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Chris Pistorius, author of “The UItimate Guide To Internet Marketing For Dentists” talks about the impact of online reviews on dental practices. He also discusses the best way to get reviews, how to handle negative reviews, where you should put those reviews, and some tips on using reviews as social media boosters.
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Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the dental marketing podcast. I’m your host Chris Pistorius. And today we are going to talk a little bit about online reviews and how they factor into dentistry and are they important, do they matter? Does anybody actually pay attention to those? And how do we know? It’s a question that we get here at kickstart dental marketing a lot from clients or potential new clients about their reviews and what’s the best way to get good reviews or do they matter at all?
So I thought I would address that here in the next few minutes and maybe answer some of those questions for some of you out there that are enquiring. So Here’s the thing with online reviews. You know we’ve been, our agency has been around serving the dental community for over 12 years now. And so we know a little bit about reviews in terms of how they are actually working with dental practices. And every study that I’ve seen shows that as many as 90% of potential new patients actually look at online reviews before they decide if they’re actually going to pick up the phone and call or fill out a form on your website or click the text chat button or even schedule an online appointment right then.
So I sometimes refer to online reviews as the silent killer because you don’t know how many people are actually looking at the reviews and then deciding to maybe not call you because of that right? There’s a lot of things in digital marketing that we can track. That particular aspect of digital marketing is almost impossible to track. So, you know, I think it’s important to really build a good online reputation, you know, by getting feedback from your patients. I think it’s essential not just in dentistry, but in today’s business culture.
So how do you get, you know, customers or patients, I should say to leave feedback and even more important, how do you, how do you get them to leave a positive review for you? You know, the coveted five-star review, if you will, so now you might be tempted to buy into the thought that good patient reviews and reputation management, we call it in the business are kind of out of your control. It is what it is, just let it happen organically. Right, well, not so much.
I’ve never been a fan of what I call ostrich marketing, which is kind of putting your head in the sand and just hoping that good things will happen. Right. I think we’re past that now and that strategy definitely does not work. And I think that holds true for online reviews as well. I mean, when your practice actually utilizes a structured review system, a way to send out reviews on a consistent basis, there’s no doubt that you can drive more new patients and potential new patients to the website itself and to ultimately schedule an appointment now as a practice owner, you know, where do you begin with encouraging those high-quality reviews.
How do you motivate the patient to leave a google review or a Yelp review or on HealthGrades, How do you even get them to do a video review for you? Would that be cool? So that’s what I want to talk about here is how do we do that and you know, what’s the best way to do it? And I’ll tell you how we do it as well and you know, what works well for us. Somebody is in the industry, I will tell you though, before we get into that, I know that there’s a ton of platforms out there that, you know, they do reputation marketing or they do reputation management, you know, Den tricks has it built into their system, there’s, you know, tons of evil soft, you know, everybody has the ability to do to try to get reviews from your patients.
But what I found and what we found here at kickstart is that it’s not the technology or the platform of actually sending out requests for reviews, it’s what you say, it’s the content, it’s how you, how you theme it, it’s how it’s when you send it, what’s the best time to actually send for that review and also what can we do in the office and not just rely on technology to drive those reviews. So, when I talk about online, our views here, I’m not really talking about technology, there are tons of different ways to do that.
We haven’t technology that does that as well. It’s more about the content, the personalized touch of getting those reviews. So let’s get let’s get to it. So what our reviews, what is feedback, how does it help you as a dental practice owner? Well, patient feedback as we talked about in my opinion is 11 of the lifeblood of the dental practice. I mean to start what you need to know is is that there’s dental reviews online, whether you have anything to do with about have anything to do with it or not.
And they’re largely determined by the patient’s overall experience with your practice, right? So the more knowledgeable and thorough that your staff is in delivering great service and a great experience for that patient means the greater likelihood patients are gonna feel compelled to rate that dentist. Now. Unfortunately what we see is that you know, a lot of reviews come from P. 22 things. One there even there just over the moon happy from what you did what you’ve done for them. But secondly, they’re really pissed off and they’re more compelled to leave a review when they’re pissed off than when they’re happy and that sucks as a business owner.
