Your current patients are some of your most powerful marketers. That’s because in most cases, people trust the opinions of other patients more than any other marketing tactic out there. In years past, word-of-mouth was only possible over a cup of coffee. But today, the conversation has shifted from only two people to millions of people who go online to read reviews about local healthcare providers. Your potential patients are relying extensively on online reviews and testimonials from other patients before making a decision to schedule an appointment with your practice.
Here are three ways that online reviews can help generate new appointments for your practice.
1. Build patient confidence in your services
When a patient writes a great review about your practice online, it says volumes about your standard of care. Praises and compliments about your staff, cleanliness of office or treatment outcome will provide your existing patients even more reason to continue coming to your office, and it may even motivate them to try out an elective procedure they’ve been putting off for years, such as teeth whitening or Invisalign.
2. Influence patient prospects
Just as reviews can build trust among your current patients, patient testimonials can also have an enormous influence on prospects looking for a new dentist in your area. Too many negative reviews will send a potential patient elsewhere, but positive reviews and testimonials found on your website or online directories can be the deciding factor for a prospect looking for a new dental provider. Online reviews from real, genuine patients are just as influential as an in-person referral from a friend or family member.
3. Learn from your mistakes
A few negative reviews aren’t completely bad. Patient feedback—positive and negative—can help you identify areas in your practice that need improvement, such as front-desk friendliness. If a service or staff member is consistently receiving bad ratings, then you can determine how to address the issue at hand and improve upon those skills. Additionally, you can also use negative online reviews to remedy a situation where a patient had a bad experience that you otherwise wouldn’t know about.
Online competition is intense. One of the greatest ways to retain existing patients and secure new referrals is to proactively monitor your online reputation and encourage existing patients to review you on popular review sites and online directories, such as Yelp and Google. It can become one of your most powerful marketing assets and a valuable tool for driving new leads to your dental website where they can learn more about your practice and schedule an appointment.