The internet can offer you and your dental practice a tremendous amount of positive exposure. Many patients perform online research before calling a dental practice, trusting favorable reviews as evidence of a competent doctor. However, there also exists the potential for disgruntled patients (and even former staff and competitors) to publish negative reviews of your dental practice. While a few negative reviews are not likely to permanently damage your reputation, you need to be aware of the feedback being published online about your practice. Taking ownership of your online reputation is better than leaving it to chance. Consider the following tips to cultivate a positive image:
- Actively search for reviews. Look for what patients are saying about you online. If a particularly bad review warrants a response, find a way to leave a polite explanation of the circumstances that lead to the patient’s bad experience. If warranted, apologize and invite the individual to contact the practice to make things right.
- Use social media to promote your reputation. Be proactive in developing a positive image. Post favorable reviews from patients, advertise specialized services you offer, and contribute in message threads when you can contribute valuable information.
- Place your practice on review sites. Maintain your practice’s profile on popular sites such as Google, Bing, and Yelp. A professional profile will improve your image.
- Set alerts to notify you of activity. Set online alerts that let you know someone is talking about your dental practice. Knowing what patients are saying is the first step in managing your reputation.
- Encourage patients to give you reviews online. Ask them to leave positive feedback on platforms like Google, Bing, and Yelp. A few positive reviews can go a long way in enticing new patients.
With so many dentists in practice, patients are using the internet to research their options. Do not expect that a well-designed website will be enough to draw new patients; you need to promote your reputation through every means available.
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Terry D. Watson, DDS, and Frank Brown, JD, LLM, are with ADS Watson, Brown & Associates, a dental practice transition consulting and brokerage firm in Dallas, TX. They are members of American Dental Sales and can be reached on the Contact Page