I’m a business owner too I get it. So it’s the patients who have a positive experience with your practice are the ones more compelled to offer good feedback. The thing is that when you can get them to leave you a good review, they automatically turn into kind of a practice advocate for you because they feel loyalty because hey, I put my brand on this practice now, I’m going to defend it right. That makes them more likely to refer friends or family members.
So when you have patients actually leaving you a positive review, you’ve turned them into almost a patient ambassador and they’re more likely to actually refer you out. So there are some, definitely some byproducts of going out and getting good reviews. But on the other side of that reviews are also a great opportunity to help correct mistakes and, and further, kind of refine your services and how you do things because think about it, you know, reviews. If you get a negative review and everybody does right, it’s going to happen.
You shouldn’t get defensive about that right off the bat anyway. You need to learn more about it, see what happened. First of all make sure it’s the right person because we see a lot of people here at kickstart that might leave a bad review for one of our clients, but it actually wasn’t our client, you know, that is similar name to somebody else. So first of all, make sure it was your patient okay. And if, if it’s not your patient, you know, do everything you can, to, to reach out to them and say, hey, I think you have the wrong, the wrong practice.
Could you take a look and you know, if not please call us and we want to, we want to try to work that out. But um, you know, so it’s, if it is a legit review and it is a negative review then learn from it, see what, see what the problem is offered to reach out. You know, give a phone number right in the review because think about when you respond to reviews like that, you’re not just responding to the person that left a negative review.
Your also responding to the people who potentially see those responses, right? So if they see a negative review, They’re automatically gonna be attracted to see what that was all about the -1 and how you responded. So respond to it say, hey, we’re gonna do everything that we can to try to try to earn your business back. We apologize for any mistakes. Please call me directly at this number. Um and let’s talk about it and try to make it good for you. And sometimes when you do that and they actually do communicate back with you, you can actually get them to review or remove that review.
So that’s what feed, that’s what the review systems are all about. That’s some ways that you could potentially respond any negative reviews. So there’s tons of websites out there that allow you to allow people to leave reviews about your practice. But I will tell you today that the top two that I would worry about would be google and facebook now google is increasing and increasing and increasing engagement with the reviews that I believe is the number one platform because people already using their platform, they’re already going to google first to do a search for Dennis near me um cosmetic dentist, dear me best dentist in whatever city.
Right, So that’s where they’re going to automatically see your first reviews. Okay, number one platform, number two is facebook and unfortunately facebook I think made a mistake a year or so ago when they changed how they did reviews, they change their star ratings. So now it’s like recommended versus a certain amount of stars, right? But people are still paying attention to facebook and guess what facebook’s about, the second best biggest used platform on the internet behind google. Right. And then there’s yelp. Okay, that’s where I would probably put number three, let me go on record as saying, I do not like yelp.
And I know there’s a lot of people probably agreeing me with this, I don’t like their business practices. I don’t like their advertising campaigns and how they set those up. Um we’ve tested multiple paid advertising accounts on yelp and we had very few that had gave any type of return on investment. Okay there review system is very strict. You could have 20 patients go and leave you a good honest review on yelp and maybe two or three or five of them would stick stick meaning they didn’t get filtered out.
They have such an aggressive algorithm to try to remove um fake reviews that it’s it’s turned up too high and even the good reviews get filtered out and they don’t ever show up. So you you do all this work to get people to review you and your patients do all the work to actually leave the review and then they might go back and it’s not the reviews are not even there. Right so to me yeah yelp people do look at it but in my in my opinion they look more at yelp for restaurants and entertainment than they do for actual dental practices.
So if it were my practice I would focus on google and facebook and then if you want to go to like a HealthGrades, you know that could be a good third option as well. The mistake that I think you can make with reviews is giving them too many options. So if you send them a review request you say, hey leave us a review google yahoo yelp. HealthGrades dog HealthGrades dog pile dot com. You know you give them like 10 different choices and that just causes confusion and they’re not gonna they’re not gonna engage because I’ll do it later. Right?
