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How to Earn Google Reviews for Your Practice With Way Less Effort

June 30, 2022

Reviews are the easiest, cheapest way to improve your visibility on Google. It’s possible you’re new to the world of reviews and haven’t ever focused on them before. If so, you have the chance to skip the hard way and go straight to the easy way to generate reviews. 

We talk to dentists every day and we know what a slog review generation can be. 

Many practices instruct their office staff to ask for reviews as patients leave the office and others even follow up with text or call requests for reviews. Not only is this high-effort and hard to remember, but it doesn’t yield great results. On the way out the door, most patients have already moved on to the next part of their day and don’t have time to immediately write a review. 

According to Swell internal research, asking patients for a review in person or via manual text typically yields 1 in 10 completed reviews and takes 2 minutes per person.

It doesn't have to be that way. Let’s look at how to get that number closer to 1 in 4 while spending zero time on it. 

The Easy Way to Ask for Reviews

In-person requests can get you started, but to achieve consistent reviews, you need to automate your review request process.

With the right software, you can set up customized review request text messages that will be sent automatically after a patient completes a visit. The review invite texts are fully customizable and are sent directly from your office’s main phone number. You can personalize them with:

  • Your name and logo
  • Your patient’s name
  • A custom text message
  • A photo of the patient’s provider 

When you use automated software to send out review requests you can save time and take advantage of best practices for getting more responses. 

Best practices for sourcing reviews:

  • Automating triggers by integrating with your practice management software so you can automatically text patients after their appointment.
  • Choosing the right time. Through tens of thousands of review requests, we have learned that the hours of 6 - 8 p.m. are the best times to send a review request in order to get a response. 
  • Considering the appointment type when scheduling the request. A patient who had a cleaning can fill out a review that same evening, but a patient who had their wisdom teeth removed should be given time to heal before they get a review request.
  • Following up. Sending a follow-up to patients who didn’t complete a review 24 hours after the first request can yield 28% more reviews completed (Power Reviews).

Dental practices that use Swell’s automated review request text messages typically see 1 in 4 completed reviews with 0 time spent after the original set-up process. 

Busy practices are sending out hundreds of review requests and reminders every week with absolutely no time spent sourcing them. For offices that are currently asking patients in person or manually sending out text messages asking for reviews, automation can save them hours (yes, you read that right) each week.

Aside from how to easily source your reviews, there are a few things you might wonder about when putting together a review strategy for your practice.

An Authentic Mix of Reviews Shows Your Practice is Trustworthy

What if your rating is lower than five stars? If you find yourself worrying about a negative review or a less-than-perfect star rating, we’ve got great news. 

Prospective patients don’t expect perfection. In fact, they don’t even want it.

According to a study by Northwestern University researchers, the likelihood of choosing a business peaks somewhere between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. As the rating approaches 5, the chance of being chosen drops.

Sound counterintuitive? Consider it from this perspective.

Reviews aren’t new. Every internet user is familiar with reviews and knows that every single business has its detractors. Naturally, if there are too many detractors or the reviews are too scathing, the business isn’t appealing. But if the business only has 5 star reviews, they don’t assume it’s perfect. They wonder if something is fishy.

Having an authentic mix of positive and negative reviews signals that a business is real and trustworthy. So don’t sweat it if you have a few not-so-stellar reviews marring your Google listing. Aim for that sweet spot from 4.2 - 4.5 and you’ll be good to go.

Negative reviews won’t hurt your ranking either. Google has explicitly stated that it values all reviews and even mentions that a mix of positive and critical reviews can help your ranking (Search Engine Land).

Don’t let fears about a negative review hold you back from setting up an automated review request process. Of course, continue providing an excellent patient experience, but remember that volume of reviews is more important than preserving a perfect 5 stars. 

Who to Ask for Reviews

Almost any patient is a good candidate to ask for a review. Like we said, a few negative reviews are simply part of the process, so we recommend sending review requests to every patient. Plus, Google opposes “review gating,” the practice of purposefully hand selecting only 5 star reviews and trying to prevent any potentially negative review. 

By setting up automatic review invitations to go out at the right interval after a visit, you give the patient a chance to respond when they are most likely to be happy with their experience. For example, after they have had time to recover from a complicated procedure. 

If there’s a patient who wouldn’t be comfortable providing a public review, you can always request that they offer some private feedback instead. Ultimately, with review request automation, you can select patients who should never receive review requests and they will be removed from any automated messages.

The Anatomy of a Good Review

Let’s look at a killer review and see what it’s doing right. 

A good review is detailed. This reviewer didn’t skimp on specifics - they included the dentist’s name and lots of information about their visit. 

A good review includes keywords. Remember, keywords are phrases someone might search for that you want to lead them to your practice. Having phrases like “tooth extraction” and “dental cleaning” in your reviews can help you rank higher when someone uses those terms in a Google search.

If you want to get more high-quality reviews, just ask! You can write your review request text message to specifically ask that the patient leave a “detailed review.”

Why You Should Never Buy Reviews

If you’ve spent any time focused on getting more reviews, you might have encountered the murky world of reviews for sale. 

Just like any other form of dishonest marketing; this is a poor strategy. Not only do you risk being caught and losing credibility with your current and prospective patients, but it can do more harm than good to your standing on Google. That means you risk becoming less visible, not to mention flushing cash down the drain.

Google’s policies state: “Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”

Plus, some businesses that have fallen prey to review buying schemes claim their Google Business Profile was penalized by pushing them down the page or out of their Local Pack entirely.

If you’re running a great practice, you don’t need to pay for fake reviews. The resource you need (happy patients) is already there, untapped, just waiting to be enlisted in the right strategy to go to work for your brand.

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