By Dr. Greg Grillo
When’s the last time you bought a laptop, chose a restaurant, or booked a resort without checking online reviews?
Probably in the last century.
Despite the increased isolation of the past year, we’re social creatures. We crave interaction. We look for approval, and we like our choices to feel validated. Online reviews exist in the complex digital stratosphere, but they meet timeless human needs.
Reviews send trust signals by offering “social proof,” a psycho-social phenomenon that we use to gauge acceptable behavior. Consumers assign gravity to online reviews, and they do so without blinking. For example, 91% of Millennials report trust for online reviews that match personal recommendations. And 94% say they read online reviews before choosing a healthcare provider.
Sometimes we forget our dental offices are businesses and that consumers treat the decision-making process like other purchases. Arguably, reviews are even more vital for us. We might take a chance on a restaurant with average reviews. But healthcare is different. Most people aren’t willing to gamble on an “average” dentist, and online reviews heavily influence that perception.
One out of every three people check online reviews as the first step in healthcare decision-making, even before talking to family and friends. Regardless of how we look at it, reviews drive social proof, trust, and new patient growth.
Consider a 3-pronged approach to managing dental reviews that help you stand above the crowd.
1. Deliver Something To Talk About
People just like us leave reviews, and that’s one reason they’re so impactful. As a brand, we can formulate polished marketing campaigns and patient-centric content. It’s all extremely vital, but only as part of an overall strategy. Our patients will tell the real, genuine story…the one that other people trust 100%.
So, give people something to talk about. It all starts there.
If we don’t create a patient experience second-to-none, we may not want to ask for feedback. But when we shape the patient journey to elicit a smile at every step, satisfaction shows in their reviews. We know what makes a difference in our practices: a warm welcome, a slow injection, and on-time appointments help keep our patients comfortable.
We never want to stop looking for ways to refine and over-deliver. But it’s easy to miss the before and after contact points that frame both sides of patient care. Consistently delivering those contactless “touch” points requires systems, tools, and automation.
ACTION: Start a patient’s positive experience long before the appointment arrives. If they’re impressed before they recline in your operatory, the helpful review has already begun. Legwork Comfort sends an empathetic message and gathers personalized preferences in one smooth move. Patients receive a pre-appointment survey that asks them questions that make deposits in their emotional bank account. Your survey asks about amenities they’d like, their anxiety level, and any specific concerns about their smile.
When patients arrive and your assistant hands them a blanket based on their survey, the team reaches rock-star status. Combine this unique touch with Legwork Online Booking and Legwork Paperless Forms , and patients have a lot to talk (and review) about even before stepping through your door.
2. Ask To Receive
Like everyone, patients get busy. They may skip out the door after their appointment. They head back to work, and we’re in the rearview mirror. If we want our patients to leave reviews, it’s up to us to make doing so effortless. Actions that fit their schedule get done. As Stephanie noted in the Legwork panel discussion with Gen X patients, “Unless they asked me specifically to write a review for them based on my experience, I probably wouldn’t do it online.”
On the flip side, people love giving their opinion. If we let patients know we value what they have to say, they’re primed to express their thoughts. At the end of an appointment, we can ask how the visit went and encourage them to leave us a review on Facebook or Google. This prompting may not be enough to elicit a response, but it paves the way for what comes next.
ACTION: If we ask for reviews, we’re still ahead of most practices. But this strategy alone won’t be enough to keep a steady flow of reviews to support social proof. A stunning 77% of people don’t trust reviews that are older than one month, and almost all consumers who read reviews do so early in their experience. When it comes to new patient acquisition, reviews rule.
Eric, another Gen X patient, said “I’d be happy to do it; they’d just have to remind me to get me to do it: ask me to do it as I leave or hand me a little reminder card, otherwise it’s not a natural thing I do for anything, but I’m happy to do so for my dentist.”
Legwork Reviews takes the ball and runs with it. When patients step out of the office, they receive a text or email that asks them to leave an online review. The message includes a convenient link that sends patients directly to your Facebook or Google business profile.
By automating the request, delivering it to their device, and lowering the barrier for action to a single click, reviews roll in. Ask, and you will receive. Reviews have a 10.3% influence on Google search results rankings.
3. Track To Win
Practice Management Software makes it a breeze for diving into the statistical weeds. We can find data on every metric in our practice. But the human element, including satisfaction or discontentment, can be challenging to measure. How people feel ultimately drives our patient success, and every statistic boils down to how well we serve our patients. So, it’s paramount that we evaluate data that tells a story.
Unique, human-based statistics give us insights we don’t get anywhere else. By using Patient Relationship Software reports, we’ll mine the nuggets that help us serve patients better. A perpetual cycle of better reviews and referrals flow from the same analytics used by Fortune 500 companies. Now, you can put this information to work for you.
ACTION: We gather a lot of insights from patients in our daily conversations. But by mixing in Legwork NPS , we can look into their hearts and minds. An NPS survey identifies promoters, neutrals, and detractors of our practices so we can focus our attention in the right way. When we engage each segment with gratitude or questions, we get more of the reviews and referrals we need. Nurturing our patients fosters the feedback that creates a powerful marketing message through social proof.
SEO and our relationships get a boost when we respond to reviews. The Legwork Dashboard provides a convenient place to monitor and respond to reviews on Google and Facebook. And 95% of unsatisfied customers will return to a business if it solves the issue quickly. These actions also speak to potential customers and give us another opportunity to show them our brand story.
Deliver, Ask, Track, and Grow
We can’t control everything patients say about our practice. And sometimes we can’t make everyone happy. But by adopting a proactive approach, we can encourage behavior that helps others tell our brand story for us. And by blending high-touch care with no-touch digital tools, we provide the slate for patients to tell all about us. Put Legwork Reviews into action, and integrate Legwork Comfort , NPS , and more to give your patients a story worth telling!
Want to learn how you can use tools like Legwork Comfort, NPS, and Reviews to get more five star ratings at your dental practice? Set up some time to speak with an expert to determine how you can accelerate more quality reviews for your practice!