Whereas if you give them one or two options. I’ve already got a google account or yeah, I’ve already got a facebook account. So it’ll be really easy. Right? So those are the top top review review sites that I think that I would recommend using. So all right, we figured out where to we want to get those reviews now. How do we encourage positive reviews? So, I mean the average dental patient is pretty darn busy, right? You know, the old saying is with dentistry is people typically don’t like to go to the dentist because of time fear or money, Right?
Or maybe all three of those things. But you know, time is certainly a big part of it. So they’re limited with time. So not only do they not even want to go to the dentist, but they don’t like how long it takes to go to the dentist and now you’re asking them to take another what, 10 minutes or something to leave a review about the dentist. Right? So most patients who had a good experience are are happy at the thought of leaving a review. Um But not all of them will do it just from an email or a text message that’s sent to them sometimes not even it doesn’t even matter how good they’re written.
So the first piece of advice that I want to give you in terms of getting more positive reviews is first of all ask, you know, this should not be you should not wait for technology to ask for you, right? Um I know dentists as a as a kind of a stereotype or a little bit more introverts. You know, not everyone certainly. But you know, and asking a patient for a review might seem like you’re I’m crazy for asking you to do that. But it goes a long way because you as a dentist has have a personal relationship with that with that patient.
They are looking up to you in terms of their health. Um just you being a doctor. Um they really hinge on almost every word that you say. So a lot of our clients, we have actually talked to them before they leave the bay and they’ll say, look, you know, once you’re done, you’ll probably get an email or a text from us asking you about your experience here today. If you don’t mind, it would mean a lot for me if you would give us some good feedback. That’s it, that’s it.
You’ve set it up now. They’re expecting that that that email or text message and somebody of authority has asked them to help them out, help you out. And that is going to go a long way to get more reviews. Okay? So if you feel like you can do that and you don’t have to do it for every patient. But you know, just just try it out and I promise you that that that will work a lot. So another way to cultivate good reviews is to find recurring keywords of online customer reviews or patient reviews about the practice and incorporate those into the content of your website.
Um It’s kind of high level, it’s something that we do here so that when a when a patient is searching for a dental practice in your market, your practice is actually more likely to show up on google. So um it’s just a way to potentially potentially drive some more of that activity. So you some feedback as well. I mean you used the feedback that you get from online reviews to improve the practice. Um it’s a proven way to create better brand, you know and if you want to tell me that dentists don’t shouldn’t be doing brand marketing than you know you’re crazy because they should be more than anybody more than coca cola should or Pepsi or any of the huge brands because a local brand, if you can actually brand a local brand, it’s way more powerful because people resignation with local much more than they do national brands.
So uses feedback to resolve issues and identify what patients love so that you can fix what is wrong and deliver more of what they love. I mean think about it as a dental practice, you’re not selling dental products and services you’re selling solutions to problems, right? So somebody’s in pain, Somebody wants their smile to look prettier, you know that’s what you’re in business for. So also engagement, you know, engage with your patients about their experiences by responding to the to the reviews. Okay. So I see a lot of time, we talked a little bit about, you know, not responding to responding to negative reviews and how to do that, but you should be responding also to positive reviews. Okay.
I mean, it helps that a couple of different things, people are going to see that you’re taking the time to respond. It just takes a few seconds per seconds per a few seconds per review. So it’s not like it’s a big time suck and you could have somebody in the front desk easily do it now. Don’t use the same thanks bob for the great review every time, mix it up a little bit, you know, make sure it’s unique. Um you know, thank them for the business. Um, you know, just engage with them in any way.
It just shows to them it’s worth their time to leave you that that review. And then it also shows people that don’t know you yet, but they’re looking at your reviews that you are actually engaged and you appreciate what they’ve done now, I’ll tell you also that you should highlight positive reviews on your website, everybody does it right. I do it myself. Um, but just know that when you put positive reviews on your website, they are never going to be as trusted as much as actual text reviews on independent websites Because what fool would put negative reviews on their own website. Right.
