Blog Archives

Bring Online Reviews to Your Daily Huddle

I just had a great conversation with Anastasia Turchetta, who is a dental speaker and hygienist, (she’ll be speaking at TBSE this year) and I was showing her our new product, Reputation Monitor.  She immediately had a suggestion which I thought was great, which was to use it in the morning huddle and read the previous day’s reviews to the team.  This serves many purposes.  If there was as negative review, then the team can discuss what went wrong and how to correct it going forward. (It also should be someone’s job to respond to the negative review, but that’s not for the huddle.)  If you had positive reviews, this lets the team know that they are doing a great job and that people are noticing, and gets everyone excited about the day.

It also has the benefit of reminding team members that they are being reviewed, like it or not.  And so that should make them step up their game, and be conscientious, considerate and courteous throughout the day.  And it keeps the idea in mind that they should request that the patients do reviews for the practice, and that they can even do it in the office on their smartphone.  Or the patient could be encouraged to check in on Facebook and post a comment.

Reputation Monitor is a great tool for showing every comment that is being posted about the practice, whether it’s in social media like Facebook or an online review on Yelp or Google.  And this is a terrific way to take advantage of that information.  Thanks, Anastasia!

Online Reviews Are Like Vampires

The dental world is abuzz with stories of online reviews of practices, with good reason. Like vampires, online reviews live forever.  And also like vampires, if you’re not careful they can suck your blood until you’re dry.  A recent study showed that 89% of online reviews are positive.  This is absolutely not true for dentist reviews.  Because people don’t really have a good way of assessing treatment plans or a dentist’s clinical skills, they go by impressions created by the cost, the practice environment, the staff attitude, and a host of intangibles, and when they are scared, unhappy, disappointed or think they are overcharged, now they go on Yelp, Google or someplace like that and spew about it.  Venomously.

And you can’t get that review down. Many have tried. And people who read them don’t come away with much factual information, but people give credence to reviews, because they’ve been reading reviews on Amazon, Trip Advisor, Rotten Tomatoes and FourSquare (and Facebook, too) for years, and they won’t make a decision without hearing from the masses.

It’s a scary environment, and it’s also very hard to track. There are literally hundreds of websites that have some information about you, most of it that you didn’t submit and don’t know anything about.  And it would take hours every week to search them out and respond or correct them.  Until now.

Here at my company we felt that this is such a critical area of marketing that we developed a tool for dentists to easily track that information, and then do something about it.  Last week we officially launched Reputation Monitor.  Here in one dashboard you can track everything from reviews, to social media, to competitors’ ratings online.

This program goes out and searches hundreds of websites and compiles the data for you, and then gives you an easy way to fix it, or at least comment on if it’s a review, or even bring positive reviews into your own Facebook page or website.

It will even send you alerts when a new review appears, by email or right to your cell phone if you’d like.

I think this is an essential tool for dentists or office managers to take control of their online reputation without spending a huge amount of time.  There are other products that claim to do some of this, but this is the most comprehensive and user-friendly product out there.  I’m really proud of it, and I hope you’ll try it and tell me what you think.

It does so much that it takes 15 minutes or so to fully demonstrate it.  If you’re interested, click to schedule a demo for Reputation Monitor.  In a later blog I’ll talk about my recommendations for dealing with negative reviews.

This is what the overview page looks like:

Back to Basics: Your Facebook Page

You either have a Facebook fan page at this point or you know you need one. At least I hope it’s one of the two. For those of you just starting one, here are some key points, and if you already have one, use this post to check to make sure that you are doing everything right.

If you’re still struggling with why you should be active on Facebook, let me say simply that this is the new digital word of mouth. This is how more and more people will find out about the experience of being in your practice from the patient’s perspective. The largest growing segment of Facebook users are 25-39 year olds. And they average more than 6 hours a week, with women spending twice as much time as men.  In other words, good potential patients.

So let’s start with the basics: a fan page and a personal profile are two different things on Facebook. A page is for your business. You would start here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Click on “Local Business or Place” and choose the “Health, Medical, Pharmacy” category. There is no “dentist” category, so you need to create a subcategory in the box below.  You can write “dentist” and even two other choices that will all show up.  The important thing to do is choose the main category as “Health, Medical, Pharmacy”, which won’t show up on your page, your subcategory will, but it will allow you to have recommendations from patients.  More on that later.

Fill out EVERYTHING! Your hours, your services, all of it. Especially at the bottom, be sure to put your website, an email address where you can be contacted and your practice phone number.

Your USERNAME is important. You only get two shots at this. Once you choose one, you can only change it one time, so choose wisely, and remember that you want it to be short enough to put on a business card. It doesn’t have to be your full practice name or your exact name, but it needs to describe you quickly and accurately, like “HappyToothChicago” or “FredsToothShop”. As close to your website name as possible is helpful as well. The sole purpose of this username is for you to be able to direct people easily to your page. The result will be that if someone puts in http://www.facebook.com/fredstoothshop in a browser it will go directly to your Facebook page.  Be sure to put your Facebook location on your business cards.

