I recommend these software packages (such as Demand Force, Solution Reach and so on) a lot to my clients because they can automate everything and fills up those schedules. However, if you use software like that, beware of the little known issues that may come up with regards to patient reviews:
1) They are not visible to new patients.
The software bundles the reviews on a separate page which can link into your website or from their own platform. It looks great, however, a patient has to go hunting for them on your website. That assumes two things: a) they can find them easily once on your website before they get bored and leave (you have only a few seconds for them to find what they want). And b) They are already ON your website.
Only Google reviews stand prominent in the path of the new patient searching for a dentist. If you don’t have enough Google reviews then you aren’t giving the prospective new patient enough incentive to actually click onto your site. With all the clutter in this New Economy, you have to fight for every patient “action”.
2) They are not as trusted because they aren’t public facing.
These software packages a lot of times want to placate the dentist. It looks great to have 3,000 5 star reviews on your Demand Force page, but new patients may not trust that at all. Especially when every dentist has a similar profile and it’s on your own website which you control.
People trust Google reviews because they trust Google, they are public facing and anyone can go on there and write a good or bad review. They have more “psychological weight”. So the 39 4.8 star review you have on Google might get more attention from people than your 14,450 5 star review on your website (if they are even able to find it).
3) Automated Google review collection:
Beware this issue – it could leave you with many, really bad negative Google reviews.
The same software packages can automate the sending of people to Google to write a review. Here’s the problem: for some, writing a bad review is a cathartic experience that has nothing to do with you. They might have had a bad day and want to leave one so they have “yelled at someone” without yelling at someone.
And while you might not have any now, I’ve seen them hold onto that link for over a year (it’s in their email) and one day you piss them off and they go write it. Bad news is spread at least 7x faster and more trusted than good news.
Then you have this problem where a bunch of negative reviews are left as “most recent” and that’s the first impression a new patient gets when going through your Google reviews. Also, it’s very hard to get rid of negative reviews even if they are libelous.
Here’s where those special pages for reviews would be useful – better they leave you a bad review there than on your public facing new patient profile review page (Google). In other words, don’t let them put a Google review, send them directly to that special page.
(Side note: this is in the case where they are only sent a link to leave a Google review after a positive survey /feedback form, which should have negated that problem but doesn’t)