Too often, dentists assume that if they simply provide the best dental care, they’ll naturally become the #1 dental practice in their area, the idea being that if they make a great impression (no pun intended), their patients will tell everyone they know and business will boom. While the logic is sound, in today’s landscape, analog word of mouth just isn’t enough to send your practice to the top of the local list.
The good news is: You can get to the top spot with similar thinking. If a patient recommending you to their friends is analog word of mouth, online reviews are the digital version—and the key difference is that reviews influence WAY more people than those in a patient’s social circle. However, getting a handful of reviews here and there isn’t going to cut it.
As Dan Johnson of Acre Wood Dental learned, “If people are looking for dentists in our area, we want the most reviews, because the perception will be that we’re the best.” Having lots of reviews inspires confidence in prospective patients by creating a sense of prestige and showcasing a large, happy client base. In short, it makes people much more likely to choose your practice. This BIA/Kelsey and ConStat report shows that 97 percent of people read reviews before giving someone their business.
And it’s not just about image—when you have lots of reviews, your Google search ranking improves, meaning that when people search Google for dental practices in their area, you’ll be one of the first results they see. And that matters. A lot. Because 91% of searchers don’t look past the first page of search results, and the first five results get most of the clicks.
So, if your goal is to become the #1 dental practice in your area, what are you going to do about it? Practice after practice has learned that asking patients in person doesn’t yield the desired results. Front desk staff forget to ask, patients forget to follow through, and frankly, it can be kind of awkward. Practices will typically see a bump of a couple reviews per month with the in-person method. A well-timed text message, however, has an entirely different outcome.
Texting each of your patients might sound like way more work than you and your staff are able to take on, but with a review management software tool, you can easily set up a process to automatically text message review requests to patients after their appointments. This simple addition to your patient engagement strategy can bring in dozens of new reviews in the very first month. Last time we talked to Dan at Acre Wood, since implementing the Swell review management tool, his practice had just passed 1800 reviews and was seeing an average of 25 more new patients per month.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about your commitment to providing excellent dental care, as that’s still an important part of becoming the #1 dental practice in your area. (You want the vast majority of those new reviews to be good ones, after all—there’s not much prestige in a dental practice with a ton of reviews and a 2-star overall review score.) That’s why, in addition to review management, Swell has several other tools designed to help you simply and effectively improve your business and your patients’ experiences, including Webchat, Schedule, and Survey.
Ready to clinch the top spot in your region? See how Swell can help.
Ready to solve your online reputation and business growth challenges? Subscribe to get Swell resources in your inbox.