Social media and the Internet play a critical role for dentists who are looking to grow their practice and attract new patients. More people trust Google results than recommendations from family or friends.
A recent study by Dental Economics uncovered some interesting patient behavior as they searched for a new dentist. The first place most of them went was Facebook. After that, they conducted Google searches for “dentist near…,” “cosmetic dentistry…,” “dentist,” “dentist near me”…
But there’s something as important as being found online. That is having a powerful, positive online reputation when your dental practice is discovered. According to a recent Online Dentist Reviews Survey, conducted by DentaVox, 86% of patients checked online reviews before choosing their dentist and after reading reviews with positive feedback 60% visit the dental practice.
That’s because more than 75% of adults experience dental phobias and anxiety. Many have had bad experiences in the past, and are looking specifically for dentists with great reviews.
Amassing more positive reviews will increase your dental practice’s chances of being found in local internet searches. It will also improve reactions and clicks when those results load. That means more new patients, more word-of-mouth advertising, more referrals… for a growing practice.
A number of factors are changing the ways dentists attract new customers, and trust is at the core of it all. Post-pandemic, new patients want to know that their dental practice is taking necessary health and safety precautions and putting patient safety first. They want to know that their pain will be effectively managed, and they need to feel confident that their insurance will cover all or most of the charges.
According to Google, 71% of consumers conducted an internet search before scheduling an appointment with a dentist. And when asked how they evaluated potential providers, 94% said they used online reviews.
Dentist rating and review sites are broadly protected from being held liable for content posted by their users. This protection is outlined in Section 230 of the CDA (Communications Decency Act of 1996).
The protection provided to sites like Dentistry.com, 1-800-Dentist, Healthgrades, CareDash, Zocdoc, RateMDs and Vitals means they are not required to determine whether patient reviews are truthful or trustworthy — and (absent a court order) they’re not required to remove them.
There aren’t a lot of options available to dentists who receive defamatory or false reviews from unbalanced or outraged patients, angry former employees, envious competitors, etc. But in some cases, there may be options to have the review removed.
When an anonymous reviewer writes a review that contains lies or false information, a John-Doe case may be brought for the purpose of unmasking the reviewer. Only then can a defamation suit be filed against that individual.
If your dental practice wins against the defendant, then a court order will be issued for the removal of the review.
The process takes lots of time and money to complete. For this reason, it’s generally more effective to pursue more positive online reviews than to seek and destroy negative ones.
An online reputation management firm like Reputation Rhino can promote positive reviews, make negative reviews less visible to the public and mitigate damage from negative reviews.
If a review violates a copyright (yours or another’s), you can demand it be removed under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
The owner of the copyrighted material should submit a takedown notice to the review site, hosting company or ISP.
At Zocdoc, people can find dentists, book appointments online and then write reviews about their experiences. Zocdoc users total more than six million and can often see a professional within 24 hours of booking.
There are two types of reviews on Zocdoc: Patient Reviews and Partner Reviews. After a dental visit is completed, patients will be asked to rate their experience. But, they don’t have to book an appointment through the site to write a review.
Users can look up any provider on Zocdoc and share their past experiences. Partner Reviews are solicited by patient satisfaction survey providers.
Zocdoc has a higher percentage of positive reviews than other sites because the site actively pursues those reviews. This matters because disgruntled patients are more likely to log a negative review than satisfied customers are to write a positive one. But, when patients are asked to write reviews, they often do.
If Zocdoc receives a review containing any of the following, it will not be posted:
Another way that Zocdoc is unique is that it allows dentists to delete their profiles. And if you do so, all your reviews will be deleted with it.
Wellness.com isn’t just a review site. It’s also a healthcare provider directory and content library. That means you can publish dentistry articles on Wellness.com, be reviewed there, be seen by three million visitors every month…all of which will positively impact your online reputation.
Reviews are posted with comments and on a scale from one to five stars.
89% of RateMDs’ traffic comes from organic search, meaning that this review site is optimized and actively answering consumers’ searches. It also means that if your dental practice is registered on RateMDs, it’s likely to be found with internet search.
With more than 2 million reviews and a database containing more than 1.7 million healthcare providers, RateMDs is a great place for you to build your dental practice’s online reputation.
