It should come as no surprise that patients like to be referred to healthcare providers. There’s an inherent level of trust that comes along with a referral from a friend or family member. The referral is proof that the doctor is ok, proof that someone else had a good experience.
So how do you build that trust with prospective patients who find you online? Offer social proof.
What is Social Proof?
Positive reviews about your practice are referred to as “social proof.” What others say about your dental practice in online reviews has a profound influence on new patient conversion.
You generally want to provide adequate social proof for two main groups of prospective new patients:
- People who are new to the community and don’t yet have an established
- People who have received a referral to the practice and want to confirm
This means that positive reviews can be just what a prospective patient needs to see to finally pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. Conversely, negative reviews can quickly turn people away.
Enhance the Conversion Power of Your Dental Website
In some jurisdictions, there are limitations on the use of patient testimonials on your practice website. For example, it may be permissible to use testimonials that relate to your customer service, but not your clinical care. Make sure you are aware of the regulations in your jurisdiction.
If testimonials are allowed in your area, add some positive quotes from patients to your website. Encourage patients to offer reviews about the quality of customer service they received at your practice and ask for permission to post on your website with their first name.
Even better, post some video testimonials! These are the most powerful because of the nuances of tone of voice and body language that really convey the patient’s feelings. Take a look at this infographic that outlines how to film patient testimonial videos with your smartphone.
The first impression is the most important. That’s why we send a first visit survey on behalf of Smile Marketing clients. If respondents rate the practice highly (on a scale of 1-10), they’re asked for a brief review. If the review is long enough, they are asked for permission to publish the review on your site. They are then urged to write a review on Yelp or other reviews sites, and supplied with the relevant links.
What if You Get a Bad Review?
While you can control which testimonials are published on your own website, you can’t control what is published on review sites, which means you could end up with a bad review online. If you do, take a look at this post that explains how to respond to negative reviews. But don’t panic. Many believe that an occasional less-than-glowing review actually serves to validate the brilliant reviews!
A Little Social Proof Goes a Long Way
It is very important to monitor review sites and be cognizant of your online reputation. You want to resolve any issues that these reviews bring to your attention, as well as learn from them to improve your practice’s overall performance.
But also do what you can to highlight your many happy patients on your practice website so that your site visitors can see that you are a trustworthy, caring professional before they even meet you.