It’s critical to understand how important your practice value is and what factors can impact it whether you’re considering selling your dental practice, purchasing one, or looking for opportunities to help it grow. In fact, we’ve found that sellers who work alone will typically undervalue or overvalue their practice. So when it comes time for sellers to determine practice value, they are unaware of what goes into the process. (If this is you, make sure to hire a dental broker early on).
When analyzing your practice’s value, there is a huge weight on factors such as location, equipment, cash flow, and patient base. In this article, we’re going to discuss a few different ways that online reviews can play a role in growing your patient base so that you can improve your practice value.
Why are reviews important for your dental practice?
Online reviews play a major role in review marketing, also known as “word-of-mouth”, which is the hardest form of free advertising to obtain. It’s when consumers write product reviews or comparisons online, or tell their friends and family about your product or service. Overtime, it has the potential to vastly spike your sales and grow your practice. This is especially important for dental practices because most people look at online reviews, ask friends and family, or look for the top rated dental practices from their insurance provider. Your overall goal should be to create a great experience for your patients and a trusted environment where potential customers believe their well-being is in good hands.
How to get good reviews for your dental practice
First, have your patients leave online reviews across different channels (Google, Yelp, and Facebook are three well-known channels people tend to search). The second way is to ask your patients to post about their positive experience with the care they received on their personal page and tag your practice. Third, interact with your patients and ask them to tag themselves in photos at your practice and post it on social media. Then, have them share your practice’s social posts.
Online patient reviews are crucial for growing your practice
When patients post on the web for all the world to see, their satisfaction with your care is in their hands. Check out these stats from Nielsen: 82 percent of consumers go to review sites because they want to buy a service or product. It’s one of the biggest factors used by new patients to judge a dental practice, and if you don’t have good reviews then you will lose patients to other practices in the area. In fact, some people admit to only looking at your reviews without looking at your website, to form their opinion. If your practice does not ask for reviews, it is extremely common to only receive one when a patient has a negative experience.
Here are some tips on how to get online reviews:
Tell your team to listen for positive feedback from patients - If a patient expresses positive feedback during or after an appointment, have your staff ask the patient if they can turn their positive experience into a review. If your patient has a phone, which they probably do in today’s digital world, have them post right then and there if possible. Make it less work for them by providing them with a link to review your practice. Google is a top platform for reviews as it helps increase your visibility and search ranking, which improves your chance of being found on Google Maps, where people go to find a practice that is close to them.
Continue to have them ask for positive feedback from patients - Reviews that are months old can be considered irrelevant. For example, if you have 12 positive reviews on Google from 8 years ago and 1 negative post now, from a potential patient’s point of view, your practice could have drastically changed in that time period. It can be hard to trust. Ensure that your team continually asks for reviews to assure people that your practice is consistently outstanding. The more your team asks, the more they feel comfortable (and the more reviews you get!). Remember, if a patient doesn’t want to leave a review, make sure that your team only asks once, you don’t want to seem pushy or make them feel uncomfortable.
Set mini goals to help you reach your overall goals - It can be difficult to know where to start, but by setting mini goals it can seem less overwhelming for your staff and help you reach your overarching goal. Have your team set a goal to achieve two to three reviews a day and by the end of the week you could have ten to fifteen positive reviews! Even starting at one review a day is better than nothing at all.
How do online reviews improve your dental practice value?
Reviews act as referrals, and referrals increase your dental patient’s lifetime value.
When you think about your dental patient’s lifetime value, you never want to spend more on acquiring them than the lifetime profit they will deliver to your practice. With review marketing, you are marketing your business for free. For example, if it takes zero dollars to acquire one patient and they post online reviews and refer a couple friends, this could lead to three new patients.
Average Annual Value of 1 Patient ($600) x Lifelong Relationship (10 Years) + Client Referral Value of 3 New Patients at $6,000 each ($18,000) = A Lifetime Value of $24,000
These numbers aren’t exact, but hopefully you see the value of implementing review marketing for your practice.
By leveraging review marketing and receiving referrals, your dental patient’s lifetime value will increase, leading to steady profit gains for your dental practice.
If you're looking to buy a practice or are interested in a practice appraisal to help you prep to sell and grow strategically, our team at JPA is happy to have an initial consultation to answer your questions.