Today’s consumers (and patients) conduct online research for all major purchases — and that includes their dental and other healthcare services. Especially when they need a local provider, they want to see reviews of that practice — and the providers. They want to know who you are, and what your patients think of you.
Google’s listings include such factors as review score, review quantity, review velocity, and the actual text in reviews; that’s how Google’s local search rankings are developed.
If your healthcare practice has a better review score and more reviews than your competitors, you’re likely to rank higher in local searches. These reviews are “social proof” and they reflect real human data that’s associated with your healthcare practice as viewed online.
Don’t ignore other platforms
You can’t ignore Google reviews, as they are the most visible in search results. They appear prominently in the Google My Business panel that appears when you search for a business name.
These reviews carry the most weight — but Google’s algorithm also looks at reviews on other sites, so you must understand which sites matter for your business.
Facebook is certainly a major review platform, although it uses “recommendations” instead of reviews. While many businesses hide their Facebook reviews page, that can be detrimental.
Your audience is already interacting on Facebook, and your practice has likely been discussed — so it’s best to show your reviews section — so your recommendations are easily available as social proof.
In addition, these review sites are also critical:
Asking for reviews
To get more positive reviews of your practice, you simply have to ask people for reviews. Most people want to leave a positive review after a good experience. You can also expect unhappy patients to leave bad reviews when the situation calls for it — but you can use that as an opportunity to show your ability to work with patients to satisfy them. It’s important to keep up with your reviews so you can respond quickly!
Don’t be afraid to ask your satisfied customers to share their story online too; if you’re providing great products or services, a lot of folks will be happy to leave a review.
Make it easy for patients to leave a review
- Set up the page with a simple URL that your staff and patients can easily remember.
- Create a short message thanking patients for choosing you as their provider
- Provide links to several third-party sites (like Google, Facebook, etc.) where they can leave reviews.
- With each review site, include a link directly to your practice’s profile on that site — so patients can easily leave their review.
Follow up with patients
- Add your reviews page URL to your patient’s receipt.
- Print small note cards with a simple thank you message — and a reminder to leave a review — which you can hand to patients.
- Send automated emails to patients after their appointment, graciously asking for a review and including a link to your reviews page.
- Share links to your reviews page with your followers on social media, asking for feedback.
Responding to reviews
Every review deserves a response, the negative and positive. If a happy patient takes time to leave a positive review, you should thank them. When a business owner responds to a review, Google sends an alert to the reviewer to let them know. Your happy customers will be even happier to know you’ve read what they wrote and appreciate their kind words.
Responding to negative reviews
Your response to negative feedback is critical to your business; your potential patients want to see how you’ve handled each situation. A great response can sometimes bring you more business than a glowing review.
Don’t ever leave a cookie-cutter response to a negative review, as this will look like you don’t care. Instead, be honest and let people know what happened. If you or someone on your staff dropped a ball, admit it — then go out of your way to make things right.
If the reviewer makes a false claim, ask for more details because the story doesn’t match what happened. If you have no record of that customer or the situation, don’t be afraid to mention that in your reply. Being honest can go a long way.
Build your practice with reviews
Reviews provide real-time social proof that your healthcare practice is loved by many people, so it’s essential to build your review profile. The SEO benefits you reap from this effort, and the growth in patient load, are your rewards.