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Online Reputation Management for Dentists
Your online reputation affects your dentistry practice’s bottom line.
More than ever, existing and potential patients are relying on the Internet to find more information about you. They’re visiting multiple online review websites and reading dentist reviews to help them decide whether they will pay you a visit or choose to go with someone else.
By staying on top of your reviews, and by applying best practices in reputation management for dentists, you put yourself in a position to maintain a healthy, positive online reputation – while minimizing the impact that negative dentist reviews may have on your practice.
The Impact of Reviews on a Dentist’s Reputation
Running a dentistry practice? In case you didn’t already know: online reviews posted by patients can make or break your online reputation and, ultimately, your practice.
Reviews are changing the way people seek healthcare options and medical information. And they’re changing the way medical professionals like doctors and dentists market their business.
- According to research by 1-800-DENTIST, 70 percent of consumers say online dentist reviews are just as important as a dentist’s professional credentials. This marks a huge jump from the 53 percent recorded only 3 years earlier.
- Searches for online reviews of dentists also continue to grow. Dentist review searches are now up to 27 percent.
- Related research also found that 60 percent of all adults have used the Internet to look for health information or information about healthcare providers. Moreover, 62 percent of healthcare consumers turn to reviews in order to find a new provider.
These numbers show that reviews shape your online reputation as a dentist, more so than your sales and marketing communications, or even your level of professional expertise.
Simply put: reviews from other dental patients lend credibility in the online marketplace.
Reputation Management for Dentists: Best Practices
Monitor your patient reviews. Don’t be afraid of reviews and how these might harm your business; instead, actively monitor your online presence so that you are aware of what is being said about your practice, and where.
This helps prevent you from getting blindsided by negative feedback; more importantly, it creates an opportunity for you to respond, communicate openly with patients, and change the conversation.
Claim your business listings and review site profiles. Whether you like it or not, your practice is probably already listed on a dozen or so local business directories and online review sites (likely more).
Claiming your listings and profiles allows you to actively manage the information displayed on those sites. It’s a way of planting your flags on important digital properties where customers and patients can find you.
Distribute patient satisfaction surveys. Patient satisfaction surveys are one of the best ways to gauge the patient experience and understand your practice’s reputation.
One option is the HCAHPS survey: the standard for gauging the experience of any healthcare provider.
In some cases, however, providers like Nicklaus Children’s Hospital use HCAHPS with advanced survey software to gain additional information on how patients really think and feel about your practice.
Respond to patient feedback. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which is designed to safeguard patients’ health information, makes it a little tricky for healthcare professionals to respond to reviews.
Be sure to avoid referring to any specifics about medical care or the patient’s identity when responding to patient feedback on online review sites. At the same time, craft your response in such a way that it demonstrates your genuine desire to engage with the patient and solve any issues raised.
Read this guide for examples of how to respond to reviews while remaining compliant with HIPAA guidelines.
Encourage your happy patients to share feedback. One of the difficulties people have when choosing a dentist is that it’s not easy for them to know the quality of the dentist’s work. Another major concern is that they don’t know whether a dentist is trustworthy or not.
By asking your happy patients to give you an online review, you can amplify your online presence and build your online reputation on the strength of positive patient experiences.
Add reviews to your website. Embrace patient feedback and reviews, and use them to your advantage.
Incorporating reviews on your website provides visitors with the kind of social proof they need to have confidence in your practice; it’s also very effective in improving your visibility in search engines and generating more calls from patients.