?
Yes, you may get a negative review.
Most negative reviews are disgruntled patients unhappy with a particular aspect of the service you have provided. By accepting the review for what it is and replying with a prompt calm message you automatically show the online world that you have a legitimate business with the usual degree of complaints that you don’t ignore – unlike some businesses we all know of! This is a positive customer service message.
If things get out of hand, most review sites have a way of reporting abusive/ slanderous comments or reviews which are then removed promptly.
On the plus side, the search engines don’t really differentiate between positive and negative reviews, with positives far outweighing negatives in majority of cases.
So, how do you go about getting your patients to post reviews on Google or other review sites such as dentistfinder.net?
Ask and you shall receive
Taking a pro-active stance is the best approach where reviews are concerned. When a patient offers verbal praise for treatment or service, ask whether they would be willing to be quoted online and email them a link where they can post a review.
Offer incentives – not bribes!
A little incentive could give your patients a little nudge to get a review posted. Ethically, this must be approached carefully. You could offer a discount or a freebie to those patients who post a review online. It should not be stipulated that it must be a positive review and ALL reviews must receive said promotion. If worded ‘leave us a great review, and you can get 20% off your next treatment’ it’s a bribe.
Complete the sentence…
Feedback forms can be used. One section of the form is usually devoted to asking for comments. Patients, who have trouble filling that section in, are more likely to do it if you use a ‘complete the sentence’ format in that area.
For instance “I love (insert practice name) because__________________”. This form could go on your website too; you could then email your patient asking them to fill it in offering an incentive for completed forms.
Always ask your patient for permission to post their comments on your website and on review sites online, along with their name (or initial) and location.
Use social proof
A blank review page can put many potential reviewers off. People are more likely to post reviews for a business that already has a number of reviews online.
As long as they’re legitimate and you create a separate profile for each review, you can use patient reviews/testimonials from your website and feedback forms to populate these sites and provide social proof for the hesitant ones.
Permission must be granted from the initial commentator/reviewer.
Engage with your audience
Don’t let the conversation online go unanswered. Respond to feedback promptly and appropriately and thank patients for positive reviews posted. Contact reviewers who post negative comments with an incentive to change their review. Offer them a discount for your products or special services that will help them change their opinion about the practice.
Feel free to use these tips to get more patients reviews online. It’s a great way to improve visibility and rankings in the local search results.