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Online Reviews for Dentists

Dentist explaining to patient
Kenny Wu

Online Reviews for Dentists

Why online reviews are vital for dentists

Recommendations for dentists used to be passed around between friends and family. But with so many people moving to different cities and states during the COVID-19 pandemic, online reviews and ratings for dentists have become more important to both dental practices and potential patients than before. In fact, according to Deloitte, 70% of all users need to read at least four reviews before trusting a business.

Here are some other statistics showing just how important reviews and ratings can be for dentists:

  • 43% of patients would go out of their insurance network for a provider with favorable reviews. (Software Advice)
  • One disappointed customer will share their negative experience with 9 - 15 people. (Oracle)

  • 70% of consumers trust online reviews and articles more than advertisements when they want information about a business. (Statista)

For many dental practices, knowing where and how to get positive reviews and ratings can feel unpredictable and out of your control. However, there are several platforms and best practices that will help patients learn about your practice and get a sense of their potential treatment experience.

Review platforms dentists need

There is a multitude of review sites in existence, but understanding where your patients are really going to vet dentists will help you manage your online reputation efforts efficiently. While medical-specific platforms (such as ZocDoc and Healthgrades) exist, the main review platforms most consumers turn to are Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp.

Here are some numbers of how much these three review sites are used (according to Review Trackers):

  • 63.6% of users check Google reviews

  • 45.18% visit Yelp for reviews

  • 23.14% look at Facebook reviews

You may be asking what the differences are between Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. Let’s take a look:

Google My Business (GMB): Google My Business is the giant among review sites as it consists of 57.5% of all global reviews. Since Google has other products consumers use frequently, they tend to trust the information they’re getting from Google. GMB also integrates with other Google consumer products—Google Search and Google Maps. Filling out a free GMB profile helps your business be potentially seen on both Search and Maps, but in order to be visible to potential patients, you’ll have to make sure your practice’s information is complete and correct. Because Google is the king of search engines, GMB can provide a huge boost to both your office’s virtual traffic and appointments.

Facebook: The frontrunner among all social media platforms, Facebook is where a lot of your patients spend hours of their week—and it’s where your practice can connect and engage with them. Because Facebook was built as a social platform, engagement with customers is both an opportunity and an expectation. You can post updates, respond to people’s comments, and talk with potential patients via direct messages. However, not engaging with or responding hastily to messages and comments on Facebook can hurt any relationships you’re trying to build with your patient base.

Yelp: Yelp was designed to be focused on reviews, unlike the other two platforms that have other major functionalities. When searchers go on Google to look for dentists, a Yelp results page that might include your office often shows up, even when your dentist website doesn’t. Yelp reviews can be polarizing for your practice—positive reviews are a huge boon, but negative reviews can be a drag. Responding to both good and bad reviews can help mitigate this polarization as it shows patients that you’re actively listening.

Online review basics for dentists

The first thing your dental practice needs to do to collect reviews and ratings is to create or claim your business profile on review platforms. At times, sites like Yelp will allow consumers to create business profiles without a company’s permission, so checking if a profile exists for your practice will prevent duplicates. Whether it’s GMB, Facebook, or Yelp, here are the most important pieces of information your profile needs:

 
  • NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number): Double check that your office’s business name, address, and phone number are all correct. Since search engines often refer to listing details like these for business information, they not only help potential patients reach you, but also give your practice more visibility on search engines.

  • Business Hours: Update your business hours around the holidays or if you’re going to be closed for any reason. This helps prevent any frustration patients might have when trying to contact you and eliminates any potential bad taste in their mouths.

  • Business Category: Include all your services and remove any you no longer do so patients have the best information possible before calling to make an appointment.

  • Photos and Videos: You’ve invested a lot of time and resources into your office, but customers don’t know that when they’re first looking at your practice online unless you show them! Professional photos and videos of your facilities and equipment are important, but showcasing a friendly team and staff can be helpful for patients who are generally afraid of the dentist.

  • “About Us” Description: Aside from listing the services you provide, use this space to talk about how you approach patient care. Health and wellness can be very philosophical, so this is your space to preach your specific brand philosophy.

With these online review basics in mind, let’s move on to best practices and habits in part two of our blog series on online reviews.