Patient Reviews – Managing Your Reputation Online

by Guest on April 13, 2012

in Digital Marketing,Internet,Social Media

A Guest blog from Deploy Dental. The opinions expressed are from Deply Dental not Dr. Larry Emmott. However I believe it is valuable for dentists to get various takes on technology issues in order to make good technology choices.

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By: Deploy Dental

One of the most powerful (though not always beneficial) ways that the Internet has changed the consumer is through the rise in popularity of online reviews.  For dentists, or any product or service for that matter, reviews are often the deciding factor when potential patients research a new dentist.  Almost everyone can understand that there will be one or two disgruntled or unreasonable patients who leave bad reviews, but if this has become a trend on one of your profiles it can bring down your rating and directly affect your bottom line.  Here we will discuss some of the ins and outs of dealing with negative reviews and ways to encourage positive ones.

Dealing with Negative Reviews

Bad reviews are horrible for business, and while there is not a whole lot of options except to encourage many more good ones (discussed below), there are a few things you can do to combat this negative influence.

Google Places

Almost every local business has a Google Places profile.  Even if you yourself are unaware, Google has likely scanned a business listing and automatically created one for you.  Once you find your profile and see a review that you feel is unfair, untrue, or is blatantly spam or hateful, you have the option to flag it.  Just click the ‘Flag as inappropriate’ option located directly below the review in question, and then submit the report form.  This is no guarantee, however, as it will ultimately be up to a Google Moderator to decide if it gets removed.

The only other option is to contact the reviewer directly.  This is not always possible, but if you are able to recognize the incident discussed or the patient, you can try to rectify the situation with them personally.  If successful, you can then ask them to delete their review.  Hopefully they will appreciate your graciousness and agree to remove it.  And who knows, you might even win back that unhappy patient!

Yelp

Yelp has become one of the heavyweights in the world of online reviews, and though they have fewer users than Google Places (especially in smaller cities), they also automatically create business listings.  In order to respond to negative reviews on Yelp you first have to claim your profile.  While viewing your profile, simply click the link that reads ‘Work here? Unlock this business page.’  Then follow the directions to confirm your connection.

Once this has been completed, you have the options to directly engage with your reviewers through public or private messages.  It is advisable to first privately discuss with them how you can regain their business or why you think their review is unfair.  If they cannot be reasoned with, you can then post a public comment telling your side of the story.  Next to their review just click the link that says ‘Add owner comment’.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

The best way to combat negative reviews is to be proactive in encouraging positive ones.  This is the only option in which you really have any control, so we highly recommend gaining many positive reviews before a bad one appears.

Ask For Them!

Many businesses and dental practices simply wait for good reviews to come naturally, but the simple facts are that people are much more likely to talk about a bad experience than a good one.  So, when you see someone is satisfied with the service and care they received, tell them how much you’d appreciate them leaving a review.  You can even have a computer or iPad for them to do it right in your office, and direct them to your Google Places or Yelp profile.

Another great place to ask for reviews is on Facebook.  If your practice has set up a Facebook Fan Page then any followers are probably patients who have already had a good experience.  Ask them to please share their stories, and post the links to all your profiles.  Additionally, make sure your practice website also includes these links.

Final Thoughts

Online reviews have become an integral part of the decision making process for potential clients, and this trend is only likely to increase.  Dental practices must learn to manage their reputations in order to better position themselves for acquiring new patients from the Internet.  This guide should have provided some simple step to make sure people searching for you only have good things to hear.

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