The reviews on this healthcare provider review site are based on a five-star rating system with comments. Categories for ratings include things like Staff, Punctuality, Helpfulness and Knowledge.
If a review is removed by RateMDs, it’s generally because the information can be proven to be…
In order to respond to patient reviews on RateMDs, you must claim your business on the site. If you spot a review that contains defamatory or libelous content, you can flag the review and the site’s moderators will evaluate the review.
This healthcare provider review site uses a five-star (with comments) rating system, describes the dental practice’s services, tells visitors if the dentist is accepting new patients and provides contact information.
Healthgrades will not publish reviews containing any of the following:
At the bottom of each review, you’ll find a link to flag it for violation of Healthgrade’s policies.
This review site has the largest database of healthcare providers (including dentists) on the web. Information listed about dentists includes languages spoken, awards received, areas of expertise, locations, insurance plans accepted, education, specialties and board certifications.
Ratings are logged with a five-star review system and comments.
With almost 13 million visits per month on Vitals, your dental practice should claim its stake there.
Before a patient can write a review, they must verify that they are in fact a patient of your practice and that they’ve received dental treatment.
Vitals reserves the right to remove reviews that are…
If you discover a review that is any of the above on Vitals.com, you may flag it for review by the moderators. There used to be an option for dentists to remove two reviews from their profiles, but that option is no longer available.
A study including 400 random dental patients, 95% of whom were social media users, found that a dentist’s presence on social media was important to making them feel informed. When dentists are not found on social media, that detracts from social proof—which is crucial to the development of trust that dentists rely upon.
Dental practices are finding that social media helps them to:
All of that contributes to relationship-building and creating an online reputation that will work to grow your dental practice.
Looking for help with social media management? The social media experts at Reputation Rhino understand what to post, when to post, whom to target… and why it is important to create a branded voice for your dental practice.
Not only does Facebook have 2.8 billion users who are active monthly, 1.84 billion of them are on there every day.
Potential patients can use Facebook’s search engine to find your dental practice. You can place Facebook ads to reach people who may need your services now or in the future. And you can build a reputation there with reviews, comments, engagement and so much more.
Reputation Rhino will master the Facebook game for your dental practice. Simply contact us for more information.
When your dental practice has a superb online reputation, it will make a great first impression with future patients and employees. You will build trust — which is crucial in the healthcare profession. You will book more appointments, and have more opportunities to impress and create word-of-mouth advertising.
Reputation Rhino can:
Local review ratings get the most clicks in local searches, and those reviews are so important that consumers read an average of ten reviews before choosing a local business.
That’s impressive, until you consider that dentists require even more trust currency than the average business. Patients want to know that safety precautions are in place, that pain will be managed and that their insurance will pay. This makes your dental practice’s online reputation a crucial part of your business.
Dentist review sites like Zocdoc, Wellness.com, Healthgrades, Vitals, Dentistry.com, 1-800-Dentist and RateMDs contain millions of reviews. If you have dental insurance, you may also want to check your member pages online for reviews.
A simple Google search will result in reviews, licensing information and records of litigation or malpractice. You will also find reviews on general review sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, Superpages, ConsumerAffairs, merchantcircle and more.
All online dentist reviews are not created equally. Some review sites will only publish reviews that deal with the dentist’s professionalism, treatments, punctuality, professionalism, etc. Others will allow reviews that are more subjective, and that have little to do with experiences that future patients will have.
To look for complaints made against a dentist, check online with your state’s dental board. Some have dispute resolution platforms with peer review.
A check with the Better Business Bureau may reveal grievances. Each state also has a unique dental license reporting system, and a Google search will point you toward the departments for the state the dentist is (or has been) practicing in. While searching, use the terms “complaint,” “suspension” and “malpractice.”
There are a number of online reputation management tools available to anyone who wishes to be alerted of online reviews, mentions and content published about them on the internet. Those reviews should be responded to, resolved if necessary—and more positive ones should be sought out.
Content publishing and SEO will also work toward improving a dentist’s online reputation. Or, you can hire a top-rated reputation management company like Reputation Rhino to turbocharge your online reputation.