The Power of Patient Reviews
In today’s society, patients have an almost unlimited number of options when looking for a dental practice. Patients are bombarded with marketing campaigns from dental corporations and large DSO practices. How can a private practice compete against these titans of advertising who seem to have unlimited funds for television commercials, radio advertisements, magazine spreads, Search Engine Optimization tools, pay-per-click marketing, billboards, (and the list goes on and on)? As marketing strategies compete for patient attention, one enormously powerful tool is a great equalizer among practices, and one of the most effectual types of advertising you can have for your office: patient reviews.
Today, the Internet is the easiest and most convenient way for patients to find information. Gone are the days of looking up an office in the phonebook and picking them based on how friendly their picture looks in an advertisement. People want to hear about personal experiences and how you made others feel when they were in your office. What your community thinks about your practice is something that patients genuinely care about. Other patient experiences will give the consumer an idea of what makes you and your practice stand out.
Additionally, positive reviews are great morale boosters for your team. Everyone likes praise. We all love to hear how well we are doing, especially when our patients have a positive experience. These types of reviews help grow your practice without adding to your overhead. The best advertising you have is word-of-mouth from happy patients. Once you receive that raving review, responding to them is essential. People want to know that you appreciate their business and that their kind words do not go unnoticed.
Unlike positive reviews, no one wants to receive bad or negative reviews. But it happens. No matter how well you treat your patients or how beautiful your restorations are, there will always be patients you can’t please. That is okay! No one expects a perfect 5.0-star Google rating. The way that you respond to these negative reviews is fundamentally important. You cannot ignore it and hope it goes away or that no one sees it. You have to use this type of review as a teaching moment for yourself and your team. Remember to be polite. Most of the time, people want to know that their issue is being acknowledged. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and offer them an opportunity to contact you to discuss the situation further. Remember always to be conscience of HIPAA guidelines when responding. Do not state the patient’s name or discuss personal information or treatment.
Patient reviews can easily be your best form of advertising, a great teaching opportunity, and motivation for your team. Regardless of the review type you receive, ensure you are providing feedback to your team. In our practice, time is dedicated during our monthly team meeting to discuss our reviews. Every patient experience in your office directly reflects the office, the ‘good,’ the ‘bad,’ and the ‘ugly.’ We share them all. Celebrate the complimentary ones. Sometimes they single out a specific employee but, for the most part, mention the office as a whole. Let everyone know that you are proud of the work they are doing. The bad and downright ugly reviews are just as important. Use these as a learning experience! This does not mean you should reprimand an individual in front of the entire team. Instead, pull together ideas of how the situation could have been handled differently. Do your best to grow from the negative experience to help ensure that it does not happen again. Ultimately, we all want to do a good job and be recognized for it.
About the Author
Angie’s career in dentistry started in 2005 as a business team member with Dentistry @ University Pointe. In February 2014, she was promoted to office manager, where she felt completely lost. Thankfully, she heard about AADOM and started heading down the right path. Angie is a lifetime member of AADOM and earned her AADOM Fellowship (FAADOM) in 2020. She is pursuing her AADOM Mastership (MAADOM), to be inducted in September. Angie is now the vice president of the SW Ohio/N Kentucky Chapter, where she enjoys networking and learning with her peers.