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How online reviews impact your dental practice

For decades dental practices have relied on word of mouth as their greatest referral source. Over the past few years a sharp change has occurred with the advent of social media and online review platforms (e.g. Google, Yelp, Healthgrades)

If your dental practice is passive when it comes to online reviews you’re not only limiting your potential business but could be harming it.

First Impression:

First and foremost, online reviews are your practice’s first impression. Just the visual of a two-star review is enough to detract potential customers. However, a five-star review gives potential patients a reason to trust you: “Well if they got five-stars they must be good!” In that same way, not having any reviews can be just as bad as having a low ranking. Customers are far less likely to trust (and therefore choose) a business without any online reviews!

Online reviews impact consumer decision making for 67% of people.[i] If you’re not actively checking, responding and seeking reviews, you’re missing out on a huge portion of your potential market!

Customer Service:

Positive online reviews highlight the good parts of your business (e.g. quick, efficient, friendly) but if you’re proactive, negative reviews can have a positive impact as well. Patients who have had a bad experience are more motivated to post online reviews. How your practice handles negative reviews is an important way to display your commitment to customer service.

If you receive a bad review you’ll be tempted to justify and defend yourself. By focusing on the customer and resolving the issue, you can help to repair this relationship but also show that you are truly customer oriented to other potential patients.

Impact on SEO:

Nowadays, if someone needs a service they no longer ask for a reference or look it up in the newspaper, they search for it on Google (or whichever search engine they prefer) Businesses devote time, energy and most importantly money into driving up their search rankings. For local businesses such as dental practices, an often overlooked but extremely important factor is online reviews.

Google and other search engines prioritize businesses with good rankings, boosting them to the top of search. In local searches your reviews appear right next to every other dental practice in your area. Positive reviews are the only differentiating factor to someone searching for “local dentists in my area.” Positive, properly maintained review platforms contribute directly to increased conversion.

[i] http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-106/issue-3/practice/positive-online-reviews-and-reputation-management-more-important-than-ever-for-dentists-who-work-with-children.html

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