Before the explosion of the internet, patient referrals and reviews were mostly face-to-face recommendations between a patient and a non-patient. These recommendations could occur outside a neighbor’s home, at a friend’s dance recital, or at the grocery store. Today, patient referrals take place on Facebook recommendations, Google Reviews, text messages, and referral programs. A new patient’s first point of contact with your business is shifting to online platforms such as social media presence and websites. Below are a few ways you can now get referrals in today’s world.
1. Facebook Recommendations
With Facebook Recommendations, people in your area can ask their friends via a “recommendation” for suggestions in their town (see above). Encourage your patients to tag your office in the comments below. While they are at their appointment, let them know that they can receive a reward for tagging your office in a recommendation. Patient recommendations can build awareness to your practice on social media. To find what patients are saying via recommendations, type in the Facebook search bar “your town” and “recommendations’. For example, “Dallas” “Recommendations”. If other dental offices in your area are getting numerous patient reviews or recommendations, then you might want to develop an incentive program for your patients to add recommendations on Facebook. This is the best way to compete or beat your competitors in your area.
2. Google Reviews
Secondly, the norm has changed. Referrals used to come from friends and family. They would discuss their experience and recommend a business. Now, patients do research before choosing a business. They look at previous patient’s experiences and then make a decision. In fact, most new patients read multiple Google Reviews before contacting a dental office. You can use Google MyBusiness to manage Google Reviews. There, you can read what your patients are saying and comment positively, thanking the reviewer for their kind words. Remember to incorporate your office’s own personality and connect with current and future patients. Additionally, rather than deleting negative comments, respond in a professional manner and guide them off the platform to address their concern. Google Reviews are an effective way to build office credibility. Read more about our tips for Google MyBusiness.
3. Text Messaging
Another way to increase reviews is through a third party text message system, such as Weave. Weave is an amazing program that will help your office develop a deeper relationship with patients. After an appointment, patients will receive a text message asking them to review the office online. It also helps filter out negative reviews by directing the reviewer to message the office with their concern rather than post it online. With this strategy, they are bound to multiply.
4. Referral Program
Lastly, many dental offices offer loyalty programs. This is similar to the “Refer-a-friend” arrangement. For example, a patient can receive free whitening if they refer five new patients. Of course, confirm that the new patients have been scheduled and seen before giving loyalty rewards. Keep in mind, patients that love your practice will naturally want to share it with their friends. Reward them for it!
With the expansion of the internet and the new technology for viewing and writing reviews, it is vital that you and your office staff stay up-to-date with new trends and patient influences. Learn more about new patient trends and strategies at Lucent Spot Marketing.
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