Does Yelp work?

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In today’s competitive environment all dental offices must have a good understanding of how social media can work for their practices.  It is very important to gain the social media business intelligence that will drive new patient flow in the most effective manner – and that is not always easy. Net32’s annual surveys of Social Media Habits for Dentists show a strong and growing interest in dentists trying to leverage social media sites for new patient acquisition. In fact, in 2014 almost 34% of dentists were seeking to use social media sites for new patient acquisition as opposed to only 18% in 2010.  So, what is working for you?  Let’s take Yelp as a real life example. Is Yelp driving new patients for your dental practice? Here’s my story.

Like any well managed office my team asks all new patients “Whom may we thank for referring you to our practice?”  Although we have tremendous new patient acquisition, despite trying for the last 4 years or so, next to no one refers to Yelp as the referral source. Make no mistake, we have been quite successful in acquiring terrific reviews by means of internal marketing, links on post-appointment surveys and monthly specials emails, QR codes on appointment cards, website links, slides in the lobby, laptops, and iPads, etc. etc. Currently we have ten 5 star reviews showing and 59 reviews (the vast majority being 5 star) that yelp’s algorithm declines to display. Relative to other sources Yelp is yielding a big fat goose egg. How are you determining if Yelp is of any value to your practice, and what do you consider best practices?

Perhaps patients’ use of Yelp is different in other parts of the country. Perhaps my experience is not the norm. However, it appears that Yelp in North Carolina is not working for me.

Maybe further education is in order to expand our Yelp business intelligence? So far our study of best practices has not disclosed any new gems nor led to any new tactics to try.

5 Stars is the best rating possible on Yelp and that is not driving patients to my door. What’s your story?

Dr. Patrick Cassidy

Dr. Patrick Cassidy is a dental graduate of the University of British Columbia, and holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. He is the founder of Research Triangle Dental and Implant Center in North Carolina where he contributes his 30+ years of dental knowledge. Dr. Cassidy’s innovation and creativity co-founded Net32, Inc., a dental industry leading comparison shopping.

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Dr. Patrick Cassidy is a dental graduate of the University of British Columbia, and holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. He is the founder of Research Triangle Dental and Implant Center in North Carolina where he contributes his 30+ years of dental knowledge. Dr. Cassidy’s innovation and creativity co-founded Net32, Inc., a dental industry leading comparison shopping.

Last modified: March 7, 2019

3 Responses to " Does Yelp work? "

  1. Allen Jorgensen says:

    Thanks for sharing – and letting other offices know it is not just them! I just found out this morning that between my wife’s name and the practice name – Yelp has 2 different listings for us – all with multiple 5 star reviews and ALL of them hidden in very light grey with the words:

    review that is not currently recommended

    which is actually the link a perspective patient then has to click through – to be bombarded with a bunch of other add non-sense before they can actually find the stellar reviews from recent patient visits.

    If you are not paying an extortion fee to them (and maybe if you are) – then they are NOT providing the service to the general public that they claim to do.

  2. Frank Esfandiari says:

    Unfortunately, bunch of my 5 star reviews has been filtered by Yelp. Few weeks ago, end of last December, I saw a patient who I treated with great care. I wanted to refer her to OS since I saw red flags all over her. She insisted I do the procedure since she was in severe pain, which I did. She had Dentical which is the dental Medicaid in California. She was not charged anything. She get her Rx for antibiotics and painkillers. The next day she calls and asks for more, which I believe her. I give her a second Rx for stronger pain killer. I get a call from the pharmacist stating that the patient has been getting multiple painkiller Rx from multiple doctors. Are you still authorizing your Rx? I cancel the Rx. She calls back screaming and using profanity. After I hung up she goes to Google and YELP and totally slanders my reputation. I flagged her review on both for the false allegations and inappropriate content. They did not do anything about it. I can’t even respond back since I would be violating HIPPA. I contact DEA stating the facts and asking how can I be punished for doing the right thing? They said” sorry, it is just the way our system is setup”

  3. Sharla Ruiz, DMD says:

    In southern California Yelp is my #1 referral source. Most patients check their insurance providers then review our Yelp reviews. Once they see the positive reviews, they call and schedule. Obviously, our experiences are much different. This may be due to location…many people use Yelp before using a repair service or restaurant.

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