Google reviews. Dentists really can’t ignore them.

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I stumbled into writing today’s blog post as a mom looking for a dentist for her (adult) daughter. It wasn’t something I needed to do but something I wanted to do, and what I found in the process was a reminder not only of how important the work our Patient NEWS team does for our clients is but also of how vital Google reviews are for dentists. (If you’re using our Review Booster system, don’t worry – you’ll be just fine! This story is juicy gossip about real dentists that are really in practice, so you might enjoy the read.)

My daughter is building a new home and moving to a new city, so I thought I’d do a little research on her behalf regarding dental options in her new area. Given that we work with dentists, I was curious about whether I might like a thing or two about one over another.

What I found was, honestly, quite surprising. It made it completely clear that dental offices looking to generate more production absolutely must have a modern, clean website and a bunch of great – and recent – reviews. After all, no one who wants to have a successful, growing business can ignore what’s going on online and believe that it won’t impact their results.

Not to mention how embarrassing it might be if you live where you work or are close to it. Not only will poor or lacking reviews and a clunky old website impact your practice reputation in your community, but people you know – colleagues, friends, family – they can all see those reviews, too! Your ability to attract quality team members is also likely to be impacted – it’s a common problem that many dental offices are challenged with.

The vast majority of consumers look to reviews to help them make major purchasing decisions, like selecting a healthcare provider. Can you think of a recent purchase you made WITHOUT looking at reviews? Would you choose a doctor that had a 3.4-star rating? Would you work for a practice that had a 2.5-star rating? Consider your age and gender. Not to be politically incorrect, but over 90% of all healthcare buying decisions are made by the household decision maker. I guarantee SHE is looking at reviews, like me, and guiding the family choices.

Now, I’ve seen some practices with mid-4-star reviews, and that can actually be a good thing – perfection can seem off – and we can all read through the angry patients who didn’t like treatment or the patients complaining about fees. I get it. That happens. And I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’ll often sort by bad reviews to see if I care about what others are complaining about.

But the dental practices I looked at in this case? Yikes. Not enough stars, not enough reviews, and not recent enough.

It was so shocking because it wasn’t one provider. It was multiple. One small group had a few locations with lower than 4-star reviews across locations. That is bad news bears and a leading indicator of future troubles.

I shook my head. Those dentists and practice owners have to have their heads in the sand. It also says something about their team and the company culture that someone wouldn’t be working to generate positive reviews and create a better online reputation.

An online situation like this will catch up to businesses that don’t take action. One of the offices actually looked pretty nice in their Google images and had curbside appeal – I almost wanted to call and just let them know, in a kind way, that they have a horrible website, bad reviews, and that those things are probably hurting them – but they can be fixed! I did not make the call, but I did encourage our team to reach out and see if they’d like some help without my direct negative feedback. LOL.

Maybe they’re doing okay with walk-ins and accepting the current patient activity. But it’s guaranteed that their online presence is hurting them, and prospective patients will be thinking the same thing and moving on.

The scary thing is, once new patients and production start to slide for a dental practice, it’s really hard to get the j-curve to turn back up if you wait too long.

According to ReviewTrackers analysis of over 48,000 business locations:

  • 94% of consumers say a bad review has convinced them to avoid a business
  • 53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to a negative review within a week
  • 63% say that at least one company they reviewed never responded
  • 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews
  • Customers don’t trust businesses with lower than 4-star reviews, and 70% filter those out completely.

Search Engine Land states that businesses with more reviews generate over 50% more revenue, and those with more than the average number of reviews bring in over 80% more revenue. While rating matters for consumer perception, the quantity of reviews is the factor more clearly related to revenue.

The average local business has 39 reviews, and over 80% of consumers say a review must be recent to be trustworthy. There’s a crazy stat that says consumers won’t even consider reviews if they weren’t written within 30 days!

Have you Googled “dentist near me” to see how your practice compares to others in your area? Take a look and don’t be worried. Whatever you find can be tackled, improved, and shifted to work positively for the success of your practice.

You may have a practice ambassador that would love to take on the role of review generator, and our Review Booster system can increase efficiencies and really change outcomes. It’s absolutely the best solution for dentists, and I’m not just bragging. It’s an automated system that utilizes both text and email, and because of that our clients can include value-added content in every email request. An oral health article that patients appreciate, which also helps to educate and boost elective services. Next appointment dates are noted for the family. It’s a give-and-ask system that sets dental offices apart from the typical text-and-go app. The easy-to-use dashboard collects all the practice reviews so it’s simple to respond to reviews efficiently each day, without having to log in all over the place. And, with Review Booster, you receive reports when patient email or cell contact data is missing. Our users triple their reviews – and over time that number continues to escalate! It’s the cat's ass!

At the end of the day, Google reviews matter the most and we can help you master the art of collecting and responding to your steady flow of positive new reviews.

If you’re an amazing dentist with an amazing team, more people should know about you so you can help more people! Reviews are vital and they’re a great way to share the amazing work you do, the amazing people you work with, and the amazing dental care you provide. And guess what? Your patients are ready, willing, and happy to leave you a positive review.

It’s also important to consider recency in your considerations. I’ve seen some dentists that have a ton of good reviews, but then they just stop trying to get them. If you have 50 reviews, but your most recent one was written three months ago – that really matters too!

So, if you want to get more positive reviews, we’ve got you covered. Ask your Account Manager for a free demo of Review Booster. In fact, even if – or especially if – you’re already using any type of reputation management solution, you WANT to have a free demo of Review Booster. It’s been created by dental marketers just for dentists, so you may just like it a lot more than what you’ve got!

Average Review Booster clients have 170 reviews and have tripled their reviews since launch, and the same can happen for you. Get in touch with your AM today to discuss!