When it comes to reviews for dentists, there’s no lack of surveys and research. When you stack these reports up against one another, you begin to see patterns– online reviews are universally important to consumers and to your patients.
The research cited in this infographic claims 69% of all consumers search the web for online reviews, while this one says 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. This one, on the other hand, claims 64% of consumers seek out online reviews, but 85% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they can find online recommendations.
Regardless of the individual numbers these surveys and research bring in, you can see how people feel about online reviews. As a dentist, your patients have to put their trust in you more than they have to put their trust in a gym or a sushi restaurant. When they’re searching a dentist, those online trust indicators are huge.
Yet, this report at AdWeek points out that 54% of businesses are afraid of online reviews. They’re afraid of negative reviews, and afraid of bad exposure for their business.
Are you one of the 54% of dentists who’s afraid of online reviews? If so, take a look at this infographic and let the other numbers soak in.
Fear of Reviews
Word-of-mouth is the lifeblood of your practice, and online reviews function as a sort of digital word-of-mouth. With all the outlandish stories of fake online reviews, sabotage from competitors, and downright unfair business practices from some review sites, your anxiety is understandable.
If you’re one of the 54% who’s afraid of reviews, I’m here to offer you some encouragement.
I won’t lie– negative reviews can have a real impact on your practice. But some of the other numbers the infographic contains are much more encouraging.
For example, 83% of reviews written by real consumers from 2014-2015 were positive. And even if people do leave negative reviews, they still might be more reasonable than you think.
- 90% of customers will return if a business resolves their issue quickly and efficiently.
- 15% of consumers are more likely to patronize a business if they see a negative review was resolved.
- 80% of consumers seek out negative reviews and, if you only have one or two, they’ll move back to the positive reviews with a renewed feeling of authenticity. They’re more understanding than you think, according to a report from the Spiegel Research Center.
Though fake online reviews, vindictive patients, and acts of sabotage from competitors do exist, they’re not the norm.
Still, the fear persists. What’s the root of that fear?
From speaking with my clients and speaking candidly with dentists around the country, I believe the fear comes from the unknown. Not knowing who’s going to leave a nasty review, or not knowing if your reviews are even coming from your actual patients.
That’s why you have to take matters into your own hands. 54% of dentists are paralyzed with fear, and want online reviews, both out-of-sight and out-of-mind. If you’re proactive about earning online reviews, you can take advantage of a powerful force that makes other dentists scared and anxious.
The Art of Reviews
Let’s be realistic– it’s inevitable that, in your day-to-day operations, you’ll encounter a patient who’s either hard to please or just having a bad day. Those people exist for every business, and dentists are no exception.
If you’re unlucky, that difficult person might leave a negative review.
Remember that stat from Spiegel? One or two negative reviews are absolutely okay. It’s when your prospective patients see a larger pattern of repeated complaints, that go unresolved, that you have an issue.
For example, if you’ve received multiple complaints from patients who say they had to wait too long, it might be time to hire another hygienist. If there’s a recurring problem, it’s your job to fix it. It’s not the reviewer’s fault for pointing it out.
What’s much more likely, though, is that you don’t have any big problems for your patients to complain about. You’re good at your job, and each member of your team is good at their respective jobs, too.
If you’re good, you can stand up to reviews. In fact, I think you should actually solicit them. Leave those 54% of dentists in the dust.
Google and Facebook Reviews for Dentists
As a dentist, you’ll succeed with some review sites more than others.
I’ll make this quick, but in my experience, it’s best to focus on Google reviews and Facebook reviews.
Your patients do check Yelp, but Yelp is often difficult to work with. And, unfortunately, asking for reviews is against their guidelines. I’m not saying you should ignore Yelp– far from it. I’m just saying you can better spend your time asking for reviews on other sites.
Google reviews are great, because they show up right in the search results. In fact, the more positive Google reviews you have, the better your search engine visibility may be. It’s a win-win. Plus, Google doesn’t care if you ask for reviews. They actually encourage it.
Similarly, Facebook doesn’t care if you ask for reviews, either. Facebook is also a powerful tool for businesses. Chances are, many of your patients are on Facebook. It’s very common to seek out a business on Facebook before you visit them in person, especially when you already have your Facebook tab open.
Facebook reviews are also extremely easy to acquire. They’re not quite as valuable as Google reviews, but they’re still worth seeking out.
Reviews for dentists aren’t universally embraced– more than half of dentists are scared of them. You can take advantage of that fear and start building up your own cache of positive reviews. While they keep their head in the sand, you’ll earn more positive reviews and, ultimately, more patients.
To your marketing success!