Dentist Review Websites: Get Used to It

Dentist Review Websites: Get Used to ItLast week we told you about the latest controversy on the consumer review website Yelp: a California dentist who’s suing because of a negative review.

It’s easy to see why the dentist was frustrated by an unflattering and inaccurate review. But she’s received lots of bad press from free-speech advocates for her lawsuit.

It doesn’t seem like legal action is necessarily the best way to deal with a bad review.

There’s no turning back the clock. A pre-Internet mentality is no longer relevant. Like it or not, customer review websites do exist, and they’re only getting more popular.

“Litigants have this pre-Internet mentality where they think they can control messages about themselves in public,” Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently told the SF Weekly. “But the online community will see this as a slap in the face and retaliate. … It blows up in [the litigant’s] face.”

Managing your reputation online

Even if you’ve never submitted your business information anywhere, chances are excellent that you’re already listed with one or more of these websites. You can find out what patients are saying about you by searching for your name and geographic area on any of these sites.

Most of these sites allow business owners a degree of control over their listings. A good listing should include your name, dental practice name, address, phone number, hours, and treatment specialties. You should correct any inaccurate information.

Uploading photos to your listing is also a great way to give prospective patients more insight into your practice. A photo of the lobby offers a sense of ambiance, while a storefront photo can make it easier for new patients to find your location.

What do you do about a bad review?

Well, you can sue, but that won’t necessarily solve the problem, and you could end up getting a lot of bad press.

Or you can decide not to worry about it. This is certainly the easiest thing to do! Don’t waste too much brainpower on one unhappy customer who wants to complain publicly.

But some business owners just can’t ignore the one-star reviews. either because they’re personally upset or because they feel it will hurt their business.

Reaching out to the owners of the review website will not always be effective. Yelp, for example, will not remove a review unless it violates their terms of service. Moreover, the site does not permit business owners to directly respond to any reviews, comments or allegations.

The most effective strategy for removing a bad review seems to be to convince the reviewer to change their rating. While this is great for unhappy customers, it’s frustrating to business owners.

“The power for [Yelpers] to put a bad remark can crush us,” said a San Francisco florist in an interview with the SF Weekly. “So we have to do 10 steps above everything. We literally overdo customer service.”

Dental Marketing: How To Set Up Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice

Dental Marketing: How To Set Up Google Alerts for Your Dental PracticeUsing Google Alerts is a quick and easy way to monitor your name and dental practice name online.

Google Alerts is an online content detection and notification service that automatically notifies users of this service when new content appears online that matches a specific set of search terms.

With Google Local using review links from third party sources and Yelp merging their data with Bing, it’s more important than ever for dentists to keep track of what is being said about them or their dental practice online.

How to set up a Google Alert for your dental practice:

1.  Go to www.google.com/alerts

Set Up Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice

2. In the Search Query line enter your dental practice name.

You should set up an individual alert for your practice name and your personal name.  You will see a preview to the right of what Google finds under this alert.

Don’t forget to set up a Google alert for your dental website URL too.

Be sure to put your dental practice name and your full name in quotes.

Example:  “The Wealthy Dentist”  This will give you alerts when the words appear together.  You don’t want to receive a bunch of alerts for each word individually.

How To Set Up Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: Google alerts search query

3.  In the Result Type choose “Everything.”

Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: Result type

4.  Next choose how often you want to receive an alert in your email.  

Choosing “As-it-happens” is a good result if you are concerned about a negative review.

But …  if you have a common first and last name combination, you might want the alerts to happen “Once a week” so your email isn’t bombarded with a bunch of alerts everyday as you tweak your alerts based on what Google sends to your email.

Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: How often

5.  Set up how many alerts you want to see.

Start with “All results” and if this returns too many unrelated results, then come back and change it to “Only the best results.”

Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: How many

6. Enter the email address where you want to receive the alert.

Then click on “CREATE ALERT.”

Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: Email address and create alert

7. Confirm your alert set up by going to your email and look for to confirmation request from Google.

Google Alerts for Your Dental Practice: Google alert created

You will want to repeat these steps for your name and your dental website URL addresses both with the www. and without the www.

If you are using an email platform like Microsoft Outlook, direct the Google Alerts to a separate folder. Create an Outlook mail alert for a day and time for you to look through all of your alerts and address anything being said about you or your dental practice online.

You may want to also set up an alert for the practice competition in your geographic area to watch for specials or dental treatment discount offers in case you want to match a promotion for your dental patients.

Now that you have the basics on setting up your Google Alerts for your dental practice, you will now be able to monitor your reputation online.

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