It kind of makes sense. So you know you can feature some reviews on your homepage. I like to put pictures next to the reviews that just spruces them up a little bit. So if you’ve got some graphic design experience or somebody in the office that can do things like that then you certainly should try. Um I like to pretty those reviews up, put an image next to it and some creative tax and use those as social media posts as well. Those seem to go a long way and there’s tools like canvas C. A. N. V. A. That you can use um to spruce up.
So open those reviews. Um You can also send people directly to customer surveys. That’s a possibility instead of a review. We’ve tested that and yeah you get the surveys back and that’s cool. But then what do you do with the survey? It’s not like other people can see those. Right. So we typically stay away from the customer surveys and we do more of the um send them directly to the review site so that they can leave that review directly online. Okay so we talked a little bit about negative reviews.
I want to kind of cover that a little bit as well because um this just came up with a potential new client of ours. They really had um it was a worker actually that they had to let go and they went on several different review sites and just bashed him and put negative stuff all over the place. So um you know, the point here is no matter what or no how no matter how great your practices somehow somewhere there’s probably going to be some negative feedback coming around as well.
That’s not the end of the world. I mean if you look us up kick start doing marketing, you’re gonna find a bad review on google. And that’s from that same exact experience we were hiring for I believe as a web developer or something. And um when we decided to hire somebody and the person that was in the running didn’t get the job and took it out on us by actually putting a negative review on google for us. So you know, it’s just gonna happen. So you know, I would like I talked about it, I think that I would engage um positively to negative reviews if that makes sense.
I mean the first thing start, you start by responding right away. It shows the person you’re paying attention um any response is better than no response. Um a fast response is best, right, apologize for. Well, first of all make sure it’s actually your patient if you can write if you think that they’ve gotten your name wrong and they’re looking for another practice and you know, certainly respond that way. Um apologize for the experience if it is a real real review, even though you may not be apologetic in the in the situation, you’re validating their feelings, you’re making them feel hurt, right?
And the people that are looking at these reviews are seeing that as well, like I said, offer a resolution, tell them how you can correct the situation, Whether it’s to have them come in for free or whatever it may be, do whatever you can to resolve that. Because number one you could get them back in resolve the relationship. You don’t lose a patient and you can also probably get them to take that bad review down, right? Ask them to give you another chance. I know it sounds desperate and not everybody will be comfortable without, but it shows that you care about their experience and ultimately every patient experience that happens in your practice.
Um and lastly use that negative feedback to correct. And I mean, look for, you know, if you get two or three bad reviews over a year, is that the consistently the same thing is at the front desk, is it they were hung up on is that they were put on hold too long. You know, if there’s something consistent there, then we need to probably change something in the practice business wise. Right? So anyway, I’m gonna I’m gonna stop here. I mean, I could go on this for probably an hour or so, but um you know, I think it’s just to answer the question I originally gave up online reviews for dental practices.
Absolutely do matter. I’ve got studies to show it. I’ve got actual real marketing results to show it. You do need to pay attention to it. You do need to make it a priority in your practice. Um Remember it’s not the technology it’s not den trick sending them out for you. It’s not you know demand for sending them out for you whatever it may be. It’s how you put those together and what you say and how you ask and when you send them is the real connection here and that’s how you’ll drive more good reviews.
Um So anyway of course my company kickstart dental marketing shameless plug. We one of our specialties is this and helping with um online reviews. Getting more of them putting systems in place and writing the content just the way I just talked about so if you do need some help with that, feel free to reach out. Best ways just go to the website kickstart dental dot com and click on the free strategy session button. I do all of those myself. So you could talk you’d be talking with me directly and we can talk about how you do reviews now or any other marketing and maybe put you on track to make everything better.
So anyway thanks so much for tuning in for another episode and hopefully you’ve got a lot out of it and um we’ll be back next week with another great topic so yeah.