Customer Service is the New Marketing & Reputation Management

Interesting read in Yelp’s newsletter today. The email stated: “In today’s social media world, it has become increasingly true that customer service is the new marketing. Now when your customers frequent your business, they not only talk to their friends and family, but also come to Yelp to describe their experience.”

While it’s true that Yelp has had its ups and downs with dentists – remember the dentist who sued a patient who would not remove a false testimonial? – online ratings, reviews, or testimonials are becoming more and more common. We know that word of mouth is the most effective and affordable form of advertising. We also know that 70% of Internet users heed customer reviews posted online. But then there’s the issue of negative reviews. If you can’t remove them (whether or not they’re true), you’ll get a bad reputation. Some companies offer “reputation management,” which may include the shady practice of posting false reviews to outweigh the negative reviews.

If you’re the object of negative reviews, whether false or true, what can you do to ethically change the tide? How can you protect your reputation online?

How to Get Good Reviews

Be better. This may seem unrelated, but stick with me a minute. From the way your phone is answered to how patients feel in the lobby to what they experience in the operatory to how they’re treated at checkout – address your customer service. Make people love you!  If customer service is the new marketing, kick your customer service up a notch. Give people every reason to tell others about your office and no reason at all to spread bad juju.

Ask for reviews. As the doctor, discuss online reviews with your tenured patients during appointments, and tell them you’d appreciate their help in this area. Everyone loves to help a brother (or sister) out.

Make it simple, silly. Yes, this acronym is MISS, and we’re looking for a hit here, but whatever. The point is, make it simple for happy patients to post reviews on Google Places, Yelp, HealthGrades, and other online review sites. Set up a computer with tabs to these sites in your check-out area, and ask patients to post a review before they go. Put up signs in your lobby and treatment rooms (even in the restroom) reminding patients to review your practice online. What you really need are online reviews. But remember, people who won’t actually go online to post a review may write one. Keep a form handy so that patients can simply write a testimonial before they leave your office.

Post reviews on your own sites. Whether you have one dental website or an entire list of blogs and microsites, be sure to post testimonials on them. Blogs, in particular, are indexed quickly, so if you have written or printed testimonials not posted elsewhere, put them on your blog, one a week, as long as your supply endures. Do not post comments that are already online. Duplicate copy is bad for SEO.

Send a newsletter or email blasts. In your online correspondence, include a hyperlink to your profile for the major online review sites. Again, ask for reviews. You never know the answer unless you ask. C’mon. You learned that in kindergarten!

Respond. Whether someone writes a good or bad review about you, respond. On Google Places, the place owner can respond to each review. I would recommend, instead of responding only to negativity, respond to positivity, as well.

Need help? Call Modern Dental Practice Marketing today, and we’ll set you up with a blog, microsites, a great website, and social networking. We’ll also guide you through the ethical way to manage your online reputation. Call Jill at 972-781-8861 today.