The most frequent question I get asked at present is “Should I be asking my patients to write Google reviews, and what about the Dental Board?”.
My advice is to take note of what Google’s own expert “Mike Blumenthal” is doing to help customers with feedback and reviews. [Check out Googles small business forum which lists Mike as the top Contributor]
Mike has developed software that his CV from Goolge says is to “help small businesses deal with the complexities of customer feedback and reviews: GetFiveStars.com “

Mike’s software basically is designed to help people get reviews /testimonials on their own websites (More on how to keep the Dental Board happy below).  Check out his FAQ to learn the basic business premise which underpins his software.

Businesses should ask for feedback directly to the business (not first via Google + or Yelp or Yahoo) so the business can resolve any issues early.

His software allows you to vet what goes onto your own website and provides customers with links to your Google+ pages so they can also place positive reviews in these forums. Using this software allow you to imbedded positive testimonials within your website using particular coding that Google Search recognises and may use in your Google search rating.

Dental Board of Australia
Your dental practice does need to keep in mind the restrictions on testimonials for health care providers. These testimonial restrictions ONLY apply when you control the testimonial listings. e.g. on your own website or facebook page etc. [Check the rules out yourself Word version] The basic concept is that you cannot place a testimonial on your website that “advertises a regulated health service”. Hence a testimonial that does not advertise a regulated health service is not subject to AHPRA restrictions. e.g. Loved the new waiting room!

You will find that GetFiveStars.com allows you to chose what testimonials you use and what appears on your web site. Interestingly you are allowed to use the common STAR rating from clients/patients on your web site if you don’t included the words of the testimonial which would breach the AHPRA restrictions, .

While testimonials are not allowed under the National Law, this only applies in relation to advertising a regulated health service. If your comments are not part of a practitioner or health service’s intent to promote or advertise their services, your comments are fine.

Publishing an award symbol or rating on a website advertising a regulated health service will not breach the ban on using testimonials in the National Law, unless it involves republishing the testimonials on which the award or rating is based.

From APHRA, Dental Board of Australia – FAQ on the revised advertising guidelines 20 May 2014.Word version

While I haven’t had any client ask for this software I think that Dentists should consider using it or setting up their own manual system that does the same thing before they ask for testimonials or Google reviews. Waiting room feedback forms and staff training on managing negative feedback should also be reviewed.

Getting rid of Bad Google reviews
The other most frequently asked question is how do I get rid of bad testimonials on Google. This is very very difficult. So be warned that by encouraging patients to use online means for communication they are more likely to opt for this as a means of complaining. Make sure you have a great mechanism in place for feedback of any sort and you know how to handle this feedback well.

Google + allows you to reply to your online google reviews
Google encourages all business to verify their Google My Business listing. (glenda@smartdentist.com.au if you need help or want to know if your business is verified). You can answer Google reviews via your Google + page and you can request that Google considers removing negative reviews if you can show good cause.

As a last resort dentists have removed their Google business listing just to remove negative reviews.

Dentist reviews: Don’t take your lead from AHPRA, take notice of Google