These days, every dental clinic needs a solid online reputation.
Back in the day, when someone was having a toothache or was due for their semi-annual dental exam, they’d ask a friend, a coworker, or maybe a family member for a recommendation for a local dentist. Or, if they were desperate enough, they might look up a dentist in the yellow pages.
Today, however, people are much more likely to search “dentist near me” on Google or on a directory site, like Top Rated Local®, than they are to look in the yellow pages. And, instead of asking for a recommendation or a referral from someone they personally know, they’ll read reviews online for local dental clinics to find the best one for their needs.
This means two things for dental clinics in 2020. One, you need to be able to be found online. And, two, you need the kind of online reputation that speaks for itself whenever people do find you online.
4 Steps to Building and Maintaining a Strong Online Reputation for Your Dental Clinic
Step #1. Claim and update your listings.
Assuming that you already have a website for your business, chances are, your business is already listed across a wide range of online directories and reviews sites. These sites generally utilize algorithms that pull in businesses’ information from across the web, and whether you’re aware of it or not, there’s a good possibility that your business is already listed on many of them.
Having your business listed across a variety of directories and review sites is beneficial because it gives you more visibility. However, if your business has ever moved to a new location or switched to a new phone number, when people find you on those review sites and directories, they might not be able to get ahold of you.
The algorithms that pull your information in won’t automatically update it when it changes, which is why it’s important that you claim your listings. When you do, you’ll be able to update the information about your business as needed. This way, regardless of whether a patient finds you on Google, Yelp, or Top Rated Local, they’ll always be able to get ahold of you.
Step #2. Generate more reviews.
When someone looks for a dentist online in their local area, they’ll get dozens, if not hundreds, of results to sift through. But, how do they pick the right dentist, especially when dentists generally offer similar services and all claim to be the best, the most caring, and have the ability to get you the best results? The only way to narrow down their options is by reading reviews.
Reading your reviews allows people to learn what it’s like to be your patient without ever having to step through your doors, and it gives them the confidence to choose you over the many other dentists out there. However, in order for people to read your reviews, you need to have them in the first place!
A lot of people will immediately write reviews about the restaurant they visited Friday night, but when it comes to dental visits, they just don’t think about it. And, it’s up to you to remind them. You could do this by hanging signage, sending follow-up emails after patients visit or text message reminders, but the easiest way is to simply ask!
Step #3. Respond to your reviews.
Generating plenty of reviews is great for the health of your online reputation, but once you get them, your job isn’t done yet. You also need to respond to those reviews, particularly if you get any negative reviews.
Negative reviews can set a bad taste in the mouths of people researching your business online, but you can easily and effectively turn the situation around when you respond. In addition to giving you the chance to show off your customer service skills, when you respond to a negative review, it gives you a chance to tell your side of the story.
Whether you’re responding to positive or negative reviews, however, it’s essential that you’re always careful that you don’t violate HIPAA. This means that, in your response, you can’t say anything that identifies or confirms this person as one of your patients. So, instead of saying something like, “We’re sorry you were disappointed with your visit with Dr. Smith,” say something more generic, like, “We’re sorry your experience didn’t live up to your expectations…”
Check out our previous blog to learn more about responding to reviews without violating HIPAA.
Step #4. Be in the know about the health of your online reputation.
Your online reputation is a lot like dental health. You can’t just go to the dentist one time and expect to have a healthy smile for the rest of your life. You have to brush your teeth and floss every day, and you also have to go to the dentist every six months for an examination and cleaning in order to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. The same is true of your online reputation; it’s not something that you can do once and then forget about.
It takes work to build a strong online reputation, and once you do, it takes consistency in order to keep it that way. You never know what your patients might be saying about your dental clinic online, and the only way to stay on top of it is to monitor it on a regular basis.
There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you keep better track of how your dental clinic is doing online, but one of the most comprehensive is Top Rated Local. When you claim your Top Rated Local listings, you’ll enjoy a whole host of monitoring tools, including real-time notifications when you get reviews, a monthly report outlining your online reputation as a whole, and up-to-date Rating Score™ that reflects your online reputation across a long list of verified review sources.
Are you ready to start taking control of your dental clinic’s online reputation? If so, become a Top Rated Local dentist in your area today by claiming your listing!