Federal Agencies To Be Reviewed On Yelp! and What It Means for Your Private Practice

If you thought your practice was safe from on-line reviews, think again. With the announcement yesterday of the government allowing Yelp reviews for Federal Agencies, we’re entering a whole new world of on-line reputation management.

Now that government agencies will be subject to frank, public on-line reviews, people of all demographics are going to be more in-tune to the world of on-line review sites like Yelp, Google+, Facebook, RateMDs and HealthGrades.

So what does this mean for your dental practice, your orthodontic practice, your veterinary practice? It means that more people will be aware of on-line reviews, more people will be looking at them before they go to your practice and more people will be leaving reviews themselves.

You can bet that Federal Agencies are going to be scrambling to put a system in place where they can address negative reviews, thank people for positive ones and use all that public feedback to improve.

How can you do the same? How can you protect yourself and manage your reputation online? Our go-to method, with our SmartReview TM system, is to regularly ask patients for feedback through a private portal. This allows your practice to intercept negative feedback before it goes public and follow up with positive feedback to encourage public reviews.

Don’t let government agencies beat you to the chase! If you haven’t thought about your on-line reputation yet, now is the time.

Reach out to us for a consultation on how you can improve your on-line reviews. We harness digital automation and combine it with a personalized, human touch to make your practice stand out.

New Research: NPR Reports that Online Reviews Can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

NPR reported on some interesting information regarding doctor reviews online via a partnership between ProPublica and Yelp. Yelp isn’t just for restaurants and stores anymore; its share of the review market in the healthcare industry is steadily growing, with 1.3 million health reviews collected to date.

What’s interesting about this data is that overall, people are mostly happy and are happy to share their positive reviews, but aren’t usually that vocal. That said, those who are unhappy are quick to say why, where and how with 1 star reviews. They’re loud about their dissatisfaction and want others to know about it. One reviewer stated, “people put a lot of trust into their healthcare providers, and if my review could help others make an informed decision regarding their treatment, then it was worth it.”

Another interesting trend is that while Yelp reviewers are more likely to leave positive reviews for health providers than stores or restaurants, the providers that do the best are those who make their patients feel better quickly: acupuncturists, massage therapists, and the like. Doctors and dentists, on the other hand, can take longer to show results and their reviews suffer for it. The data reports that “doctors earned a lower proportion of five-star reviews than other health professionals, pushing their average review to the lowest of any large health profession.” One dental chain actually received over 3,000 reviews, the majority negative. Its average star rating is 1.8 out of 5 stars. Pretty dismal.

As a healthcare provider, how do you combat this? The answer isn’t as difficult as you may think: Simply ask for feedback.

At People & Practice we find that asking patients for feedback while they’re still in the office has a few great benefits:

  1. You find out which of your patients are happy and can reach out to them specifically, asking if they’d be willing to leave a review on a public site. Get them talking!
  2. Unhappy patients get a chance to blow off steam while airing their grievances…often when they’re done they’ve gotten it off their chest and move on, never leaving a what might have been a scathing public review. Plus you can then follow-up to smooth things over.
  3. You get a chance to grow and improve your practice by hearing ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ about where you’re successful and where you could improve.

Another way to combat the negativity on Yelp is to help your prospective patients bypass Yelp altogether by boosting your presence on Google+. Google+ pages are set up in such a way that you can both interact with patients and have the page showcase their positive feedback.

Building your public reviews on Google+ has an added benefit. Research shows that the majority of people using the internet for search default to Google as their search engine. If you build up public reviews on your Google+ page they will begin to appear under your website in search results! That means 5 pretty, eye catching stars, showing up under your website. These will be the first thing prospective patients will see. Quite a glowing recommendation, don’t you think?

Building your online presence with reviews and engagement takes work, but given the trends outlined in ProPublica’s research, the impact on your business can be significant.

For the original NPR story, click here. To listen to the podcast, click here. For more tips, tricks and help, reach out to us at People & Practice.

Jessie Pressman, Reputation Management Specialist, People & Practice

How to Cultivate Online Reviews

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthotown Magazine about importance of managing your practice’s online reputation. Click here to read the full article.

Game of Thrones and Google Have Something in Common

Game of Thrones and Google have something in common now: the Army of the Dead.

Last Monday Google announced that it had disconnected Google+ Social from websites in regards to SEO impact from posts and is planning to phase out Google+ as a social platform altogether. That said, they’re keeping the Google+ Local functionality: that’s the My Business page where your reviews show up and how you’re found in a Google Local search. With these changes Google has put Google+ in limbo-land…not quite dead, not quite alive…much like the Army of the Dead (those zombie like creatures that the White Walkers use to do their dirty work).

