How Dentists Get Good Google Reviews

Online reviews matter for a dental practice. Today I’m going to address two questions: 1) How do you get good reviews when you own your practice? 2) How do you evaluate the reviews of a practice you’re thinking of buying?

I got into this in the third episode of this season of my podcast, Practice Purchased. The episode is only nine minutes (only six at 1.5x speed!) and gives you a little more detail than I will here. Give it a listen.

Let’s tackle the second question first. The reality is, most practices simply won’t have many reviews at all. Let me be clear: this is not a red flag. This just means that this practice hasn’t focused on reviews, that’s all. They should, sure. And you can!

In fact, buying a practice that’s successful despite the lack of online reviews is an opportunity, since you have something to improve on. Building a strong online presence, with lots of positive reviews, will bring more people through the door, strengthening your practice’s health.

That brings me back to the first question: When you own the practice, how can you get dozens, even hundreds, of positive reviews? Here are five tips:

1 – This is something you can focus on on day 1. 

I tell my clients, when they close on a practice, NOT to make any huge changes for a while. Don’t fire anybody or make big changes to the schedule. This, however, is one thing you can do right away to improve your business. Just ask your staff to focus on asking for reviews. That’s it!

2 – Put up a few QR codes to make it easy for patients to leave reviews.

You can easily create custom QR codes online, and they’ll send people to a link. In this case, it’s a link to leave a review. Don’t blanket the office with them, but a few in strategic locations will help. Put one at the front desk, maybe one outside the operatories. 

3 – Use a 3rd party to help.

You can send people directly to Google or Yelp for reviews, but then you have absolutely no control over the quality or positivity of those reviews. Swell, for example, is one that many of my clients end up using. (There are plenty of other good ones.) You’ve got dentistry to worry about, so it may be worth the fee to outsource some of the nuts and bolts of getting and sorting these reviews.

4 – Respond to your reviews. 

Set up alerts so you get notified when a review comes in and take a few minutes to leave a thoughtful response. Sincerely thank people for their positive reviews.

Also important: respond thoughtfully to negative reviews. People will be watching to see what you say when someone has a bad experience. Are you empathetic and do you try to resolve the situation? Respond well and even negative reviews can have a positive impact.

5 – Use compliments as a trigger.

When a patient gives a compliment in the office, don’t be afraid to ask if they’d write that in a review. Maybe it’s directly to you, or maybe you overhear someone complimenting a hygienist or other staff member. But if someone feels good enough to say it out loud, they’re probably willing to type it out as well. 

This system works. As an illustration, I saw my barber implement most of these tips in his brand new business, and he had over 100 positive reviews within 3 months. He got so much traffic, he had to stop accepting new clients after just 6 months.

If you’re going to own a dental practice, will you have to become an expert business owner? Nope! But if you do this simple thing and focus on reviews, it can help kickstart your career and keep the patients coming through the door.