For a dental office, these words can be used interchangeably. But what’s important is that whichever one you ask for, you must remember to ask for it regularly. You and your team should be asking for referrals or reviews from patients every single day, many times a day, for many reasons. Why?
First, patients don’t think about referring their dentist during their regular everyday life, so we need to remind them. Secondly, they assume that their dentist already has enough patients, and that the dentist is not looking for more. Finally, only an outgoing person will regularly share with others about great places they go to, such as your dental office. Only a small percentage of people are like that, so for those who are not so outgoing, they need to be reminded to share the good news.
There are great resources out there, such as Revenuewell, that will ask patients to provide a review or refer their friends and family. But honestly, nothing makes a bigger impact on a patient than a team member asking them for a referral. When someone actually asks you to do something, you tend to remember it. A personal request doesn’t get buried among a ton of other things, and you’re more likely to follow through with it. Therefore, it’s important to have your team ask patients each and every day.
In order to make this effective, you need to make sure two things are happening:
1) Your team is looking for the right time and right place to ask patients. If they’re doing it as part of a “script” and it doesn’t seem natural, patients will find it awkward and more than likely, the request won’t be effective. The best time to ask for a referral or review is to ask patients after they have said something positive about your office, one of the team members, or the dentist. When a patient says something positive, the team member should immediately respond with a thank you, and then ask them to share that information.
It can sound something like this: “Thank you, Mrs. Jones, for that great compliment about our office always running on time. We always try to do our best to respect patients’ time. We would love it if you know of anyone else who would also appreciate that. We are always looking for more new patients like you, so we would love it if you were to refer others you know or post a review about our office online to help spread the word.”
2) You regularly remind staff and have them practice asking. The dental office gets so crazy during the day and everyone has their own job responsibilities to get done. Many times asking for a referral or review just doesn’t come to mind. Also, just like our patients, not all team members are as comfortable being outgoing and asking. Therefore, each person on your team should practice asking until it feels comfortable to them, and your office should be doing things to make sure it is remembered each and every day.