You might think that your dental website is the public face of your practice. You’d only be partly right. There’s another very public aspect to how your prospects see you and your practice that’s even more important than your website. And it’s something you can’t completely control. If you’re not getting the number or quality of new patients you need, have a look at what people are saying about you online. I’ll be back after the break to tell you how to put your best face forward online. Stay tuned.
– I’m Colin Receveur.
– Thanks for watching the Patient Attraction Podcast™.
– The internet is the biggest billboard ever created.
– And anybody with an electronic device and an internet connection can post pretty much whatever they want.
– That’s a definite good news–bad news scenafrio for dentists.
– Your happy patients will spread the word about their experiences in your practice and the results they achieved.
– Your unhappy patients and prospects … well, that’s not so good.
– Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth advertising, and dentists who don’t pay attention to that a re risking a lot.
– Some fa cts about online reviews:
– 7 out of 10 people say they trust a business more when it has positive reviews online.
– 9 out of 10 consumers read online reviews before they visit a business.
– And nearly 9 out of 10 prospects give equal weight to online reviews and recommendations from someone they know.
– Making sure to ask for reviews from your patients is the only sure way to get them.
– Timing is crucial, though – someone who has just spent 2 hours in your chair, and whose face is still numb, isn’t likely to be receptive to that request.
– Create a routine follow-up program for your patients to request reviews.
– Email and postcard reminders can work, but be sure not to pressure your patients.
– If your state laws allow, you can offer some inexpensive incentive for reviews.
– Be sure to specify where you’d like those reviews to appear.
– Reviews on your website are expected, and to some extent prospects tend to discount those glowing words.
– Today’s tech-savvy patients understand that anything that appears on a dentist’s website is at the dentist’s discretion.
– The major review sites like Google+, Yelp, and Healthgrades aren’t under dentists’ control, so it’s crucial to encourage independent reviews on those sites.
– But since you have no control over what people post online about your practice, you’ll need to be prepared mto deal with unfavorable reviews.
– How you deal with complaints and criticisms in the online world is a big part of your public face.
– So it only makes sense to have a strategy mapped out in advance.
– Knee-jerk reactions to criticism can do your practice a lot of harm.
– Decide in advance which staff member can be the most objective and appropriate in responding to unfavorable reviews.
– Don’t address the complaint directly online.
– Instead, have a blanket statement about how your practice tries to give every person the best experience possible.
– You can cite HIPAA to avoid engaging in online discussion.
– Invite the complainer to contact the practice directly, either by phone or email.
– Once you or your staff mem ber can engage the unhappy patient offline, make every reasonable effort to resolve the issue.
– If you’re successful, consider asking the person for a retraction or an online follow-up as appropriate.
– Managing your online reputation is crucial, but not all dental offices have the bandwidth to handle it.
– It’s an extra duty that often has to be handled outside business hours … or sandwiched into a really busy schedule during the day.
– You should know that SmartBox provides reputation management and review solicitation services for our dentists.
– They’re included in our industry-leading Patient Attraction System™.
– We help more than 550 dentists get more and better patients.
– And we free them up to practice dentistry instead of minding their online reputations.
– If you’re not getting the number or quality of new patients you need, and you’re serious about your practice’s success, here’s your best option.