I consult with many dentists about the power of reputation and building one of their most valuable assets and time and time again they want to know how I am so effective in getting my patients to write stories about their experiences online. It’s very simple, my office culture revolves around reputation and simply stated I ask my patients for feedback about their experiences in my office.
I will use my recent trip to St. Maarten over the Christmas and New Year’s break as an example of how this idea of asking your patient, clients, customers, etc will pay dividends in return simply by uttering a few words. I have traveled a lot for business reasons over the past 5 years but I have not really taken a long vacation other than some cruises where everything takes places on a ship and even most of the activities are scheduled through the shore excursions so when I had almost 10 days on an island able to make my own schedule I did not realize how important reputation was to those business until I got there.
The most important and visible site to these business is of course Trip Advisor and in my various conversation with the business owners of restaurants, attractions, lodging, etc this site could make or break their business. Overall we had a fabulous time in St. Maarten although a couple of meals were substandard in my opinion. Each and every time we went for a meal, snorkeled, zip-lined or went looking for that amazing pastry shop on the French side of the island we were either asked, given a card, emailed a request to post a review about my experiences. I obviously had conversations with the business owners whenever possible about what I did other than practice dentistry. Many of them were candid and upfront with me that Trip Advisor would either make or break their business. One business in particular, a company that charters snorkeling and tours of the island explained in detail a couple of instances where customers have had issues and left bad reviews and his ranking on Trip Advisor dropped and low and behold a couple of days he did not have charters, in fact the day that we booked, we ended up having our own private charter. We had a great time (one of the best of our entire trip) and what do you think the very first thing I did when I returned from the activity was to post about my great experience I had while on the excursion. All over this particular boat as well as in the office they had signs up asking to review the business. The business owner personally responded to the review that I left and thanked me for describing my experiences which made me feel like he actually listened. When we go back we plan to use his services again. He also described to me a couple of instances where he had responded to some public reviews that were negative and it made things worse for his business. It was interesting hearing this from him as it was something that i have been breaching to dentists forever. I would never respond to a negative review as it could potentially harm your business more than the actual review itself. The best defense against a negative review is to flood the internet with positives on reviews sites like Google and Yelp which highly rank when someone Google’s your business.
One of the more interesting ways a business asked or at least put themselves in front of you was a company that you could rent paddle boards and kayaks while on Pinel Island. Here is what they handed out to customers who rented items from them.
As you can see from the photo I took they not only ask for a review on Trip Advisor but they cover almost every base of social media from Facebook, to checking in on Foursquare, sharing a photo on Instagram, pinning on Pinterest and joining their circle on Google +. I think all business should be doing something like that as they are great ways to connect with your patients, clients, customers and continue to market to them via what Seth Godin termed “permission based marketing”.
Kevin Costner starred in Field of Dreams and the famous line out of that movie is “If you build it they will come”. I love this when it comes to reputation marketing as if you make marketing your reputation a priority, gather a ton of reviews from your clients and basically overwhelm the internet with positivity about your business Google will rank you higher because they trust your business more and more than likely the phone will start ringing as according to many surveys 88% of consumers read online reviews before they choose to use a business.
I covered a lot of different ideas in this blog about not only asking for feedback, responding to positive but not negative reviews and building an amazing reputation that will attract a ton of new business. The key to all of this is collecting the reviews and it all starts with a simple phrase that opens the door for many things. The phrase that pays ….Can your provide feedback about our services ? Give it a try the next day in your office and see how it goes. It will open your eyes like nothing has before. Till next time which I promise will be sooner than later. Remember reputation matters…