Professional Courtesy Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, Editorial Director, Dentaltown Magazine


Desperately Seeking a Dentist


Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD
Editorial Director,
Dentaltown Magazine
How do new patients find your office? I’m not writing about driving directions; I want to know how they decide to pick up the phone and call you to make an appointment. The answer to that question is more complex all the time. Years ago the answer was one of three things: Yellow Pages, drive by the office or an existing patient referred them. Today, we can expand the list to include advertisements, insurance company lists and the Internet. Whether you have a practice Web site or not, the Internet will soon be the dominant place where patients find you. This is due in part to the sheer number of places where you are listed as well as the research habits of modern Americans.

We know that many patients can find us online by searching provider listings on such Web sites as MetLife.com, or finding our practice Web site. What you might not realize is there are at least 31 other Web sites that I have discovered where you might be listed (see list below). These Web sites come in all shapes and sizes; some want you to pay money for a better listing (similar to the Yellow Pages), others simply want the search traffic directed to their site so they can benefit from additional views of the ads on their site and some provide dentist listings as part of a larger mission to educate visitors about dentistry.

A special subcategory of these listing sites will also provide the ability for patient reviews of your office. This is the area that bothers some of us the most. We can all agree that you will not please every patient every day, and quite frankly, you are already behind when patients set foot in the door because they do not want to be there in the first place. So why are patients allowed to post comments about your office and your services as if they are rating a local restaurant or hotel? Welcome to the 21st century, where everyone is entitled to publish their opinion.

In closing, I will leave you with the following homework assignment. You or a member of your staff should visit each site on this list and search for your practice. Verify that all information is accurate and if information is missing take steps to have it added. If someone is going to post your information, it should be accurate. If you have been reviewed on any of these sites, take a moment to digest the comments. If the review is negative, take steps to prevent a repeat in the future and encourage your best patients to post comments about their visit on these sites. This is often the best defense against negative posts.

I hope you find this list a helpful resource to evaluate your presence online and I welcome your comments and feedback. If I have missed a Web site, please send me a link: tom@dentaltown.com.
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