If you’ve never heard of “reputation management” before it probably sounds like something from the entertainment industry – the kind of job done by someone working for a major film studio or record label.
But while the entertainment industry certainly has its fair share of people whose jobs consist of burnishing and protecting the reputations of the biggest stars, you might be surprised to learn that reputation management should also be a concern for dental clinics.
As a dental healthcare provider, your good reputation is a priceless asset – one that will be a natural draw for new patients. And in the age of online reviews, managing that reputation and making sure that it isn’t tarnished unfairly is something every dental clinic should take seriously.
While I have written before about the importance of online reviews for dental businesses of all sizes, in this post I specifically discuss the role of review management software – a key tool to help you bring your reputation management into the twenty-first century.
To that end, I’ll answer three of the most common questions that I get from healthcare providers who want to know more about reputation management services in general and review management software in particular.
1. What is Review Management Software?
Review management software is designed to help businesses of all kinds effectively handle their online reviews. According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, negative online reviews can sometimes cause doctors to see significant drops in patient enrolment, which can snowball into catastrophe if left unchecked.
Most review management software offers a variety of tools that help you acquire a greater volume of reviews on social media as well as industry-specific websites. It also helps you curate the reviews you receive from your dental patients and highlight the most positive ones.
Review management software usually doesn’t interfere with negative reviews but it does provide response options that allow you to manage reviews from unsatisfied patients to minimize the negative impact and ensure that the issues they raise are dealt with productively.
Perhaps most importantly, review management software takes a lot of the uncertainty out of review management and gives you the opportunity to easily oversee how your dental clinic is being talked about online.
2. How Does Review Management Software Work?
Review management software for dentists works on four distinct fronts by:
- Increasing review volume
- Highlighting the best reviews
- Responding to negative reviews
- Optimizing the placement of reviews
For example, this software helps you solicit more reviews by automating review acquisition campaigns via email and text, which means that you don’t have to organize your own campaigns every month or every two months. It also sends you and your team alerts every time a review is posted, which puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to responding to negative reviews and helps you mark up positive ones so that they will be more SEO-friendly, and consequently more likely to be seen by potential patients.
Finally, this software lets you track your performance over time, so you can get a bird’s eye view of how your patients are evaluating the service your clinic provides.
3. What Difference Does it Make?
While most dental clinic managers and owners intuitively understand that a good reputation is essential for growing their patient base, I often hear people ask whether review management software really makes a difference. After all, if you already have good word-of-mouth promotion, will a few reviews whether positive or negative, really make a difference to your business?
The truth is that as the Internet becomes a more and more integral part of how we gather information and make decisions, word-of-mouth is no longer enough – you also need strong online reviews.
According to recent data, 90% of consumers consult online reviews before visiting any business, while 88% of consumers value online reviews as highly as the recommendations of their friends and family. This doesn’t mean that a few mean-spirited reviews online can cancel out the testimonies of satisfied patients, as long as your positive reviews sound genuine and speak to the same positive experiences.
One thing to remember is that bad reviews come easily, while good reviews don’t, so it pays to invest in software that encourages your patients to do the latter.
Patients, like any type of consumer, are more likely to actually take time out of their day to write a review if they had a bad experience. Essentially, these reviews act as a warning to others. The good news is that people who seek out online reviews are savvy and if they see one negative review stacked up against 20 positive ones, they will be able to read the numbers and understand that one bad review likely doesn’t speak to the overall service provided by a dental practice.
With a growing number of patients making decisions about which healthcare providers to choose based on what they read online, ensuring that your online reviews reflect the best service you provide is essential. And, the best way to garner positive reviews is to simply ask for them.
If you want to grow your business and attract new patients to your dental clinic, building a strong reputation, cultivating good reviews, and ensuring that negative reviews are not prominently displayed needs to be part of your strategy. Review management software is by far the best tool for making this strategy work.