Are you asking your patients to leave Google reviews, Shaz Memon questions.

Good communication lies at the heart of dentistry. And there is an expectation on those working within the industry to engage with clarity and honesty.

Running a successful practice relies on a team who are confident in effectively handling any challenging conversations with patients too. And this includes those that directly involve marketing the treatments you offer.

Most businesses now rely on online patient reviews to raise a profile and entice further custom. Indeed, patients consider Google reviews a valuable and measurable source of information. They illustrate the highs and lows of any customer/patient experience.

Many dental practices with exceptional Google ratings will stand out from their competition. Those with consistently good feedback often report a boost in footfall because most new patients are relying on the views of others for reassurance in their confidence in a practice’s abilities to deliver exceptional care.

But if your bank of patient testimonials is running dry or may even be non-existent, how best to boost that all-essential star rating?

Gaining Google reviews

Whilst direct requests for Google reviews may irk some as a seemingly unethical practice, it is in fact widely considered an essential tool in your marketing armoury.

Online reviews are the bedrock of any business looking to promote to a public who widely accept and utilise Google’s rating system. The essence of good ethics is in avoidance of specifically requesting only positive feedback.

When you do approach patients, let your patients know you are asking for a ‘favour’ and explain that the practice relies on patients like them to encourage others to enjoy your services. You will quickly know whether or not you’re asking properly based on the number of patients who respond to your review request. Be patient. You’ll get better with time. Everyone does!

So, who are your patients with the best review potential? As healthcare professionals, you and your staff have the benefit of hands-on experience in reading body language. This means understanding who might be open to helping you out and who might shun the idea.

Being able to ascertain whether or not someone is likely to respond enthusiastically is a start. Trust too has its part to play and, as a key factor in the clinician-patient dynamic, it is an easy option to ask someone you know well. Especially if it eradicates any awkwardness in calling on a favour.

But don’t let comfortable familiarity limit you to seeking testimonials solely from long-term attendees.

The most positive feedback inevitably comes from those who have just experienced optimum care and for whom you’ve achieved amazing results.

Ideally then, requesting feedback at the peak of patient satisfaction – ie when treatment is complete, the bill is paid and they are about to walk out the door – is everything.

Making it easy

Personalise the request and mirror the language used. Observing professionalism is important. But everyone differs in the way in which they communicate in written form.

Therefore, factor this skill into team training and incentivise the team.

It’s key that patients have a Google account. If they don’t, asking them to sign up for an account may seem too much investment. An alternative could be to ask that they leave a Facebook review instead.

For those who do have a Google account, the key is showing a patient that they must sign into Google and navigate to your business listing on Google to leave the review. Sometimes that’s difficult for people to do, so make it easy for them.

Google has made it easy for businesses to direct their customers to a personalised Google review link. And you can view the details here –

Make time to walk patients through the process:

  • Sign into Google (Gmail account)
  • Search for your business on Google
  • Click to leave a review
  • Select star rating, write review and submit.

Remember too that it is good etiquette to reply to Google reviews. When logged in as an owner of a business, you will see a reply button below each review. I would also send an email immediately thanking them. Perhaps consider emailing them a referral voucher, asking for them to share with friends and family. Choosing the right time will dramatically increase the chances of them sharing it.

Directly asking each and every patient for a review of their experience may not always be feasible. So adding a review link in all your email signatures can be helpful too.

‘Ask the right few’

Jas Gill is practice principal at Moonlight Dental Surgery in Slough and believes that the essence of successfully collecting Google reviews lies in teamwork.

He explains: ‘Our success to date has come from working as a team to create truly achievable systems that work for everyone. Through having team meetings with all involved, and gaining team insights, we have been able to strategise and create protocols and procedures that all agree can be facilitated within a busy day.

‘This has resulted in an increase in reviews. It has a side benefit of giving the team satisfaction that they are heard, that their workload is recognised and respected and that they have contributed.

‘By having clear and written SMART goals, we set aside time in the week to plan and also discover where any key problem might lie. For example, we put a marker next to every patient booked in that day who has a Gmail account, and those are asked for feedback first. Trust me, it’s easier to ask a few patients in a busy practice rather than telling the team to ask everyone – so why not ask the right few?’

He adds: ‘We also get a better response rate when we Whatsapp the patient the Google link rather than email it to them. Sometimes, we ask them for a testimonial, type it up and then Whatsapp it to them followed by a Google link in two separate messages as it’s easy to copy and paste. They can then copy the message, click on the link and paste it as a Google review leaving a star rating at the same time. These are just simple ways of removing obstacles.’

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

By keeping it simple, practice owners can save time – a commodity few dental teams have. As Jas says: ‘They need to focus their ideas and avoid attempting to implement too many ideas at the same time – otherwise nothing works.’

