How to Get More Patient Testimonials

testimonialsInspirational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Though his hay day was during the 90s, Zig’s words still ring true. Dentists in private practice are also business owners, and marketing is an essential part of their success.

Keep an Eye on Your Reviews

Yellow Pages advertisements and direct mail are no longer the leaders in dental practice marketing. We now have Internet marketing and search engine optimization to understand. Even more recent, online reviews (aka patient testimonials) have entered the picture. Many dentists are shocked to find negative online reviews, sometimes from people they never saw or treated. I have seen defamatory reviews that refer to a dentist as a “mouth rapist,” and others posted by people who didn’t like the way the office phone was answered. Disgruntled patients sometimes don’t want to pay their dental bill, so they vent frustrations in a scathing online review.

Studies tell us, 70% of web users believe what they read online from other consumers,

so your online reputation is important.

Rarely can a dentist get a negative review removed by a patient — or the website on which the review is published. In fact, many dentists have lost lawsuits trying to clear their name and regain their good online reputation. If you find a negative online review, the best way to address it is to first post a level-headed reply, backed by facts and steeped in compassion. If you are not a talented writer, enlist the assistance of a professional writer.

Responding to Negative Reviews

After posting a response to the negative review, focus on acquiring positive reviews that will overshadow the negative. You can ask patients to post their testimonials on Google Places, Yahoo, Yelp!, Facebook, Angie’s List, and other sites. However, when a patient leaves your office, he can easily forget about posting his testimonial. (Face it, most people prefer to post testimonials as a way to vent about a negative experience, not to share their sincere appreciation for a product or service.)

Acquiring Patient Testimonials

Taking Zig’s timeless advice, if you’re having trouble getting online reviews from your satisfied patients, consider restructuring your strategy.

Where can you ask for reviews?

  • In the lobby: At the front desk or on the lobby’s coffee table, place a framed printout featuring text that encourages patients to review your practice online. Include icons for the sites where you’d like to acquire reviews.
  • In the operatory: The doctor (or hygienist if the doctor does not see the patient) should tell each patient that his or her online review would be much appreciated. If you’re hosting a monthly drawing for reviewers, let the patient know.
  • At checkout: Place a computer at checkout so that patients can easily post a review, right after their visit – while the experience is fresh on their mind. To encourage reviews, hold a monthly drawing in which you give away a Sonicare Toothbrush to a randomly selected reviewer. (Be sure to take a photo with the winner and post it to Facebook!)
  • On your website: Place a page on your website with direct links to all of the places you’d like reviews posted. The links should take the visitor directly to the destination where they can post a testimonial. Be sure to note on the webpage that most review sites require a free user account. This will help people choose the most convenient site.
  • Via email: In your e-newsletters, e-blasts, or post-appointment emails, remind patients to post reviews for you. Send links that direct them straight to the destination for posting their testimonial.

To keep an eye on what people are posting about you, create an email alert (Google Alert) for your name and your practice name. Google will email you when it indexes the phrases you’ve identified in your alert request.

For more tips about Internet marketing, or for a personal consultation and complimentary website review, call MDPM Consulting today at 972-781-8861.