Today’s world is largely driven by digital content. An online presence, using websites, Facebook pages or Twitter posts and availability through searches like Google, are essential for conducting and expanding a business. Along with this presence, it is essential to maintain a great reputation online from previous customers. This is true for dentists, as much as it is true for other businesses.
WHY ONLINE REPUTATION MATTERS FOR DENTISTS
A typical patient for a dentist today is much more likely to find the business through the Internet, than by any other means. One of the most common searches would be by locations close to home or work. Typically, these searches would yield several dentists in the same geographical location, offering almost identical services. That is where online reputation really matters. With several choices at hand, a patient then looks for the ratings and reviews from previous customers about each dentist. After glancing at the ratings and reading a few of the reviews, the patient then is most likely to pick the dentist with the most favorable reviews or the highest rating online. This will mean increased business for the dentist with the favorable ratings and reviews, but also will be a re-affirmation to the dentist that the services being provided are satisfactory to the customers.
DENTIST REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Given that an online presence is vital to maintaining and expanding a dentist’s business, managing this online presence could be a formidable and time-consuming task. Managing a dentist’s online reputation involves all or most of the following areas:
Attractive and Current Social Media Presence
Dentists need to keep their websites and social media content up to date with the latest information. The content needs to be attractive and informative and in a format that appeals to prospective customers. Outdated websites and Facebook pages are a sure turn off for most patients since outdated or dead links and content create a feeling of neglect.
A dentist needs to engage with prospective patients in a way that they are convinced to make an appointment. To do this, a dentist must be aware of online conversations about the practice and address negative issues or reviews right away so they do not reflect poorly on the business. Online conversations with customers is also a good way to gain feedback as to what is being done right and what needs to improve the business.
Keeping Up With Competitors
Managing a great online presence and being aware of what services competitors are offering, keeps a dentist business competitive and relevant in a crowded field.
Managing Ratings and Reviews
Prospective patients trust the experiences of other patients more than anything that the dentist office says. There is just a higher level of trust in another patient’s feedback, because of a lack of any potential gain or financial incentive. Research has shown that 84% of people are as likely to trust online reviews from strangers, as much as trusted recommendations from people they know. Therefore, positive ratings and reviews by other patients are vital to maintaining and expanding a dentist’s business.
Dentist reputation management is an important part of a dentist’s practice today. Prospective customers use online tools to find dentists, and then decide which dentist to patronize by using online ratings and reviews. Online reputation management is an ongoing, time-consuming process and even if a dentist has excellent skills and a great, established clientele, he or she cannot afford to ignore this aspect of the dental practice.