Do you treasure your patient feedback? Testimonials are marketing gold dust – especially when caught on camera. Shaz Memon considers the power of the patient video review

Feedback plays a large part of what shapes professionalism. Meeting the expectations of patients is incorporated within the systems that educate and regulate dentistry. Consequently, the onus is upon all dental professionals to reflect on any evaluation – whether it is a clinical audit, peer reviews or patient feedback – and adjust and apply to their behaviour, interactions and clinical skills.

In any open culture that encourages feedback, the patient should always benefit. Businesses also thrive on feedback. A dental practice can learn a lot from what consumers say and there is a very real need in a competitive world to adapt processes accordingly. If we are failing to meet expectations, we cannot expect to succeed.

Real-life experience

Testimonials therefore, work well within a dental setting because prospective patients want to hear from people just like them, about their real-life experience of you, your team and your end results. Positive online reviews inspire others, converting browsers into buyers. With the global e-space rapidly expanding, there is a wealth of opportunity to engage, share and communicate with prospective patients. The promotional potential that comes with high-quality visual content is much documented and, no doubt, as a modern-day dentist, your practice website is already harnessing the power of ‘before and after’ photos.

However, the popularity of digital video is growing fast and, when it comes to impact, there is nothing more powerful that the video review, which offers the opportunity to ‘show’ as well as ‘tell’.

In a Hubspot survey, researchers found that 90% of consumers use product videos to make a purchase decision, with 80% of viewers able to recall a digital video they had viewed within the past 30 days. With eMarketer estimating that 43.2 million people in the UK will watch digital video content via any device at least once per month, dental businesses should be using this as a way to convey its brand story – and make a lasting impression.

Watching and listening to a short clip of a genuine and compelling story of a happy patient is living proof that what you do works.

A matter of opinion

The newest cohort of patients – the millennials – has grown up communicating via smartphones, researching and purchasing products and services online, as well as reading others’ comments.

Shaz Memon, creative director of Digimax, actively stays abreast of digital developments and trends. He says, ‘Millennials have been brought up in a digital world where reviews shape purchasing. This age group is hugely influenced by their peers and also expects transparency when it comes to products and services. They not only massively rely on reading the opinions of others, but they also generate reviews and share extensively, too. ‘Millennials want to interact with the products and services they buy. They pin products on Pinterest, follow a brand’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram accounts. They promote things they like and cyber-shout about what they don’t.’

In which case, shouldn’t any savvy business take advantage of this in order to promote their own messages? If the first step of most of us is to ‘Google it’, then demonstrating a progressive approach digitally as well as enhancing your online profile is essential.

Get it right

So, how best to perfect a powerful patient video testimonial? Firstly, it need not be a costly investment in terms of finance, but you do need to put in the hours.

Having cultivated carefully selected patients and invited those willing to participate (with written consent, of course), it makes sense to set aside a day – without time constraints – and a place where you cannot be interrupted to film a succession of video testimonials.

Remember, you will need to:
•    Take time to help the patient prepare their testimony, talking through what they plan to say
•    Find a quiet space to film away from prying eyes
•    Ensure sufficient and balance lighting
•    Use a tripod to ensure steady footage
•    Have someone to sit off-camera to make the patient feel at ease, so that they have a ‘face’ to focus on and will therefore appear natural and sincere
•    Allow as many takes as necessary – you don’t want them to appear awkward or feel embarrassed
•    Consider employing a professional cameraman who has experience at handling novices in front of the camera.
•    Keep it short – apparently, 5% of viewers will stop watching a video after one minute, and 60% by two minutes.

And don’t be afraid of those ‘not-quite-perfect’ testimonials either! So what if the patient reveals the braces were ‘painful to begin with’ – the effective part is that it honestly informs potential patients and, hopefully, facilitates treatment.
The best testimonials identify a problem and reveal the solution. They show you have a proven track record and that you are perfectly placed to accomplish similar results.

Then post it on social media, upload it to YouTube and embed it on your website – add it to your home page for full impact and pin it to the top of your Twitter feed to entice in clients.

Your patient stories are unique to you so make sure you own them and share them. The power of patient recommendation cannot be underestimated.