Most practice owners focus on the clinical side of dentistry but often to the detriment of other facets of the practice. Top rank professionals are commonly engaged to offer state of the art dental procedures which get administered via teams that genuinely care about patient oral health, but, only a small amount of thought goes into reputation management? What do your patients really think about your practice or you as a Dentist?
Does Your Reputation Matter?
Suppose one of your patients recommends you to a neighbor. The neighbor uses Google to check out reviews for your practice. They might visit their favorite social media network to read what other customers wrote about your clinic. Negative reviews or complaints will drive them away from your doorstep.
Imagine someone wants to find a dentist close to their home or office. A quick search brings up your practice, along with detailed reviews and star ratings. If the first few reviews are negative, they will move on to some other clinic. Even if you’re not aware of it, you’ve lost prospective clients. All your marketing efforts have come to naught because of a few bad reviews.
Building your reputation takes time and every piece matters. No piece is more important than online reviews in the 21st century. Gone are the days when word-of-mouth and referrals made up the bulk of new patients coming to your clinic. While these techniques still work, few patients will come to your practice without first checking your reputation online.
Prepare for Bad Reviews
Have you ever checked reviews before going to a restaurant for dinner? You might notice that a few complaints have nothing to do with the food or the service. It’s all about the customer experience on that particular evening. Some people give bad reviews because the restaurant was crowded or their credit card was declined.
The same thing will happen to your practice. You have satisfied clients who love the results of your work. Nevertheless, they give you a bad review because their insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure or the lights went out for a few minutes. Some of your clients will give low ratings for factors outside your control. People don’t care if the situation was your fault or not. What matters is their perception of the entire experience.
If you don’t actively manage your reputation online, negative reviews will stand out. A dozen bad reviews can eclipse hundred positive ones. A string of bad reviews can create a negative impression about your clinic. Your goal is to manage your reputation so those negative reviews end up at the bottom of the page.
Which Is Worse – Bad Reviews or No Reviews?
This might come as a surprise to business owners but bad reviews can do more damage than having no reviews at all. This is because people are reluctant to take the chance on a dental clinic that has complaints. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than happy clients. So the absence of reviews can signal to potential clients that the practice is not bad. People also expect that new practices won’t have reviews and will give you the benefit of the doubt.
A business can lose a lifetime of goodwill because of one negative experience. The same is true for reviews and reputation. Your clinical proficiency and customer service won’t matter if your competitors have a better reputation. You’re already falling behind and it will become difficult to attract new clients.
Solicit positive reviews from satisfied clients and monitor your reputation at frequent intervals. Online reviews are the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. Build and manage your reputation to reap the benefits in terms of new clients for your practice.