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3 Steps to More views from Satisfied Patients

by Marc Fowler

Today’s consumer is conditioned to seek out “social proof” prior to making a purchase or selecting a serv- ice provider.

The most important social proof for a dental practice is reviews posted online by patients. So, it’s not sur- prising that nearly every practice that contacts us wants to know how to get more reviews from satis- fied patients.

According to a recent BrightLocal survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, nine out of 10 people trust reviews left on the internet by anony- mous strangers as much as recommendations from their friends, neighbors or family members.

A lack of positive patient reviews poses several problems for a dental practice. Here are a few:

  •  If you only have a handful of positive reviews, a single neg- ative review can have a big impact on your average rating score.
  • If the practice down the street has a lot of positive reviews, you are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attract- ing new patients.
  • Your star rating for your Google My Business listing isn’t visible in Google search results until you receive at least five reviews.
  • Without reviews, prospective patients aren’t able to receive that reassurance of social proof that they seek.
  • The number of reviews has been shown to be a factor in Google’s ranking formula.

Unless you ask, many of your satisfied patients will not even think to give you a positive review. And, you have to ask multiple times in multiple ways to maximize your chances of receiving those reviews.
It is well known among advertisers that repetition and exposure drive consumer action. The more often you put your message in front of your audience, the more likely they are to remember it – and take action.

Here are three simple tips to help you get more reviews from your satisfied patients.

  1. Use attention-getting signs in your office to ask for reviews.
    Place signs throughout your practice prompting your patients to write a review. You can place them in the waiting area, in operatories and anywhere else a patient
    may have idle time.The signs can direct them to your Google+ or Yelp listings. Or, as we do for our clients, you can build a “review funnel” page and direct them there. Once on the page, patients see links to important online directory listings. When designed properly, your review funnel page will also dramatically reduce the chances of a negative review being posted about you in a public forum.
  2. Hand out wallet-sized Review Us cards. 
    Train your team to hand out review cards to each satisfied patient. The size of a busi- ness card, these tools are a great, physical reminder to review your practice. Similar to the in-office signs, the cards display the QR code and URL to your review funnel page. The cards can include your logo and colors to match your brand.
  3. Follow up each appointment with an email.
    Thank the patient for allowing your prac- tice to care for them, and then ask for a review and provide a link to your review funnel page.While patient reminder systems automate the patient follow- up email, they usually direct patients to an internal reviews page/website. The problem with this approach is that the reviews sitting on the reminder provider’s server are not nearly as visible in search engines as reviews posted on major review websites. We recommend using the system to send the emails, but include links in the email to direct the patient to external review websites.

These three steps will not guarantee a review after each appoint- ment, but they have been proven to dramatically increase the number of patient reviews a practice receives.
Those extra reviews will not only provide the social proof your prospective patients are seeking, they will also increase your vis- ibility in Google, other search engines and mobile apps.

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