You’ve heard people say that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. What may surprise you is just how important that word of mouth has gotten since the advent of online review sites. Site like Yelp and Google+ have transformed online “shopping” by giving users access to reviews from businesses online. Online reviews about your practice, both positive and negative, can make or break your reputation. Consumers will go out of their way to give their business to a practice with consistently good reviews and high ratings. They will just as easily forego a company, product or service that receives poor consumer reviews.
This is not a new phenomenon; after all, the review system has been around in some form or another since the beginning of commerce. What makes online reviews so important to your dental practice is their ability to reach more patients than ever before. People in far-flung regions or even different countries can now potentially find out all about your dental practice. The good, the bad and the ambivalent- before even visiting your website.
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that no reviews can be just as detrimental as bad reviews to a business. Because online review sites are so prevalent in today’s digital society, it is easy to access an online review site and leave praise or criticism for any practice on a local, national or even global level. People are more likely than ever to leave a review for a business, product or service thanks to the ease and efficiency of online review sites. For this reason, consumers view the complete absence of reviews for a dental practice as a red flag. It is a warning that they should perhaps take their business to a more well-reviewed practice so they know what to expect.
So how can you boost your quantity and quality of online reviews for your practice? First and foremost, it’s essential to provide the best possible products and services, as well as excellent customer service. If you currently have negative online reviews, take a moment to assess them and find solutions to the problems. Address the issues your clients are reporting internally, or even by responding directly to them in a productive way. After all, negative reviews exist for a reason: your consumer base is trying to provide suggestions for improving your business. Try not to take offense at these reviews, and instead view them as an opportunity for growth and improvement..
However, if you have no negative reviews and only a handful of positive reviews, or no reviews at all, you are facing a slightly different challenge: it’s crucial to your business to motivate your satisfied patients to leave positive online reviews. Many companies offer small rewards or incentives to their customers for leaving an online review, such as a discount on a future purchase. Having an incentive available, such as a free whitening treatment or a discount on a cosmetic dental procedure may be a motivator for your patients to leave positive online reviews, which can then lead to an increase in patients and an overall boost to your revenue.
Online reviews are helpful and important for clients and business owners alike. They provide instant feedback for business owners to ensure they’re offering the best possible service at all times. They can also be informative to patients trying to make a decision to choose a particular practice over a competitor. Once you get your online reviews in order, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results you receive.