Online testimonials and reviews have exploded onto the digital marketing scene as a top lead generator. About 72% of patients say they’ve read online reviews as a first step when seeking a new doctor.1 And 69% of patients say that positive reviews are of the utmost importance when finding a new healthcare provider, including dentists.2
Forty-three percent of patients say they would be willing to go to an out-of-network provider just because they have good reviews.1
Your marketing strategy should take into consideration the important role online reviews play in your prospective patients’ decision-making process. Take control of your practice’s online reviews by regularly responding to comments and encouraging your patients to share their positive experiences.
How to Get Patient Testimonials
Posting a few glowing reviews from family and friends just isn’t enough anymore. When it comes to online reviews, your goal should be to collect as many as possible. Your credibility goes up just a little more with each testimonial you post. Most patients don’t believe a practice’s rating until they have at least 40 reviews.3
As the old saying goes, ask and you shall receive, right? Online testimonials are no different. Sure, you’ll have some patients who are so excited (or disappointed) by their experience that they’ll write a review without being prompted. But there are many others who’ll need a little prodding.
Verbally asking a patient for a review can be uncomfortable. Luckily, you don’t have to. You can easily solicit reviews via follow-up email and texts, door signage, comments cards, or even by giving a small gift with a review reminder card at the end of a visit.
Studies have shown 68% of consumers will write an online review when asked.3 How you make the ask doesn’t really matter. But you do have to ask!
Encourage Reviews on Business Listing Sites
When you ask for reviews, there are a few tried-and-true places where people will look for information about your practice. Google is by far the most popular as 57% of consumers turn to that website when looking for testimonials about businesses.4
Although you aren’t allowed to ask patients for a review on Yelp, both Yelp and Facebook are the other top places searchers go to find dental reviews.5 About 20% of patients will look at one (or both) of these websites before deciding on a new dental practice.4 Other review sites, while less visited than the top three, still see traffic from those looking to find dental care, so there’s no harm in asking for reviews on dental websites like DentistDirectory.com as well.6
How to Share Patient Reviews
Once you have plenty of testimonials, start sharing! But before you add a glowing review to your Facebook page, you need to get permission to use the testimonial.
Get Permission First
Patient consent is part of sharing online reviews. Without permission to use a testimonial, you not only violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but you could also face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. The importance of patient approval cannot be overstated!
When you have a written (in letter or email form) or online (posted to a public review site) testimonial you want to share, start by ensuring the review doesn’t include any compromising medical information. Then seek written approval from the patient before using the testimonial. The best method is to have them sign a patient testimonial release form. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult with an attorney.
Part of the consent process is determining what patients are comfortable with. Ask if patients mind you using their name or image when you share their testimonials on social media. Ideally, they’ll approve both, because the more personal you make the review, the more trusted it will be by those reading it. But some patients will prefer to be anonymous, and that’s alright. Anonymous reviews, when approved by the patient, are still worth sharing.
Provide a written copy of HIPAA policies to any patient whose testimonial you’re using. You should have an employee policy that discloses where you’ll post reviews, how you obtain permission to use testimonials, and a copy of the consent form.
Create a Graphic to Share Patient Reviews
When patients are willing to share their story but not their identity, use an eye-catching graphic with their quote instead of their profile photo. You might also want to add a photo of your practice or some other visual to make it more appealing.
Create a Video to Promote Patient Testimonials
Videos are by far the most powerful way to share reviews on social media. If you can get a patient to sit down and do an interview-style testimonial, you’re gaining great content! Research shows that 72% of people prefer watching videos rather than reading to learn about a product or service.7
When you create and share a video highlighting a patient’s positive experience, you help other patients feel more comfortable with your practice while educating them about the vital work you do.
Positive patient reviews are a great way to promote your practice. Need help getting started? Contact Dreamscape today at 888.307.7304 to learn more about using testimonials to successfully market your dental office.