Alternatively, some practices incentivise front-of-house staff with £5 per review. Both practices I know that do this now have more than 100 reviews. The power is in asking and telling them just how much it would mean, as one day you may be looking to enter an award.

Evolve Dentistry in Portishead, Bristol, has an impressive five-star Google rating with 160+ patients feeding back. Clinical director, Dr Carol Somerville Roberts, urges all practice teams to embark on a mission to increase the number of Google reviews with simple requests.

She says: ‘You can always ask. We ask for reviews and, if the patient says “yes”, we then ask if they would like us to send them a text message with the link. We send it straight away and this has increased the number of reviews we get because it makes it easy for patients to leave one.’

It’s quite simple – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Six tips

  1. Who? Invite regular long-term patients well known to you by all means, but do ensure a mix of demographic. Patients who have just completed smile makeovers or orthodontic treatment, teeth whitening or have had implants fitted are excellent candidates who will appreciate the ‘wow’ factor their treatment achieves. Aim to get reviews from people with similar profiles to those you are targeting
  2. When? I suggest immediately after treatment when they feel euphoric about the result – and, thereafter, a maximum of two more times by way of a ‘how did we do?’ and ‘how are you doing?’ email. Do respect boundaries. Any more than three times and you run the risk of annoying your patients. When emailing a follow-up, state that leaving a review will take 30 seconds and give them an example of questions most people answer on their reviews to take away the element of having to think
  3. How? Make it as easy as possible for them to feed back. Provide a personalised link and/or have a chat about their experience with you. Positive engagement is everything – and if the feedback isn’t so great, then at least you can handle any complaints swiftly and positively. When you ask, be clear that if they had any feedback, alternatively they may wish to share it directly with you. Get a short Google link, too. Copy instructions from here – Once you have your link, you can ask your website designers to further customise it by making a unique URL ( that redirects to the above links
  4. Where? A note of caution, they can certainly leave reviews when at the practice, so long as they are not connected to your wifi. Google has been known to penalise ratings if there is a duplication of IP address and will remove if too many are left from the same address. So do make sure the patients leave their reviews either at your practice (but not whilst connected to your wifi), or once back at home and on their own laptop/mobile/tablet using their own connection
  5. What? Never directly ask for a five-star review. Box clever and choose happy and satisfied patients who you know enjoyed their experience with you. Whilst you can micro manage all of your Google reviews, you can up the odds in your favour by engaging with those who know you best
  6. Why? Whilst there is arguably no direct correlation between your Google ranking in the search results pages and the calibre or frequency of Google reviews, there is an obvious benefit to updating reviews for your potential patients. It is important to be seen as current – even if you are already achieving five-star standard. Nobody wants to read and rely on an old review from 2015 when the team were different and so too were the treatments on offer.

Email templates to use

Email one: immediately after treatment (send to happy patients)

Subject: Your dental appointment > 30 seconds

Dear [Patient name]

We work extremely hard to ensure we deliver the highest level of dental care to you. As a small and caring team, your public Google review would mean the world to each and every one of us.

I only need 30 seconds of your time! Please click this link to leave a review [Insert your link here]

If you are unsure what to write – here is a framework:
a) What were your first impressions of the practice?
b) Were the team caring – and did they explain treatment well?
c) How does this experience compare to other dental experiences?
d) Would you recommend us?

Thank you so much in advance for your review! We will keep an eye out for it and drop you a line once we have received it.

If, on the other hand, you feel we have some way to go before you give us a glowing review – please, please reply back with your honest feedback. We are dedicated to improving our each and every patient experience, so genuinely welcome any thoughts on how we may improve privately here. 

Best wishes
[Sign off]

Email two (after one week)

Re-forward the above email:

Dear [Patient name]

Sorry to email again, I just wanted to make sure you received the beneath email.

We need only 30 seconds of your time. Every review we receive brings us closer to our goal of [insert number here] of Google reviews.

We would all really appreciate you helping us to reach our target.

Email three: (after two weeks)

Subject: Reviewing your experience at [Insert practice name]

Dear [Patient Name]

I hope this email finds you well. Following up from your treatment on [insert date] I wanted to check if you had any feedback for us?

Having not heard from you, we thought perhaps we have some reflecting to do on our service delivery. I would welcome an email back with any thoughts on how you believe we may improve.

We work extremely hard to ensure we deliver the highest level of dental care to you.

Alternatively, if you felt you were given a five-star experience, then a public Google review would mean the world to each and every one of us here at [insert practice name]

I only need 30 seconds of your time. Please click this link to leave a review [Insert your link here]

If you are unsure what to write – here is a framework:
a) What were your first impressions of the practice?
b) Were the team caring – and did they explain treatment well?
c) How does this experience compare to other dental experiences?
d) Would you recommend us?

Thank you so much in advance. We will keep an eye out for it and drop you a line once we have received it.

Best wishes
[Sign off]

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