Marketing is the practice of promoting your business to attract new customers and retain current ones. We all know that! Regardless of the type of business you have, it is a necessity, however, businesses market differently when they are starting up than when they are well established. Nonetheless it is a system that every business should keep on the forefront of their minds. What is keeping your from getting the most of your marketing efforts? Are you needing new patients? Are you trying to maintain your presence on the internet? Do you look right and then left and not know which way to turn?
We reached out to some of our clients and asked these questions. The answers we received centered around 2 topics - the desire to have a larger presence on the internet and with that larger presence, fear of an onslaught of negative reviews. Both of these areas are justified with so many ways to turn for the right choices.
We decided to get an expert opinion on the best practices for handling these concerns. Because we are Global Team Solutions - we decided to get a team of experts together. Please meet our colleagues who agreed to participate in this project:
Robin Morrison - www.rlmmarketing.com - is the owner of 2 companies - RLM Healthcare Marketing and Dental Consultant Connection. She started her career as a dental office administrator and marketing director. She has also teamed up with Linda Miles to form Oral Cancer Cause to bring awareness of this deadly disease.
Minal Sampat- www.minalsampat.com - began as a dental hygienist yet her passion for marketing quickly took her in a different direction. In 2013 she broke the Guinness World Record for the most mouthwash swishers to raise money for breast cancer and increase oral cancer awareness. She is the author of ‘Why your marketing is killing your business’.
Xaña Winans - www.goldenproportions.com - is listed as Golden Proportions’ founder, resident visionary and lead strategist. Xaña fell into dentistry when she fell in love with her college sweetheart; he went on to become a dentist. Her passion for marketing within his practice led to the birth of Golden Proportions, which is one of the largest dental marketing companies today.
Question #1: How can an office have a bigger presence on Google or the internet?
Robin Morrison: There are three areas to focus on when trying to increase your presence on Google.
1) Website SEO (you don’t have to pay for it!)
Unique and relevant content is key and frequently adding to your content is a must
Videos on your website are essential i. Professional videos representing your practice, dentistry and team ii. Patient testimonials – these can be recorded with your smart phone iii. Videos should be placed on your YouTube channel and your website
2) Google Business listing
Make sure your listing and location are correct (and that you only have one)
Take time to complete all of the information on your listing and update as things change
Make sure a link to your Google page is on the TOP of your website on all pages
3) Request Google Reviews
Use automation (think Revenue Well, Solution Reach, Demand Force, etc.) to email patients after their visit a link directly to your Google page with verbiage similar to: It was a pleasure seeing you today in our dental office. It is important to us that we provide excellent service and care to all of our patients, and our team thanks you for the confidence you place in us. When you have a moment, we would appreciate your feedback on our Google Review page. Please click the following link which will take you directly to our Google Page (your Google link here).
Consider using a third party to help facilitate increased Google reviews. I have seen fantastic results with Swell. You can check them out on their website and call for a demo. https://www.swellcx.com/
Minal Sampat: Google is king. We all acknowledge that and know that Google changes its algorithms all the time. Apart from having a strong SEO handle, a great way to increase Google presence is via leveraging the Google My Business page.
That is the free listing a business has on Google. This is where the reviews are placed. With Google My Business, start utilizing the posts, photos, and videos tabs.
Use the Google My Business page as a social media platform by consistently adding new content. This will help boost your business and the listing online...for free!
∙ 20% of searches are transactional (ex. Dentist my area)
You need solid website with unique content You need good SEO strategy (ideally with a company to maximize your content) You need to have a lot of good reviews
∙ 80% of searches are informational
Have a blog on your site, this helps with long tail searches Take FAQs and turn them into a blog Add new blog posts at least twice a month
Question #2: How do you handle negative reviews?
∙ Be self-aware and don’t take it personal
∙ Be empathetic to the patient’s point of view
∙ Call patient directly to ask what happened
∙ Validate them and their issue, then find a way to resolve the problem
∙ Once it’s been resolved, reply to the review “I’m so glad that we were able
to talk about your problem, please let us know if this happens again”
(something along those lines)
∙ People expect a review response within 7 days (to good and bad reviews)
The best way to handle negative reviews is offline.
If the review is from a legitimate patient:
Call the patient and discuss the situation. (Most times it is a simple misunderstanding.)
You can also ask them during the call if they will remove or edit their review.
If the review is still online after you have spoken with them, you can then simply respond with a generic response by thanking them to bring the negative experience to your attention, and that you and they have found the resolution offline.
If you can't verify who wrote the negative review:
You can respond back letting the reviewer know that you are sorry they had a less than perfect experience.
Ask them to reach out to the practice with a direct email/phone number. This way, potential patients reading the reviews will see that you responded with direct next steps to resolve the negative experience.
No matter the situation, NEVER go back and forth with someone online and always be mindful of following HIPAA guidelines.
The most effective way to handle any negative review is to bury it with positive ones. People, in general, do not trust a total 5 stars business, but nor do they want to be at a 3.5 stars business. It is completely okay to have anything between 4 to 5 stars with the most amount of reviews.
Well, two things that are a must.
You should absolutely respond to a negative review and a POSITIVE review.
When you receive a review, you should respond immediately (ideally within 24 hours).
For a positive review, give them a genuine and specific thank you. Here’s an example - If they complement your dental assistant, in your thank you, say something like, “We appreciate hearing your experience with Sarah. We take great pride in our team and value their commitment to providing only the best for our patients.” This way you turn it into a marketing opportunity for when future viewers of the review read it, they see what a caring team you have.
For a negative review, a genuine response in needed here as well. Depending on the circumstance, your response will differ. I have found many times, there is a case of mistaken identity (meaning they are not even a patient of record). If this happens, I recommend stating just that – As we research our patient database, it appears you have not visited our office. Perhaps you visited a practice with a similar name.
If the reviewer is a patient in your practice, apologize if there was a misunderstanding and offer to speak with them directly. Additionally, you may include something like, ‘it is always our intention to offer excellent customer service and patient care, and I am sorry that was not the perception of your experience with us. We would love the opportunity to make it up to you.’
One note of caution, because of HIPPA, be very cautious with your words in your response. You don’t want state names or reveal anything about their care with your practice.
It seems that there are some strategies that offices can use to strengthen their presence that are easy and, in some cases, FREE. You will note that there is some redundancy in the answers from our experts - that’s good. That means that there are some proven systems to be aware of and utilize. Unfortunately, many times we see an established business that will forego marketing efforts. Business is good. If we had new customers, we wouldn’t know what to do with them.
In the dental office, we often hear this about reaching out to their recall patients “We aren’t calling the overdue patients because we can’t get them in for 1, 2 or 3 months.” We encourage offices to contact their patients anyway because if you schedule them 3 months out, you have those available to move up when the schedule falls apart.
GTS would like to thank Robin Morrison, Minal Sampat and Xaña Winans for taking time out of the lives to share such generous pearls with our audience. We encourage you to reach out to any of them for additional expertise. We hope that you found this information as enlightening as we did.