It’s impossible to be impeccable, isn’t it? As history tells us, yes, it’s pretty close to impossible to keep everything in perfect order, 100% of the time. But, in certain circumstances, there are benefits to being flawless. For example, a perfect driving record means a lower insurance rate and a pristine report card often means a bright collegiate future for a student. However, there are also cases when it’s imperative to be perfect. An impeccable online reputation for a dentist is so important in supporting a thriving practice with a steady flow of new patients, while a less than stellar online reputation can lead to failing patient confidence and even profit reductions.
An online reputation is everything to a dentist and an impeccable one is an important asset to have. Here is what you should know about your online reputation:
- A dentist’s reputation includes everything YOU say online (even if done on your “personal” social media pages) and everything that is said about you by patients, former colleagues/employees and partners.
- A Harvard Business School study found that a one star increase in a Yelp.com rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
- 79% of consumers (dental patients included) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- It can take 20 years to build a great reputation…and five minutes to destroy it. Dentists should always be aware what is being said about them online.
Not only do your patients want to talk about their experience at your practice with their peers online, but so do your past employees, partners, colleagues and in extreme cases, the dentist or referring specialist up the street. Dentists should keep their online reputation as clean as possible and by clean, we mean sparkling. Here are four new reasons why:
Your Relationships Depend on It – New patients, partners and employees will consider your reputation long before booking an appointment or joining your team.
You probably know that patients read and consider your online reviews before booking an appointment, but did you know that prospective partners and employees do as well? That’s right; Yelp.com and Google Reviews aren’t just for consumers. Your online reputation is there for the entire world to see, so make sure what they see represents you well.
Your Career Depends on It – A pristine online reputation can help position you as a thought leader in the dentistry field.
One of the primary ways that many dentists or dental specialists are moving to the forefront of online marketing is by becoming a “thought” leader in the dentistry field. While YOU and your staff are aware of your clinical expertise, your potential patients won’t know that until they see it for themselves. You can position yourself as a thought leader online by authoring dental blogs about the latest procedures or industry advancements or by being active on social media. What’s more is this type of activity gives you more than just the benefits of being an industry thought leader, it also helps your website’s SEO efforts by providing Google with a steady stream of fresh and helpful content – which Google absolutely loves! But, what do you think can undermine all of your hard work? That’s right, a negative review. A single negative review (whether true or not) has the potential to turn you from a thought leader into a dentist who may not practice what he or she preaches. It’s unfortunate, but it’s today’s reality.
Your Marketing Budget Depends on It – A smeared online reputation takes hard work to put back together.
A negative online review can be posted in a matter of minutes, but the work it takes to correct it is almost never-ending. If you receive a negative review, we always recommend you respond to it personally and try to remedy the issue. (In fact, we have a comprehensive guide for dentists on how to correctly respond to a negative review. Give us a call, we’d be happy to provide it to you.) In addition to the work you put in on your end, your dental marketing team must also spend time implementing a reputation management strategy to try to remedy your negative review and protect you from future bad reviews. This takes many hours of marketing work by claiming lots of online real estate for your practice. As you can probably guess, this work can sometimes eat a large chunk of YOUR marketing budget – taking away funds that could be used for a better cause – to grow your practice!
Your Practice Depends on It – A good online reputation can build trust like nothing else can.
Research shows that 8 in 10 people trust online reviews (from perfect strangers) just as much as a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. What this statistic tells us is that online reviews have become the new word of mouth marketing – and your patients are certainly engaging in it when they decide which dentist to choose for their family. What’s even more, is that most patients consider dental practices who show up on the first page of their Google search to be the “best” choices in their community, whether they are or not. While this may seem counterintuitive to you – after all, shouldn’t your excellent clinical record instill all the trust that a potential patient needs? – it really has become today’s dental marketing reality. By keeping an impeccable online reputation, you are protecting your practice’s successful future.
Even if you try to keep your reputation impeccable, negative reviews can happen to anyone. But, don’t let it take you by surprise if it does happen to you! Contact our experienced dental reputation management team today to find out how you can protect yourself and your practice by enrolling in our proactive online reputation management program.