Online reviews are very important for two main reasons:
- Branding – It will come as no surprise that a five star review will make your brand seem reputable, reliable and of good quality/value. This is invaluable especially for start-up businesses which I will touch on later in this blog.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – There is evidence to show that reviews can help with your local business listing results. (Screen Snippet below).
There are numerous ranking factors for the business listing to focus on and reviews make up a big part of that:
In general, it helps with your overall marketing, both with your rankings and making your site more prominent in the search. After all, which one of the listings stands out the most in the snippet above?
Small Business Reviews
Companies that need to focus on obtaining online reviews the most, are small businesses. The most valuable platforms to focus on are Google My Business, Yelp (Used by Apple Maps and also pulled into your Google Business Listing), FaceBook (For your social media presence and also pulled onto your Google Business listing) and for our own clients, NHS Choices and Most Recommended Dentist (Pulled into your Google Business Listing).
Positive reviews have a massive impact on consumers. In 2017 a survey showed that 97% of consumers use look at online sites for information on local businesses with 85% trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/). This means that reviews for small businesses give them a chance to level the playing field against their bigger rivals.
Why do reviews work so well?
Simply enough, consumers want to check that what their buying matches what I mentioned earlier in one of the two points of review importance:
“a five star review will make your brand seem reputable, reliable and of good quality/value.”
So lets throw some statistics out there to prove this:
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before choosing to use a business.
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more at businesses with positive reviews.
- A one-star bump in ratings can add 5-9% of revue to small business’ revenues.
- A bad review can lead to 22% of respondent not spending money on a business. Three bad reviews can jump that number to 59%.
- Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trust a local business.
Responding to reviews
Responding to reviews is important too, 30% of consumers find this very important when judging a local business. Responding to reviews allows you to build a relationship with that client making it more likely for them to return. It is also very important for negative reviews.
To make your business look better you should thank those that have left a positive review. For those that have left a negative review, you should apologise that they feel that way and show in your response that you’re willing to work with them to resolve the matter. I know that apologising even if it isn’t your fault is difficult, it can also seem that you’re admitting you’re in the wrong; it’s useful to remember that you don’t have to apologise for their specific complaint, but you should apologise for them feeling that way as a result of your service.
Putting this into dental terms, you may have a patient that Is complaining that you weren’t open for lunch. This isn’t any fault of your own, it’s your right to have lunch! So a good response would to be apologise that that this has upset them and that you’re happy to arrange a call to get them booked in for their treatment. This shows professionality, politeness and a willingness to help resolve patients issues. Most people reading these reviews would see somebody making an unreasonable complaint as looking bad on their part rather than the dental practice’s part, so don’t fret.
What to do when you have got a fake review?
Fake reviews are a problem that many of us face! You may have a petty competitor, or a personal issue with somebody, or maybe even just unlucky that you’ve been targeted by some weird person that likes leaving bad reviews (a very strange but true hobby!). Although in most cases, especially for dental practices, you probably have a similar name as another dental practice and their patient is getting confused with your practice! Unfortunately, this is something we have seen too much of.
Seriously, it even happens to us:
It may go without saying… we’re not a dental practice, but still, thanks for the extra five stars!
There are three simple steps to run through when a fake review crops up.
- Reply to the review, as a dental practice you can bring up their file, if you don’t have a file, chances are you’ve never treated them. Explain this in your response and kindly ask them to remove the review so people can see a more realistic representation of your practice. Chances are, they won’t remove the review, or read your response but at least other people may see it!
- Once replied, flag this review to the review organisation. More often than not, the organisation will be apprehensive about removing the review, if it’s a negative review then they get wary on whether you’re complaining just to remove it, or whether it is genuinely fake.
- Get as many positive reviews to ‘flood it out’. One bad review out of fifty great reviews won’t matter much, especially if you’ve replied showing that they aren’t a patient of yours.
How to get reviews
Ideally, Google wants your patients to leave a review on their own accord, in reality most of your patients probably won’t, and it’s too valuable to ignore! Some practices offer incentives for their patients, like a discount on their next treatment, other practices simply just ask each patient to leave one.
Finding ways to optimise obtaining reviews can be off in the long run. We ourselves are looking at ways to optimise this review journey for our client’s patients so get in touch if you’re interested!