The next step is to set up permissions. You want to grant wide permissions, because you can always delete any post that someone puts up. You can also set up administrators for the page, besides the dentist, and give them a range of powers with the site. I recommend having at least two other people as administrators, just to be able to post and make changes for you.

Add photos. No photos is death on Facebook. (It’s not “Wordbook”.) You will need a good, panoramic shot, probably of your team, for the main photo, and a small logo shot for the lower left corner. Here are two samples of excellent pages: Spodak Dental has a great team shot here, and Romani Orthodontics is always showing some new contest she’s doing.

The four buttons that you see under the large photo can all be moved around and changed, except for photos.  If you are a Patient Activator client, we can add a module that will let visitors request an appointment, and it will also post reviews that Patient Activator gathers from your patients, and this will be a button that you can display.

Notice also that in Dr. Spodak’s page he is listed as a dentist (under his logo). This is his subcategory. He has also chosen to write his own section below that.  On Romani’s you see that her phone number and address are there. This is the standard Facebook Timeline display. When you click on her address it goes right to a map.  Facebook also shows whether you’re open at that moment or not.

But here’s a key difference: because she categorized her practice as “Health, Medical, Pharmacy”, Facebook creates a section where patients can write a recommendation. (This is also possible when they “check in” on Facebook on their mobile device.)

So your page is up and running. What’s next? Now you need to make it someone’s job in the office to post on a regular basis. NOT the dentist!  There is undoubtedly a Facebook geek in your office.  Make it part of her job.  This person should be checking Facebook every day, commenting whenever a patient posts, and adding posts, photos and occasional videos.

You also need to start asking patients to “like” your page.  You can do this by asking them personally, by emailing them, and by doing little contests or giveaways.  Notice that both these practices have thousands of likes.  They’ve been working at it.  And they have hundreds of posts by them and by patients.

This matters for two reasons.  First, viewers want to see new posts and lots of them.  That adds credibility.  Second, the search engines look at the posts.  Google, Yahoo and Bing are looking at your fan page (they can’t see Facebook personal profiles), and they are indexing them as one of the factors in determining the relevance of your website. In other words, better SEO.

Ask patients to post on your wall while they’re in the office. (A previous blog talks about the easiest way to get results.)  And remember, your own posts on Facebook should NOT BE CLINICAL.  Facebook is about showing the personal side of your practice and your team.  Post fun stuff: your Halloween pictures, favorite patient of the month, team member profiles, sponsorship events.  Be a part of your community, and show it.

So what should patients post?  Something simple, like “I’m here getting my teeth cleaned, and I always feel better afterwards. And I love everyone who works here!” To which your team member should respond with a commend like, “We love it when Sarah comes in—she always brightens our day!”  And remember,  happy patient has much more impact in a photo than in just a review.  And video testimonials are also nice.

Don’t forget about HIPAA. If you put up a photo of a patient, don’t talk about the clinical aspects of their smile. If the patient puts the post up themselves, they can of course say whatever they want.  And make a habit of getting releases from your patients to use their image in all media, including social media.

The new Facebook Timeline has some excellent features, including being able to “pin” posts that you like and keep them up at the top of your page.  Take advantage of them. Facebook now also makes it much easier to do special offers.  Try a few of those.  They don’t cost anything.

Welcome to Facebook and social media. There are levels and levels of customization that you can do, with help, to improve your look and response rate, but this will get you 80% of the way.

And I’ll say one more time, the primary purpose of your Facebook page is to personalize your practice, and make it possible for your own patients to refer you easily, and for people in general to get a feel for the experience of being a patient.  If someone tells you they can get you hundreds of new patients through Facebook, don’t believe them. It’s one part of your whole marketing plan, not all of it.

The Best Places for Patient Reviews

After a speaking engagement last week in Atlanta, a dentist asked me how I would rank the various places where patients can review his practice.  I thought my answer would be of general interest.

#1.  Google.  No surprise there.  80% of business search is done on or through Google or Google Maps.  And underneath the search results are the number of Google reviews that can be read. (These reviews have to be written by someone with a gmail address, by they way.)

I will again use my friend Dr. Craig Spodak’s results to show you.  See how he has 89 reviews?  Also note that someone can click next to that count and write their own review.  The more reviews you have, the better you will come up on Google in a natural (unpaid) search.

#2. Your Own Website. This is the next place people are likely to look for reviews (and Google will also be searching your site for them, which will boost your website’s SEO).  This means you have to have a website that is dynamic.  That word means something specific in the web world–that is, that you can add and change information yourself, rather than having to use your webmaster.  You need to be able to add photos, video, your blog (if you’re doing one) and especially patient reviews and testimonials.

