Do You Have A Five Star Practice?

Think your practice’s online reviews don’t matter? Think again.

While you may think that having a fully optimized website is where to put your focus (and we agree!) don’t underestimate the power of online reviews. In the past couple of years, people have grown heavily reliant on online reviews for everything from hair salons to restaurants to mechanics. Searching for a dentist isn’t any different. As humans, we want to know we’re getting the best service possible. A recent Bright Local SEO survey showed that nearly 90% of online customers trust anonymous reviews almost as much as a personal recommendation. Your reviews matter.

Get 5 Star Reviews For Your PracticeWe have a client who had an optimized profile but no reviews on Google+. We challenged them to ask some patients to leave reviews. Their front desk team rose to the challenge and were able to get a handful of patients to write reviews. In no time, the number of their prospective patients grew because, as residents of a smaller town, this practice was now the only 5-star practice in town.

We know you are offering excellent care and service to your patients. Make sure that is reflected in what people are saying about you online. If reviews aren’t something you’ve made an effort to curate, now is the time to start to ask the simple question “Would you be willing to share your experience today with other patients who haven’t visited our practice yet?” It’s a simple way to make sure that the service and care you’re providing in office is reflected online. Have questions on how to get started? Contact ProspectaMarketing and learn more.

How To React To Negative Reviews Online

The importance of having a strong online presence is increasing as reviews on local listing sites such as Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Bing Local and Yelp are becoming more of a factor for ranking your business. We all want our business to have five star reviews across the board, but what should you do if you receive a negative review? Step one: take a deep breath.

Negative reviews are an unfortunate reality of any customer service industry. But they don’t always mean the downfall of your company. Here are some ways to react if you receive a negative review:

  • Try to resolve the issue with the reviewer directly. If you recognize the patient from their comments and why they may have reacted this way, try to contact them to see if you can address their concerns and come to a resolution. If they are satisfied, ask them if they could remove the negative feedback.
  • If a resolution cannot be met, it’s a good idea to respond publicly to the review as the business owner on the site. The customer may not be happy, but you will be able to present yourself as professional and responsive to feedback by explaining what happened and how you will rectify the situation in the future. Is the reviewer’s complaint legitimate? Take a moment to see if you can enact a change in your office that will be an overall improvement in the service you provide for future patients.
  • Use the public reply as an opportunity spin the negative into a positive and explain something about the practice that wouldn’t be known otherwise. For instance, do you offer a 100% patient satisfaction guarantee or their money back? Mention this.
  • Finally, and most importantly, bury the negative with positive reviews. There are a number of ways to encourage your patients to leave reviews. Whether it is through an e-mail request with a link to your review page, a QR code poster that lets them leave a review from their cell phone or having a device in the practice office that lets them leave immediate feedback, reviews are a vital part of improving your local listing search rankings.

So next time you get a negative review- stay calm. This is a chance to improve your service and turn a person who had a negative experience into another satisfied customer.

Google Places 3rd Party Reviews Disappear

The news from Google that they will not post 3rd party reviews (only links to them) has created concern for many dental practices that rely on local internet marketing. For some time now, we have always recommended having patient reviews directly in the search engines as well as using third party review sites.  Now that these third party reviews have disappeared from Google Places (other than to have a link to them), it is important to have a strategy to get reviews posted directly in Google.  During the past few weeks, we have discussed a variety of approaches with dental practices.  Here are some strategies to consider.

• Some patient reminder systems for dental practices such as SmileReminder and DemandForce can automatically invite your patients to go into the search engines and write reviews after an office visit.  This is a great way to keep a steady flow of reviews coming into the search engines, but there is a monthly cost.

• Send your own e-mails out to your patients with a link to your local listing. We can help you format an e-mail with links directly to your local listings where they can write a review.  Give them some help with instructions.  Contact us if you would like to some help formatting these e-mails.

• Use QR codes to help direct patients to your local listings using their smart phones.   It will make it easy for them to find you, and they can use their smart phone to write a review and share their experience with others.

• Consider a simple reminder such as a business card with the address of your local listing on it that your patients can take home with them.  Make is convenient.

Reviews are gaining more and more attention from consumers, and it is important to pay attention to this area of your marketing.