Let’s dive into limbo land: on one hand, the social media function of Google+ is dead.

What does this announcement mean for small businesses? It means that active use of Google+ by your business page – making comments, posting statuses or articles – no longer has an added benefit to your website. Previously Google put a premium on Google+ activity and considered it as content connected to your website (it does not do this for other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter). With this change, Google+ is just another social platform that has no relevance to your SEO.

So what do you do? Blogging will become even more important to keep the content on your site fresh. Since one of the things that affect SEO is how fresh and relevant your content is to your service, you’ll want to create a blog schedule and stick with it – no more relying on your Google+ posts.

On the other side of limbo-land: Your Google+ My Business page is very much alive and still relevant.

As a small business receiving Google+ Local reviews is critical. Not only do they help with your local search results but once you reach the threshold of 5 reviews on your page you are rewarded with **actual stars** showing up next to your business in search results. Not only do these immediately draw the eye of prospective clients or patients but they also indicate how much your current clients like you. NOTHING today holds more weight than positive personal referrals.

How to fight the changes?

Just like there are ways to fight the White Walkers and their Army of the Dead, there are ways to combat the ever-changing rules from Google. Keep your site’s content fresh with consistent, relevant blog posts and get as many positive Google+ reviews as possible.

Feel like Jon Snow?

People & Practice is here to help. Reach out today for more tips on how to promote your orthodontic or dental practice online. www.pplpractice.com

Wave Goodbye to the Good Old Days

Orthodontic Products Magazine Article

Dr. Klempner was recently invited to contribute an article to Orthodontic Products Magazine about the changing factors influencing the success of orthodontic practices today. Click here to read the full article.

What takes years to build and seconds to destroy? Your Reputation.

Your reputation is your most important business asset.  What are you doing to get your patients to publish great things about you and your practice on public review sites like Google and Yelp?  Equally as important, what are you doing to help prevent your patients from writing negative reviews about you and your practice?

A recent study on local consumer decision-making mentions a few statistics that underscore this point:

➢ 85% of your patients say that they read online reviews for local businesses

➢ 73% of your patients say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more

➢ Only 12% of patients said they take no notice of online reviews

The bottom line is that people go out and look for reviews before making decisions.

We know that there’s a lot of apprehension and discomfort around asking patients for reviews, and for good reason. It can be awkward in the best case and nerve wracking in the worst, as it feels like there’s little control over what people decide to write. It’s true that negative reviews can be very damaging…you’ve spent years building up your reputation and it’s a shame that a comment or two can tarnish it. The truth is that you can’t please everyone. A bad review will come…the key is to be prepared.

The way to defend against negative feedback is by proactively buffering your online review pages with positive feedback. This makes a single negative comment look like an outlier. That’s why we’ve developed a Reputation Management program that “catches” negative feedback before it goes public, allowing for timely off-line resolution.  It also pinpoints your happiest patients and turns them into brand ambassadors that promote you to friends, family and neighbors.  We will also monitor all of your public reviews across the web for any potentially negative comments that were present before we began working together or that didn’t go through our system. If you do receive a public review that’s less than ideal, the best approach is to take it offline quickly and find a resolution that reflects you and your practice in a positive light.

Contact me directly for a free practice analysis and pricing information.

Dr. Leon Klempner, Founder – People & Practice, LLC – leon@pplpractice.com

Watch free webinar -Sponsored by Henry Schein Orthodontics – Dr. Klempner – Protecting Your Online Reputation


Google Reviews

Why Your Orthodontic Practice Can’t Survive Without Social Media

I’ve been practicing orthodontics for over 35 years and have seen many changes in our field. But nothing I’ve experienced is like what’s happening in the online marketing industry.  In one of my social media lectures I have a slide that says, “no one likes change… except a wet baby”.  But in this arena, change is really the only constant.

There is a cat and mouse game underway between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts and Google.  The game is to trick Google into rewarding our websites with high visibility by using a series of back-end programming techniques.  It used to be that by investing your marketing dollars solely in SEO you would be way ahead of your competition. However, Google has recently changed the game with a recent update called Penguin.

The Penguin Google update was specifically developed to reward quality, unique content and designed to showcase sites with active user social participation (your patients on social media). At the same time it penalizes websites using “black hat” techniques such as “keyword stuffing” and overuse of back linking.

This change is a great thing for those who have happy and engaged patients. Now, it’s not about hiring someone that can help your website manipulate Google, but rather about activating your patients to talk about you online.

At the same time, it’s now crystal clear that SEO and social media are not two separate marketing approaches with separate budgets and separate campaigns.  Progressive orthodontists realize that combining the two are essential if we are to successfully promote and grow our practices in this new era of social media.