Dentists: Learn How To Ask Your Patients For A Review The Right Way
The chances are good that many of the new patients who book an appointment with you have read online reviews of your practice before they called you. In fact, about 60% of all consumers use online reviews to help them choose a healthcare provider.
It’s worth noting that consumers tend to trust online reviews from strangers as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. In other words, yesterday’s word-of-mouth has become today’s review on Google or Yelp.
Obviously, getting good reviews for your practice is a must if you want to attract new patients. The tricky part is doing what you can to encourage patients to write reviews without pressuring them. Reviews must be genuine to be useful.
So, how do you ask dental patients for reviews? We'll get there, trust me. First we need to understand why reviews are important.
Why Reviews Matter
Let’s start by talking about why good reviews matter to your dental practice. They can help you:
In other words, good online reviews can help improve your search ranking (albeit minimally) and attract new patients – and if you live in an area where you’re in competition with several other practices, that can make a big difference.
Claiming Your Listings on Review Sites
The first step you need to take before you encourage patients to write a dental review or testimonial is to claim your listings on online review sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
Claiming your listings allows you to verify the information about your business, including your address, URL of your website, telephone number, hours, and other key data that patients need to find you.
Here’s a quick overview of how to do it:
When you’re updating your information, make sure to do the following:
Doing these things ensures that your listings are accurate and complete, and that you won’t be confused with another dental practice in your area.
It’s a good idea to link to your Yelp profile on your website and social media pages. That way, patients will know you’ve got a presence there and may click through to leave a review.
How to Ask for Dental Reviews
Now that you know how to claim your review listings, let’s talk about how to get patients to write reviews. There are four basic techniques you can use depending on your comfort level and budget.
The first method you can try is emailing new and long-term patients to ask for reviews. Email marketing is cost-effective and can help you build trust with your patients.
When a new patient comes to your office, make sure to get their email address when they fill out their preliminary paperwork. That way, you can add them to your mailing list and reach out to ask for a review after you’ve treated them.
In the email, thank them for coming to see you and ask them to consider leaving a review. You can make it easy by linking out to your listings on Yelp, Google, and Bing.
Face to Face
The next method you can try, if you’re comfortable with it, is to ask patients to write a review of your practice when they’re in your office for an appointment. You may not want to ask during a cleaning or treatment, but you can ask when you’re done or have a receptionist ask for you.
Not everyone is comfortable with this sort of face-to-face interaction, but if you are, then you might want to try it. You can even provide patients with a business card or hand-out that has links to your review sites.
Face to face definitely is one of the most effective ways to get patients to leave reviews.
If your practice isn’t on social media then it’s time to get started. Even having just one profile on Facebook can boost your visibility and make it easy to connect with current and prospective patients.
By sharing relevant and valuable posts on social media, you can remind patients who haven’t seen you in a while of the services you provide.
On your Facebook profile page, you can list more than one URL. For example, you can link to your site and to Yelp and Google My Business.
You can even ask patients directly for reviews. For example, you might post something like this:
Did you know that we’re one of the top-rated dental practices in Lake Forest? Click here to let us know how we’re doing.
Then, you can include a link to Yelp or Google My Business. The chances are good that some of the people who see your post will click through and leave a review.
Compared to some of the other methods listed here, soliciting reviews via direct mail might seem like an old-fashioned approach. However, it can be effective because a piece of mail is harder to ignore than an email or a Facebook post.
Bulk mailing rates are still quite affordable. For some patients, getting mail from you may feel more personal and compelling than getting an email. The fact that you took the time to send them something might tip them toward wanting to leave a review.
Guiding Patients through the Review Process
Some patients who you talk to about reviews may be reluctant or nervous about writing one. If that’s the case, then you can provide some general guidance about how to proceed.
It’s important to note that we’re not talking about telling patients what to say about you and your dental practice. Rather, we’re talking about giving them some pointers that can help them get started.
Examples of Good Dental Reviews
The first thing you can do is to provide patients with examples of well-written dental reviews. If you’ve already got an established listing on Yelp, you can simply direct them to your Yelp page and suggest they read other reviews to get ideas.
If you’re just getting started and don’t have any online reviews, then you may want to find a sample review from another practice (preferably not one of your competitors) and share it with patients.
Dental Review Highlights
Another thing that may be helpful to patients who want to write reviews is providing them with a list of potential topics to address in their reviews. Here are some examples:
By providing them with details to cover in their reviews, you can help them get started.
While not directly related to writing reviews, one of the most important ways to encourage patients to review your dental practice and leave the kinds of comments that will help you attract new patients is to focus on your interactions with patients.
The more accommodating and friendly you and your staff are, the more likely it is that patients will be moved to leave a review. The truth is that consumers tend not to leave reviews for middle-of-the-road services. Instead, they review businesses that they love or hate.
Providing excellent patient services can do a great deal to encourage reviews. If patients love coming to your office, they’re going to want to help you out by writing a review.
How to Moderate Review Sites
Soliciting reviews of your dental practice is important, but your job doesn’t end there. You’ll also have to get in the habit of moderating review sites to ensure that your reputation isn’t damaged by a negative review.
Nobody likes to get negative reviews, but most businesses must cope with one eventually. How you handle negative reviews can have a huge impact on the way potential patients view your practice.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when monitoring your review pages:
If you ask an employee to respond to reviews on your behalf, make sure that you specify how you want them to reply to negative reviews. You may want to let them know the appropriate tone to use and what they are empowered to do to try to help the reviewer.
Even if you’re not the one monitoring reviews, we recommend checking in periodically to make sure that things are being handled properly. If reviews are not responded to in a timely manner or if they’re not handled professionally, it can impact future reviews as well.
In the end, positive reviews of your dental practice can help you solidify your relationships with current patients and attract new ones. Considering how important online reviews are to the average consumer, it’s time to start using patient reviews to your advantage.
Don't forget what we discussed.
How to ask for a review.
How you can ask your patient for a review.
Tips you can give them to get started.