Building Your Online Reputation

In the past, dental practices relied on satisfied patients to spread the word with their friends and acquaintances. Today, more and more patients are going online to share their experiences with friends and many others they don’t even know. While reviews have been online for several years for books, electronics and sellers on eBay, reviews are just gaining hold for local service providers.  This is an important developing area of the internet that makes sense to cultivate. While what others were saying about your practice was fairly invisible in the past, now word of mouth is online and visible for years.

Following are some excerpts from an October 2, 2009 Wall Street Journal article by Raymund Flandez that suggest some tips for improving your online reputation.

Three Best Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation

By RAYMUND FLANDEZ

These days, a great danger lurks just a few clicks away: the online review. By Googling your company’s name, anyone can read and track your business’s performance – including missteps, poor service or less-than-stellar products.

Protecting your company’s reputation is now a 24-hour vigil. Negative reviews – whether they’re merited or not – can turn away potential customers and vendors, and reflect badly on your company’s brand.

The good news is that small-business owners can be proactive in securing positive reviews by asking satisifed customers to share their experiences. But what if it’s already too late?

Here are the three best ways to improve your online reputation:

1. Reach out immediately to dissatisfied reviewers. Their negative comments don’t need to be the end of the conversation. Small-business owners should attempt a dialogue, experts say, as complainers might improve the review or take down the post. Oguz Ucanlar, president of SpaForever LLC in Chicago, managed to turn around bad reviews on Yelp.com by contacting the aggrieved posters. He apologized, explained the situation and offered the reviewers discounts or a free massage. The result? One bad review was deleted, and the spa’s overall rating went up. “I take it really seriously,” he says. It also helps that Yelp now allows business owners to respond publicly to any customer comment, giving others a window into how the business treats its most finicky customers.

When a bad review surfaces, an apology goes a long way, says Lisa Barone, co-founder of Outspoken Media Inc., a Spring Hill, Fla., Internet marketing company. “Most people just want to be heard,” she says. “They just want to know you’re listening and you care, and that you’re going to try and fix it.”

Keep in mind that a negative review can sometimes be helpful. Case in point: an online customer of Nationwide Candy LLC of Albuquerque, N.M., complained after she received the wrong bubblegum product. Turns out, the candy wholesaler had posted an incorrect image on its site. “It just casted a bad image on us,” says Ken Hanson, its general manager, who immediately corrected the error.

2. Flood search engines with content you can control. Use digital media’s reach to your full advantage, says Evan Bailyn, founder of First Page Sage LLC, a New York search engine optimization company. Mr. Bailyn says he often helps clients put “good publicity on top to knock bad publicity off the first page” of search engine results. To do that, he suggests releasing press releases through prnewswire.com or pr.com and building Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts since these social-media sites show up high on search results. “The overall strategy is inundating the Google results with as much good or neutral content as possible so that the bad seems like an anomaly,” Mr. Bailyn says.

3. Appeal to bloggers to review your company or your product. Getting others to weigh in can be an effective way to generate neutral or positive reviews to counteract negative ones. Influential bloggers in your niche market can bring instant credibility to a company. If you already know bloggers in your industry, read or reach others by simply scanning their blogrolls, a handy list (typically placed in the sidebar) of potential contacts. Alert them to news about your product or service as a first step in building the relationship.

For your dental practice, one of the ways you can take control of your online reputation is to invite your satisfied patients to provide reviews.  This is easy to do with a simple e-mail invitation that includes a link to your listing on a site such as Google Maps or Yahoo Local where they can write a review.  ProspectaMarketing assists dentists with this by building their local online listing with helpful information about the practice and then providing e-mail templates that can be sent to their patients to write reviews.  It is easy to implement and just requires some ongoing attention and effort.

Some dentists have concerns about the lack of control over reviews.  The best defense is a well-run practice.  However, even the best practices may have a dissatisfied customer from time to time.  One doctor of an excellent practice had a dissatisfied patient who wrote a negative review and had her husband write a negative review as if he were a patient also.  After a phone call to discuss their concerns, they agreed to remove the reviews.  Sometimes just showing you hear them and will resolve their concerns will resolve the problem and maybe even create greater loyalty.