This requires you to solicit those reviews from your patients, and then post them yourself. Or, much more simply, you could use a digital communication application like Patient Activator, that has as one of its features automatic patient surveys.  This application will email patients three days after their visit and ask them to respond to a short survey, and encourage them to write a review of the practice.  It is then posted to a microsite of your practice (more SEO for you), and you can also use the reviews you like on your own website, and also pop them onto your Facebook fan page.

#3. Yelp. The usage of this business review site varies widely city by city, but more and more people are posting reviews about everything, including dentists.  About 70% of US dentists have at least one review, I’ve been told.  You want to invite your patients to do this, ideally while in the office.  The best way is to get a few tablet computers for them to use, as I suggested in a previous blog.  One key point: Yelp gives preference to reviews that are written by frequent reviewers on their site.  This means that if a patient doesn’t normally review on Yelp, the review might not appear, or will not float to the top.  Yelp does not list your reviews chronologically, but by a combination of rating and some more mysterious elements.

#4. Facebook.  This is not technically a review site, but patients can now write “recommendations” on your Facebook fan page, and these are shown separately.  One glitch–if you have not properly categorized your dental practice there will not be a place for recommendations.  I also don’t feel like people use Facebook to see recommendations that much, but rather go to your fan page to see what people post about you, or what you and your team post about yourself.  You should use iPads to get patients do post here as well while they are in the office.

#5. Everywhere Else.  Angie’s List, LinkedIn, CitySearch, Dr. Oogle all have reviews.  Angie’s list is probably the next most important place, but reviews can only be read by subscribers, and only subscribers to the site can post reviews.  It narrows the audience considerably, and also the number of your patients who could review you there.  The site does a wide range of businesses, while Dr. Oogle is strictly health care, but the latter site gets significantly less traffic than all the others.

Reviews will matter more and more, so now is the time to focus on them, but make sure you are getting them in the most advantageous places.  And remember, you don’t need hundreds of reviews.  No one would read that many. But you need a steady stream of fresh ones. Even two a week will add up quickly, and help with your SEO, but I would aim for one a day, and you’ll be well on your way!

Hey–You Look Different! Facebook Timeline Changes Your Fan Page

On March 30, Facebook launched a new look for business fan pages called Timeline, which drastically alters the appearance of your page.  This is the new format for all fan pages, not optional. You will want to put some time into updating your page quickly, because otherwise it will not look right. There are several key points and advantages to know about this new layout.

1. Your cover photo is now panoramic, which means it’s a wide horizontal picture at the top of your page.  I recommend using a team photo, or combining two photos side by side.  You will have to combine the photos yourself before you upload the picture—this can’t be done within Facebook.   It can be a photo of the dentists with the logo of the practice on the side.  Do not put offers or promotions in the cover photo.  Facebook doesn’t like it.  Also, keep in mind this photo is public–anyone can see it who searches for your page.  It will create a much nicer look for your page, so take some time with it, and change it every once in a while to keep it fresh.

2. Where before all your posts showed up chronologically, now you can “pin” a recent post and it stays up at the top of your page for as long as you want instead of getting replaced by the next post.  Which means if you have a special post or photo, or a promotion, you can keep it well in view.  Take advantage of this feature–it’s an excellent improvement.

3. Your practice address appears right under your thumbnail photo, and people can click on it and get a map.  It also displays your phone number.

4.  Just below your address, it now shows if your practice is open at that moment. Facebook looks at your office hours to determine this, so make sure your hours are accurate and up to date in your basic information.

5. The next valuable change is that there is now a section that appears called “Recommendations.”  This is written by people who have visited your fan page or “checked in” to your practice on their phone and then written a review.  This is different from a wall post.  If for some reason your recommendations do not appear, it means you have not set up your fan page as a “local business & place” in your basic information.  Change that, because you want people to see what patients have to say about your practice.  Also, underneath each recommendation is when it was posted, so you want to keep these fresh as well.  (see my previous blog about using iPads in your office to get a steady flow of reviews).  You don’t want recommendations sitting there that say “four months ago” or “nine months ago”.   People want to see current reviews.

6. Under the cover photo you will see buttons for your applications.  All of these can be selected by you except “photos”, which is permanently there.  You should have an app that allows people to request an appointment, and another to show your latest promotions. (The one you see there is a feature of our Patient Activator service.) Also, you can change the name of any of these apps (except the Facebook basic ones), and you can move their positions so that the four that appear are the ones that you want.  The Patient Activator application for your Facebook page automatically posts reviews, and you can add promotions, and it also lets people request an appointment and you’ll get an immediate email.  This should be a feature of any digital communication application that you are using.

Lastly, keep in mind that the most important part of your page will always be the wall posts, no matter what else Facebook changes.  You will still want fresh new posts and comments all the time, posted by you and by your patients.  Even when Facebook does its next unexpected change, which is inevitable, that will remain the core value of your fan page.  Remember, your primary Facebook strategy is to personalize your practice and give your patients a forum to recommend you.

%d bloggers like this: