One of the many steps to selling your practice is making it look squeaking clean and polished; and this doesn’t only apply to your waiting area! Your online image needs as much help as the brick and mortar one– this brings us to online reviews.
Of the online review sites, Yelp is still one of the first that potential patients will visit. And it can also be a hard system to navigate for business owners, like dentists, seeking those great ratings. To help you out, Green Sail has compiled some of our tips for managing your Yelp image:
#1: Steer clear of the crowd
While it may seem tempting, avoid sending a teeming swarm of happy patients to Yelp the minute you notice that your rating is less than desirable. Unfortunately, Yelp will see the sudden upswing in reviews and immediately distrust this change.
No reviews at all in 2010? Only two in 2012? Then out of the clear blue– 50 within the span of three weeks in 2014! This sets alarm bells clanging over at Yelp headquarters. The site may believe that this sudden wealth of positive feedback is fake— done by friends or the company itself, and not true consumers. If Yelp doesn’t trust a review, it won’t show it.
#2: Not all reviewers are created equal
When you do send your patients to Yelp, be selective. You appear much more legitimate to Yelp’s filtering system if your reviewers are already active Yelpers themselves. People setting up new Yelp accounts to leave you a glowing review look suspect. If your patient has never written a Yelp review, you may want to consider directing them to another of the many review sites out there (for instance, Google Plus offers a review option).
#3: Don’t buy the hype
There is a rumor out there that buying advertising on Yelp will enable you to remove any negative reviews you have received; that rumor is not true! Yelp’s filter is to protect its audience, so they are not going to change that filter (by removing negative reviews, or adding positive ones they don’t trust) in exchange for money.
#4: Remember the glass is half full
If you do have negative reviews on Yelp, don’t despair– believe it or not, this is actually an opportunity. View negative reviews as a chance to “make it right” by addressing the reviewer’s complaint in a kind, non confrontational manner. Unassuming explanations, apologies, and patient-education opportunities all show potential or current patients that you are a professional in your field, able to listen and dialogue with others even when the going gets a little rough. Your reply could even be a teaching moment, demonstrating your ability to present medical information in an accessible way.
Whatever you do, never reply angrily or defensively to a negative review– this is the surest way to scare away patients. People understand that patients can be a hard crew to deal with day in and day out, but people will never sympathize with an angry doc. They will simply look elsewhere.
#5: Direct the traffic
Finally, direct potential customers to where you want them to go– your website. Claim your Yelp profile, and then link your website to it. That way, potential patients have an opportunity to look at your story as you tell it– with patient testimonials that you’ve chosen.
There’s always the benefit of professional help– and that’s where Green Sail Transitions comes in. Helping you to polish your online presence is just one way that we’re able to assist you in transitioning your practice. Call us today to learn more about what we can do for you!