Potential patients are more informed than ever before. They often know about your products, services, and overall dentists and dental practice before they even step inside your office.
Patients search online for this information. Due to this, managing your dental practice’s online reputation is one of the most important things you can do to help your practice be successful. Managing a dental practice’s online reputation is an investment.
The more work you put into building your reputation, the more your dental practice will be protected from negative reviews and public relations crises. Remember, it is easier to prevent a fire than to put one out.
Create An Online Presence
Be sure to create online accounts on all the websites that are applicable to your dental practice. In addition to major social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, be sure to include review sites like Yelp and Google My Business. The goal is to be in control of your practice on many platforms, in front of many people.
Once you have online accounts, keep them up-to-date, especially social media. Inactive accounts can also damage a practice’s reputation. Maintaining an active account where potential patients visit, demonstrates that the practice understands its patients, their interests, and their lifestyle.
Monitoring Social Media Conversations
Monitoring the online conversation yields valuable insights about your practice and your industry.
It is important to know your patients and see what they value and share online. Knowing this can help you cater your content to meet their needs. It can also alert you to any problems or negative experiences they may have had with your practice and allow you to address them immediately.
On the other hand, monitoring your competitors online can give you valuable information on what they are doing successfully and what your practice can improve upon.
Responding to Online Reviews and Criticism
Importance of Responding
The simple act of responding to a patient’s input demonstrates that your practice cares about its patients and its relationships with them. When your patients post online reviews, the majority of them expect a response. The kind of response you send will be determined by the nature of the patient’s comment.
Never Be Defensive
Never respond to a negative review in a defensive manner. Replies that downplay your patient's negative experience will only compound the problem and make you look even worse. A proper response should have the following:
- An apology for the patient’s experience
- A positive statement about your practice to negate the negative statements made by the patient
- A thank you for their feedback
- A call to continue the dialog offline
Say "I’m Sorry"
Although very simple, do not discredit the power of the phrase “I’m sorry”. Apologizing is one of the most important parts of a response. It acknowledges the patient’s feelings and is a great start to begin repairing the relationship with that patient
Take note of the kinds of reviews your dental practice receives. Negative online reviews can indicate recurring issues that need to be addressed within your practice. Review each type of feedback your business receives and determine if it was part of an ongoing issue or a one-time incident.
See what your practice is doing well and determine how to continue serving your patients to meet those standards when they return.
Prevent Unhappy Patients from Venting Online
When patients leave reviews, it is because they feel passionate about either their positive or negative experience. Take advantage of positive experiences by asking your patients to review your dental practice when they leave.
On the reverse of that, if you know that a patient has had a negative experience, do everything within your power to address and resolve the issue before they leave and go online. That patient may still mention their negative experience in a review, but they may also mention that your practice resolved the issue as soon as it was made aware.
The most important thing to remember in reacting to negative reviews is to respond in a positive way. The patient may not always be right, but the patient is still a patient. Show that your practice cares about its patients.
Contact the reputation management experts at Practice Maximization regarding your dental practice's reputation today by calling (888) 292-2158 or get a free consultation here.