Several years ago, I wrote about the new trend of online reviews (2011). I considered it a double-edged sword, at best, and I initially avoided getting involved in it. As time went on, I realized the trend was here to stay and increasing in relevance (2012) to online marketing. Hell, I was looking at reviews for restaurants and other businesses. I’m using reviews to help make decisions as a consumer, myself! How can I reconcile that with a reluctance to leverage reviews to help my own business? It was impossible to deny the importance of online reputation.
Initially, my concern was the potential for bad reviews or even fraudulent reviews. Naturally, this concern is shared by many dentists. And, yes… it does happen. However, it’s rather rare, and people are wise to it. First, the saying “you can’t please everyone” is simply true. What matters is a preponderance of good reviews. Drown out the bad ones with good ones. Consumers look, not only for the overall quality of reviews, but also consider the context and credibility of the bad reviews.
If you can’t beat’em, join’em!
I decided to jump in. I began by simply asking some of our patients to post reviews. I put up a couple of signs around the office encouraging patients to post reviews. I got business cards that had a QR code patients could scan on their smart phone and go right to my Google review page. It worked… a little. A got a trickle of reviews over a long period of time.
Help! I need somebody. Help!
The next step was to use a review generating service. Many such services have popped up over recent years. The idea is to automate or facilitate, to some degree, reviews. The first one I tried used an internal review system residing on their own website. We set up a laptop kiosk at the front desk that had the service’s review page on the screen. Patients would be asked to post a review right there (awkward!). Alternatively, we could send them an email with a link. But, we had to do it manually.
The review would be posted on the service’s own review site. If the review was 5 stars, the system would email the patient asking him or her to copy & paste the review to Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, etc., providing links to those review sites. So, in effect, the patient would have to post the review AGAIN. Almost none did. And, I understand why. They “already did it once, and that’s enough.”
I got bunches of reviews posted to the service’s branded website (proprietary review platform), that nobody would ever see. But, literally a handful of patients bothered to RE-post the review to an actual review site… where it counts.
Not just anybody. Help!
After two years of lackluster results, I finally canceled that service. When I first heard about New Patient Inc’s “Crusader” review generator, I was skeptical for all the same reasons. If it required patients to do duplicate their efforts, it was a no-go for me. If it required my team to constantly “badger” patients, or put them on the spot, to post a review, it was a no-go for me.
As I discovered, “Crusader” is different. First, it’s FULLY on autopilot. Crusader taps into our practice management software (Open Dental) and automatically sends a text and / or email to the patient after a visit. My front desk will let patients know, “you may receive a text or email survey asking for feedback about your visit.” That’s it! By the way, Crusader does not badger patients with repeated texts or emails. It does it once.
This is how they do it.
The patient will receive a text and / or email with a link.
The link takes the patient to a very simple page that asks if the service was “excellent” (smiley face) or “not 5-star service” (sad face).
If the patient clicks on the smiley face, it automatically takes them to a page that allows them to pick the review site of their choice.
In this example, I clicked on Google, which took me directly to the my Google review page:
If they click on the sad face, it takes them to an internal page that allows them to send us the negative feedback directly. If the feedback is negative, the system will alert you by email. You can then address the situation, if you so choose.
Crusader does not post patient reviews to a proprietary site. It takes the patient right to their choice of Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, Facebook, etc. It takes them directly to real review sites. No middle man. They don’t have to copy / paste their review, in an additional step, later to a real review site. It’s all in one step! Easy, peasy for patients. Piece of cake for dentists.
Major Tom to Review Control
It’s worth mentioning another important consideration about services that post reviews internally to their own review platform. Many of the current services do this, and if you ever stop paying them (discontinue the services), they can basically hold those reviews hostage and take them away. With Crusader, there is no proprietary review platform hosting your reviews. You should never give up control of your reviews.
Gathering lots of reviews takes time, even with with an efficient review generator. But, I can tell you that in the three months I’ve been using Crusader, I’ve gotten more reviews on Google and Facebook than I got in the entire two years of the previous service. I can also tell you that a number of patients have told us that reviews influenced them to choose my practice.
The monthly cost is less than my previous service. The cost goes down even more, if you bundle some of NPI’s other services.
Again, the significance and impact of online reviews is undeniable. Surf’s up, Dental Warriors! Ride the wave!