Let me tell you a quick story.
A few months ago, I went to a cocktail party in London and met a fellow online marketer named James. I mentioned I would like to get away for a few days with my wife.
Well, James answered, “I just came back from a weekend in Budapest, Hungary. It is a beautiful city with lots to do and it is cheap; well worth a visit.”
Straightaway, a simple recommendation (or review) from a new acquaintance made me think Budapest may be the place for me – somewhere I never considered before.
In today’s world, a similar scenario is played out daily online. People are turning to recommendations or reviews (also known as word-of-mouth marketing) for purchasing decisions, such as which films to watch or choosing a holiday destination (by the way, I went to Budapest last week and had a great time – thanks James).
But, can word-of-mouth marketing benefit your dental practice? Are patients turning to reviews when searching for a dentist?
According to a survey of 4,515 U.S. patients, conducted by Software Advice, more people are using dental reviews when deciding on a dentist or a treatment.
Let’s consider some of the findings:
Patients use online reviews to research a doctor
25% of patients use online reviews to research the capability of a doctor. Or, 1 in 4 people use reviews to determine whether you are the dental practice for them – that is a significant number.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Positive online reviews can potentially attract new people to your dental practice and improve your brand reputation.
Patients use online reviews as the first step
62% of patients who use reviews stated they use them as the first step in finding a dentist. The reviews you receive could be the first impression someone has of your dental practice – is it positive or negative?
KEY TAKEAWAY: Having good reviews can help accumulate leads. Keep in mind good reviews start with good customer service and interaction.
What do people look for in a dental review?
45% of patients list “quality of care” as the information they are most interested in when reading reviews. 39% judged the overall rating score on the review site, and in third was waiting times (the shorter the better, obviously).
KEY TAKEAWAY: Make sure to provide quality care (I guess that goes without saying) and ask patients to talk about that care when leaving a review.
Power of Reviews
The positive impact is 26% of patients were willing to go out of an insurance network if a dentist’s reviews were better than in-network dentists.
However, negative reviews can keep people away.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Although insurance networks are strong, people will move outside these if online reviews are better elsewhere.
According to the Software Advice research, only 10% of active patients leave an online review, making it difficult for dental practice to take advantage of reviews.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Encourage your patients to leave online reviews. Use materials such as “After-appointment emails” or “In-office displays” to remind your patients to leave a review.
Online reviews are gaining weight and momentum in most industries, not just dentistry. Evidence of this is seen by Google, which uses reviews to rank websites in search engines and social networks such as Facebook added review features. Also, sites such as Yelp and HealthGrades continue to grow.
Make sure your dental practice is not left behind – get those positive reviews!
What do you think? Do online reviews really benefit a dental practice?
Special thanks to Software Advice.