Let’s face it. Online reviews are a big deal. They don’t just matter for customers looking for shoes or shopping around for a new TV — reviews are a major factor for how prospective patients find new dental providers. Choosing a new dentist can be daunting; patients want to know that they’re in good hands with a trusted dental group. That’s where online reviews come in.
When a customer is looking at reviews for a dental service organization (DSO), they’re deeper in the conversion funnel. Whether they’ve moved to a new city, got new insurance, need to have a procedure done, or are just ready to try a new provider, these customers are comparing providers and looking for information to help them make a decision. Your online reputation can be the difference between a prospective patient calling to schedule an appointment and losing that prospect to another provider.
Plus, reviews have an impact on your DSO’s SEO performance. According to Moz, your Google review count and score are factors in local search rankings. The more Google reviews you have and the more positive those reviews are, the higher your website can rank on the search engine results page (SERP). Higher rankings mean more visibility, which can mean a higher click-through rate, more traffic, and more calls.
Learn more about exactly how powerful reviews are in the dental industry, how your DSO can garner more positive reviews, how to deal with negative reviews, and why it’s important to be conscious of HIPAA when responding to patient feedback.
The Power of Reviews by the Numbers
When customers are in the consideration and decision phases of the conversion funnel, they’re looking for anything that will help them land on a choice. Reviews are seen as an unbiased way to get more information about a business. This is especially true for DSOs; after all, these prospective patients are making a decision that directly relates to their health.
BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Survey illustrates just how vital reviews are for consumers:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling trust for a business
- 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written in the past 2 weeks
- 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 89% of consumers will read a company’s responses to reviews
- Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use a business
- 57% of consumers won’t use a business that has fewer than four stars
- 57% of consumers expect a business to have more than 11 reviews
- 86% of consumers would consider leaving reviews for a business
And that’s not all. 72% of parents trust online reviews for medical professionals just as much as personal recommendations. Within the dental industry, 70% of patients say that reviews are just as important as professional credentials.
Clearly, review management should be a key part of your DSO marketing strategy. Not only do consumers essentially require a business to have reviews to be seen as trustworthy, but these reviews should also be recent and have good responses from the business itself.
Creating a Unified Review Management Process
For DSOs, review management is more tricky than managing reviews for a simple local dentist’s office. Since DSOs have to keep tabs on many locations, it’s helpful to have a unified review management process for the entire organization.
1. Evaluate Current Reviews and Encourage New Ones
First, perform a review audit. DSOs don’t just manage multiple locations; you have to also manage the several review platforms out there for each location. Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and Yelp make up 80% of all online reviews. Check out all of your locations on these three platforms to evaluate how well you’re currently doing. Are all of your Google My Business properties claimed and accurate? Are there positive reviews you should thank the patient for? Any negative reviews to respond to?
A thorough review audit can be daunting, especially when you have many profiles on GMB, Facebook, and Yelp. Yext helps with review monitoring, intelligent review responses, and setting up notifications for incoming reviews. Plus, DialogTech integrates with Yext and enables marketers to track, analyze, and optimize calls from each listing to your site.
After establishing the current state of reviews for your site, it’s time to make a plan to get new ones. It’s great to see glowing reviews about your business; if you want to encourage more positive reviews, you can:
- Train staff at every location on how to ask for positive reviews — it’s easier to ask when you know patients are happy, so right after a root canal probably isn’t the best time!
- Add Google My Business and Yelp stickers to your offices to highlight your existing positive review status and remind patients to leave their reviews as well
- Link to review profiles on your website
2. Create a Process for Responding to Reviews
You should also create a system for responding to reviews on every platform. Having a clear, uniform approach with designated parties responsible for responding will help ensure that no positive review goes unnoticed.
Of course, it’s much easier to respond to a positive review. Simply thank the patient, reiterate the positive quality they mentioned, and avoid any specifics. For instance, a response to a positive review could read:
“Thanks! So happy you had a great experience on your recent visit and appreciated the customer service you received. We hope to see you soon!”
Responding to a negative review is more difficult, but that’s why it’s even more important to have a process in place. Always treat the exchange as a conversation and see it as an opportunity for growth. In general, you should acknowledge the issue, apologize, and never get defensive. You can also request to move the conversation offline to follow up further. A response to a negative review could read:
“We’re sorry to hear that you had a negative experience on your recent visit. We’re dedicated to providing the best patient experience possible. Please call our office; our team is happy to discuss this with you further.”
3. Be Conscious of HIPAA
For DSOs and any healthcare provider, there’s an added layer of complexity to review management: HIPAA. When you’re responding to feedback in reviews, you should never say any specifics about the identity of the patient or the care they received. This is considered patient data, so you must avoid saying any details in order to maintain your HIPAA compliance.
Even if the reviewer included details about their visit, the care they received, or the dentist they saw, you should not acknowledge these details in a review response. This applies to both positive and negative feedback.
4. Detect and Correct Issues with Callers to Prevent Negative Reviews
While it’s impossible to eliminate negative reviews entirely, your DSO can still use technology to help prevent them. DialogTech’s platform analyzes conversations using AI and gathers valuable insights from conversations. Patients call to book appointments, ask questions, and discuss customer experience (CX) issues. One of the ways DSOs can leverage DialogTech is to detect consumer experience issues in calls to dental offices or call centers.
With DialogTech’s DialogAnalytics™, you can get alerts for any CX issues and determine if your team should call the patient back. This can help detect problems early on, provide your team with an opportunity to work out any issues over the phone, improve patient satisfaction, and prevent negative reviews.
Sample DialogTech email alert listing CX issues with callers for a location
More Positive Reviews Lead to More Calls and Appointments
For DSOs, positive reviews are clearly linked to better brand image, more calls, and more opportunities to get qualified patients in the chair. Establishing a solid review management process is in the best interest of every DSO.
Once you have a review management system, what’s next? DialogTech for Dental is a fully HIPAA-compliant call analytics platform designed to help DSOs attract and convert more new patient calls. Download the DialogTech for Dental Toolkit to learn more.
Download the DialogTech for Dental Toolkit to learn how to attract and convert more new patient calls.Download the eBook