When you speak with most owners you will find that the overall opinion of Google reviews is that of distaste because only dissatisfied patients leave reviews. Our world has changed and the way that patients make decisions and choices has changed. The patients still want to have a dentist that they can trust to be gentle, honest and deliver good care, but their opinions are pre-influenced by Google Reviews now. You can stick your head in the sand and not have a website so that you don’t have Google Reviews, but you likely will always be asking “Why don’t I have any new patients?”
When most patients are looking for a new dental office, they still usually get a recommendation from a friend or relative but they will then go to the website and read the Google Reviews to see if the recommendation is the same for most patients in the office.
Google reviews are free, you don’t need to have a budget for them, you do need a campaign in your office and your team needs to ask for the reviews. The best suggestion is to have a one-page of instructions on how to post a Google review available to the provide patients or have a QR code that will take the patient right to the review section of your website. Your team doesn’t need to feel that they are badgering patients for a referral, the easiest way is when a patient thanks you for taking care of them say “thank you, we would love it if you would post a Google Review for us.” Asking patients in person is much more effective than asking them electronically. If possible, for any patients who leave a positive review it is a very nice touch to send them an email, text or even a handwritten card thanking the patient for taking the time to leave a review.
One of the biggest oppositions to asking for Google Reviews is the fear of a negative review. Firstly, if you are running a good office this shouldn’t be a fear as you will have confidence in what you are delivering. If you do get a negative review just work hard to bury it in your existing reviews. The more reviews you get the easier it is for poor reviews to count less. If you do get a bad review, you will also want to have a manager or the dentist to follow up with the patient and see if we could have learned from the situation. You can’t make everyone happy and most perspective patients realize that. You want your “good” reviews to outweigh the less positive ones.
When sharing your Google Reviews, ensure that you are always following any guidelines that might be in place by your regulating body. Just because other dentists are doing something wrong, it doesn’t mean that you should do it if it can get you into trouble in the long run.
Google ads are another area to look at if you are wanting to do some marketing for your office. Google ads use algorithms, to place your ads into the feeds of social media and Google searches. These ad campaigns are not expensive to put in place, but you do want a professional placing them for you and not just clicking on “Boost Post” and providing your credit card number. A professional will understand the best algorithms to ensure that your message gets to your targeted market.
Viewing Google as a tool to spread information about your office (website), Google reviews and Google ads is a great package for promoting your office. Use it to your advantage and don’t be afraid of it.