You absolutely cannot overlook the importance of reviews in growing your practice. Average attrition in dental practices is right around 20%—the highest in healthcare. You need to do anything and everything you can to not only keep that attrition number low but to constantly bring new patients into the office.
One of the best ways to do that in this digital world is to seek out and leverage patient reviews. However, you can't control the reviews, and you definitely want them to be positive. So the key is to get the right reviews anywhere they're displayed: Yelp, Google, Facebook, and even your website.
So how can you ensure you're getting a steady flow of reviews of your practice? Here are four steps to getting a strategy in place:
1. Create an office culture worthy of a good review. This seems pretty obvious, but an average office and patient experience garner average reviews. Or worse: no reviews. You want the patients coming to your office to have an exceptional experience that makes them want to leave a rave review on any and all sites. With access to review sites easier than getting a library card, everyone is a critic. And that's what you have to drill into your staff. They have to know that any patient could be the one waiting to give a terrible review—and looking for any reason to do so.
That doesn't mean your practice should be reactive and waiting for that shoe to drop. Rather, your staff should treat each patient with respect and communication is key in this process. If you look at many of the negative reviews out there for any service industry from dental to restaurants, you'll see that a common thread is a misunderstanding. And while you can't control everything or every patient, if you and your staff do your very best to clearly communicate expectations, treatment, and costs, you can avoid a number of problems. Focus on giving every patient a positive experience.
2. Ask for reviews often and in a variety of ways. Always frame it positively too. For example, you may want to post a sign in your waiting room "Love our office? We'd love for you to leave us a Facebook review!" Additionally, you can send other reminders in text messages or emails after appointments and ask for reviews on your social media. Remember to keep it upbeat and positive, and to ask nicely! All too often, people are leaving negative reviews after negative experiences. But these same people are not leaving positive reviews after positive experiences! Something about human nature makes us want everyone to know about our bad times, but not as often do we focus on the good.
3. Make it easy for patients to leave a review. This is really part of the ask: making it easy to do what you're asking. For example, if you're asking for a review via text or email, include a link right to your page. People are much more likely to take the action if the next step is right there in front of them. In fact, if tablets are already available in your waiting room, you could have people leave a review or take a survey right there in your office! Folks always have their phones, too, so they could use those. Additionally, you may want to incentivize the review. Have them show their review to your staff and receive a prize, coupon, or something else. The more reviews you have, the better overall for the visibility for your practice online. But you want them to be good, so be sure to stick to #1 in our list, too.
4. Follow up and thank patients for their reviews. Whether this is on social media commenting on their review, or remembering to thank them when they come in next, these genuine expressions of thanks will go a long way. This is all part of building a great practice culture. Even if they've already left a review, you won't lose anything by thanking them for the time they spent. Additionally, these folks may love your practice so much their next step after a review is sending their friends and family to your office. Keep that relationship going, and don't take their time for granted.
At tab32, we know reviews are huge for online visibility and bringing patients into your practice—especially when you're brand new. That's why we've included built-in tools for you to get and use patient reviews. We'd love to show you more, contact us today for a free demo!
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