Dental Reputation Management
Reputation is a powerful thing. It moves independently of us, proceeds and follows us, and may persist long after we’ve departed. With all that in mind, reputation and reputation management are important to any business, but take on a special importance for dentists and dental practices. Dentistry is the art of providing sensitive and personal health services to a variety of patients under a myriad of circumstances, and the reputation you develop along the way will shape your patient interactions for years to come. Managing your reputation as an oral health professional is a vital part of both your customer service and your marketing strategy.
Understanding Reputation Management
In order to understand reputation management, we should start with a look at where your professional reputation comes from. As with so much that is truly important, your professional reputation as a dentist is composed of many smaller things. These could include the word of mouth advertising your patients give you, online reviews of your services, your public record as a health care provider, your advertising, and the content created around you on social media. All these small pieces add up to create your reputation as a whole.
So how does your reputation impact your business? As it turns out, the sources of information most strongly influenced by your reputation are also the ones your potential patients are most likely to consult. Let’s take a look at some numbers:
- Current marketing research confirms that better than 60% of American adults use the internet to look for information about health care and health care providers, while 65% of potential patients rely on customer reviews when choosing a new health care provider.
- For dentists in particular, potential patients trust online information when choosing a new provider. Searches for dentists and dental services are up by nearly 30% online.
- 70% of potential patients say that a dentist’s reputation and reviews are just as important to them as that dentist’s professional qualifications.
It’s clear that for most potential patients, reputation will play as large a role in the decision as any other factor. Managing your reputation likewise plays a huge role in helping your practice grow and thrive. So, what makes effective reputation management?
Reputation management is an overall term for a variety of approaches and services intended to optimize your reputation and thus the growth of your practice. A well executed reputation management plan will offer the following:
- Monitoring and managing reviews. Your reviews, both online and off, are the first way in which many potential patients will encounter you and your reputation. Reviews are a tool for your business growth, and like all tools they need to be used and managed appropriately and proactively.
- Managing listings and business profiles. In a digital world defined by the internet of things, online profiles and descriptions of your business can pop up in some unlikely places. Reputation management includes discovering and managing these appropriately.
- Timely and effective responses to patient feedback. Patient feedback, both good and bad, drives so much of what you do. Patient feedback in any form needs to be addressed in a timely and appropriate manner in order to manage the situation and find an optimal outcome for everyone involved–including your online reputation!
- Soliciting patient feedback–at every stage. Action is faster than reaction, and a proactive approach to reputation management beats the alternative every time. By soliciting feedback from patients at every stage of their involvement with your practice, we’ll maximize the positive reviews while dealing with any issues that may arise before a real problem develops.