Online reviews and why YOUR practice needs them – Amy Rose JonesFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 21st May 2019
If we are looking for tasty Italian food locally, or the best place to get a haircut for a child who struggles with sitting still, what is the first thing we often do? We go online to find out what other people recommend.
The beauty of search engines is that we can be specific and use terms that help us find exactly what it is that we are looking for. We may do our research on a laptop, tablet or phone – the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to pass the five billion mark this year[i]. Consumer websites such as Yelp include a ‘send to your phone’ option so once we’ve found a restaurant/ hairdresser that apparently suits our needs and is well reviewed, booking is easy and our business can be secured in a click or two.
Yelp, along with other sites like Trip Advisor and Which?, use reviews and star ratings to help us make decisions. Look up almost any business page on Facebook and you’ll also find user reviews. We often feel overwhelmed by choice and, despite owning all sorts of devices to save us time, we seem to have less of it to spare than ever. Online reviews are useful snapshots that do the hard work for us, so we don’t have to waste precious minutes trawling the internet.
There is an overwhelming amount of data available to back up the importance of online reviews; 95% of shoppers read them according to one source, with 93% of another sample saying they use them to determine if a local business is good or not.[ii]Over 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, claims a separate survey.[iii]
Fresh reviews are important for the informed modern consumer. Glowing reviews that are over a year old – with nothing posted since – won’t stack up against recent testimonials for the savvy internet user. And if we see a few negative comments in a sea of five-star ratings, most of us will be discerning enough to consider the bigger picture. Bad reviews don’t necessarily put us off, then and if we see that a company or service provider has responded, we will take this into consideration too, especially if a full explanation – rather than a generic reply – has been given.
But what about when the reviewer becomes the reviewed? For many practices, there is real fear about online reviews and, in particular, dealing with negative comments posted by unhappy patients. If reviews and ratings can build trust in the reputation of a dental practice, does this mean they can dent it as well? Not at all, as long as they are managed correctly.
Patients are looking online to find out more about your practice and this is why you need to know what people are saying about you. Reviews and review sites are at the centre of local searches. We have a far more itinerant population than ever before, so you must think abut the needs and wants of potential patients moving into the area. If they look up your practice and are able to find fresh reviews and testimonials and prompt, respectful responses to negative comments, you will stand out from the competition. Consider your current patients too. Monitoring reviews is a way to engage with them and show them that you are listening. If you don’t respond, and ignore what they are telling you, compare it to walking away from a conversation. Say someone gives you a one-star rating because they felt the receptionist was discourteous. This gives you the opportunity to address this issue and perhaps review training for the front-desk team. Or what if a patient posts a bad review because they were kept waiting and had to leave, but didn’t realise the delay was due to an emergency? If you know the review exists and deal with it appropriately – rather than hoping it goes away – you can turn a negative into a positive.
If this all sounds stressful and time consuming, rest assured that tools have been developed to help practices manage online reviews. EasyReview, which will be launched by Dental Design at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show (co-located with the Dental Technology Showcase) in May, provides an efficient way for dental practices to obtain, manage and respond to patient reviews, whether they are good or bad.
Don’t bury your head in the sand about reviews. As consumers ourselves, we often read them before investing in products or services. When it comes to online reviews for your practice, focus on the positive. They will improve your search engine ranking and also enable you to attract new patients. They can inspire confidence in your services and help you to raise standards across every area of the patient experience. Don’t hide from them – embrace them!
To find out more about Dental Design’s services,
email: email@example.com tel: 01202 677277
https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/(accessed February 2019).
[ii]G2 Crowd. 50+ statistics proving the power of customer reviews. Link: https://learn.g2crowd.com/customer-reviews-statistics(accessed February 2019).
[iii]Invesp Blog. The Importance Of Online Customer Reviews. Link: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/(accessed February 2019).