Tag Archives: New patients

Google Places + Google+ = The New Google+ Local

Dental Marketing Changes with Google's Announcement of Google+ LocalFor most dentists, keeping up with Google and ranking on Page One in local search are focal aspects of their marketing efforts for attracting new patients.

You know the drill. Claim your listing. Verify it with a PIN number. Follow Google’s guidelines to a T. Try to consolidate duplicates. Check back regularly to make sure things are in good standing. And, try like heck to encourage happy patients to submit reviews so you keep little gold stars next to your name.

This may seem like a lot of busy work, but the truth is that web searchers and potential patients perceive value in having gold stars next to your listing and are influenced by the reviews they read. Also, it’s the single greatest common denominator we’re seeing to help dentists “get found” on line. Let’s face it, Google reviews are your modern day “word of mouth referral from a friend.”

Well, Today The Game Changed Again. Introducing Google+ Local.

A better word might be “evolved.” If you checked out your Google Places page today, it may have looked a little different to you. This morning, Google announced that the merge of Google Places and Google + into the new Google+ Local.

Dentist Reviews on Google+ Local Page

But, don’t worry. Despite getting used to a new format, this next evolution of Google’s local program is considered to be an improvement by the early feedback of local search experts such as Linda Buquet and Mike Blumenthal. And, this is certain not to be the last trick that Google has up it’s sleeve so the game continues.

What we do know at this point is:

  • You can still manage your information via your Places dashboard, verify your listing data and respond to reviews.
  • You can still post offers the same way.
  • You cannot upload videos to your Place page anymore.
  • Instead of the scoring system of receiving 1-5 stars, Google has incorporated the more comprehensive 1-30 Zagat scoring system.
  • Reviews from both Google and Zagat users will reside on your Google+ local page and will be attributed to either “A Google User” or “A Zagat user” until that user chooses to change it to their name.
  • If you haven’t done so, consider setting up a Google+ business page.
  • More updates will follow in the coming months.

We will continue to keep our clients updated on new advancements. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more you can read about Google+ Local in the Google Help Forum. For questions about your particular Google Places listing or setting up a Google+ Business Page, please contact APM at (952) 921-3360 or apm@advancedpracticemanagement.com.

Has A Mystery Shopper Called You Yet?

Secret Shopper Phone CallsWe’re getting reports from many clients that they have been called by the “Scheduling Institute,” Jay Geier’s group. Mystery shoppers will call posing as a patient. The patient is usually asking for a fee on a crown, or saying they just moved to town looking for a Doctor, or want to know if the practice takes kids, etc.

This is the Scheduling Institute’s way of finding prospects. The Scheduling Institute has a detailed and extensive program focused on the initial patient phone contact with the office.

Surprise! Almost every office they call earns a 0 on a scale of 0 to 5 for handling calls effectively. Therefore, Dentists are told that they stand much to gain by subscribing to their program… that new patients can go up by 30% or more with thorough staff training.

There is much that the Scheduling Institute recommends that we agree with, but not all. We’ve been doing “Mystery Shoppers” ourselves for over 25 years. We agree with Jay Geier on this…doing things right can add to your new patient flow. Like the Scheduling Institute, we find that most often the initial phone contact with patients is a matter of screening, warning and indoctrination.

For example, there is often way too much focus on insurance and x-rays. Even very competent, well-meaning front desk people can present a bureaucratic and cold presence.

However, before you sign up for a $5,000 program, let me assure you that we can help you and your staff with this. In some cases, we feel that the Scheduling Institute is too aggressive, maybe not “Midwesternly” enough. So, if you got “0 stars” call us and we’ll help. If you don’t know what your rating is and want a “Mystery Shopper,” we’re happy to do it for you. Just call and we’ll make arrangements to ensure patients’ and shoppers’ first contact with your office is first class.

We want the “Mystery Shopper” not to be the Secret Police though. We want to work with your staff… not to catch them doing it wrong but to catch them doing it right!

Photo credit: theunsecretshopper.com