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Reviews that Shine: How Dental Practices Can Use Google Reviews to Boost Their Reputation
In today’s digital world, everything, whether goods or services, seems just a click away. Today’s consumer decision-making process is significantly faster than it once was. When a consumer is browsing the Internet looking for a product, all potential providers of that product get mere minutes or even seconds to make their case. Online presence and reputation today have become a valuable asset for any business. When the consumer is spoilt for choice, how do businesses such as dental practices stand out from the rest of the field?
Enter Online Reviews. Historically, dental practices relied primarily on word-of-mouth referrals to attract new patients. However, as we pivot towards online engagement, word-of-mouth referrals have taken a digital form. 1 in 2 people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. In the online review space, Google continues to be the undisputed king, with 73% of the global market share in 2022. Google Reviews are today’s word-of-mouth.
Let’s dive into what Google Reviews can do for a dental practice.
Enhances Trustworthiness and Credibility
Google Reviews act as social proof to instil confidence in potential new patients. They are a testament to the quality of the patient experience provided by the dental practice. Practices with high numbers of reviews and high star ratings immediately attract the confidence of potential patients. For instance, consider two hypothetical dental practices: Practice A with an average rating of 4.8 from 250 reviews and Practice B with a 3.5 from only 50 reviews. Which one would you trust more? Naturally, Practice A appears more reliable. A higher number of positive reviews significantly enhances the practice’s reputation.
Increases Online Visibility
An increase in positive Google Reviews also improves the practice’s visibility in local searches. That’s because review numbers and freshness signal relevance and authority to search engine algorithms like Google. Each new review, whether a detailed five-star rating or a brief one-liner, serves as an update to the practice’s online listing boosting its domain authority. The result: the practice appears higher in search results for queries such as “dentists near me.” For practices looking to expand their patient base, visibility among such local searches is extremely valuable.
Provides Constructive Feedback for Improvement
While positive Google Reviews have multiple benefits, constructive feedback shared by patients can also prove invaluable for dental practices. By carefully analysing the themes and patterns emerging from such reviews, practices can gain insights into areas of improvement. For instance, if there are multiple mentions of long waiting times or treatment path confusion, the practice can address these issues proactively by improving appointment scheduling or better focus on patient education. Google Reviews provides an authentic platform for patients to voice their concerns and for practices to improve continually.
Influences Decision-Making Among Prospective Patients
Prospective patients scanning through a myriad of options often turn to reviews to tip their decision when choosing a dental practice. Google Reviews offer a glimpse into real patient experiences and shape perceptions about the practice. Patients leaning towards a practice may reconsider if reviews frequently mention problems like lack of parking facilities or poor listening skills among staff. On the flip side, those on the fence might be persuaded to book an initial appointment after reading reviews praising the gentle demeanour of dentists or the child-friendly environment. By showcasing such experiential aspects, Google Reviews strongly influence the dental practice selection process.
Distinguishes the Practice in a Competitive Landscape
Most clinicians aim to offer exceptional clinical skills, cutting-edge technology and comfortable care. However, in a crowded marketplace, these table stakes may not be enough to stand out. This is where leveraging Google Reviews can provide an edge over competitors. A dental practice with numerous positive patient reviews has a discernible advantage. While a practice may boast cutting-edge technology and expertise, without reviews, it risks going unnoticed, becoming the proverbial tree that fell in the forest with no one around. Patients are more likely to choose a recommended practice over another with similar credentials but no reviews. Google Reviews gives much-needed visibility and credibility to help practices distinguish themselves.
Given the immense value Google Reviews offer, how can savvy dental practices proactively leverage them? The following strategies will help you get started.
Actively Request Reviews – Do not leave reviews to chance. After positive patient visits, politely ask them to share their first-hand experiences online to help fellow patients.
Respond to All Reviews – Engage with patients who posted reviews, thanking them for their feedback and acknowledging suggestions, if any. This fosters goodwill and encourages more reviews.
Educate Patients – Since patients may be unaware of their influence, educate them on how reviews guide other patients and boost your practice’s visibility.
Track Review Volume and Sentiment– Use a monitoring tool to track the number of monthly reviews and overall sentiment so you can respond appropriately.
Invest in Patient Experience Training – Equip your team to deliver consistently above-and-beyond patient experiences that translate into positive reviews.
As dental marketing continues its inevitable shift online, Google Reviews have emerged as digital word-of-mouth and a top influencer during the patient acquisition journey. Dental practices that embrace this change and adopt strategies to actively generate more positive reviews will gain an edge over the competition. Remember, in the online world, every review is a beacon; make sure yours shines the brightest.
About the Author
Sean has 18 years of experience in the Australian Dental Information System industry and currently works as Head of Product and Innovation at Centaur Software. Sean holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from RMIT University and a Master of Business Administration from Swinburne University.
Sean is a passionate data analyst who loves everything data. Outside work, Sean spends most of his time doting on his little daughters, Amelia and Olivia.
In today’s digital world, everything, whether goods or services, seems...