For years, the dental industry has believed “whoever has the most reviews wins.” Reputation management platforms have taken advantage of this mindset, offering to boost review quantities and improve SEO rankings as their primary services. The chase for these rankings has been a complete frenzy, as every practice tries to maximize their review count, assuming that numbers alone will help their business flourish.
What those services won’t tell you is that their strategy is deeply flawed. Chasing quantity over quality doesn’t sufficiently fuel growth, and has resulted in questionable techniques like review-gating. Major review platforms like Google have even removed reviews and radically altered their policies in response to the explosion of gated review services, causing practices to lose their reviews or even be banned. And yet, despite this sea change in online reviews, dentists have failed to adapt their marketing tactics, continuing to ineffectively pursue raw review numbers.
But reviews are so much more than a number. Having the most reviews and chasing organic SEO isn’t the way to grow your practice — especially when up against competition from corporate dentistry. That’s why it’s time to change your approach.
Rather than serving as a dental industry metric, reviews can provide insights on what your patients think and feel about your practice. Combine this with other tools such as a Net Promoter Score, and you have the foundation of referral generation. It’s not a contest; collecting reviews isn’t a fraction as important as acting on patient sentiment.
You need to earn reviews that matter in order to collect valuable insights on your patients, and put that information to use. Scour your reviews to help you create a better patient experience. Send follow-up surveys so patients can tell you what they liked and what they’d change.
Once you have insights from reviews, you’ll need a strategy to use them for boosting your referrals. Referrals are essential for growing your practice, costing less than other forms of advertising, and bringing in higher production patients. Offering top-quality service and landing positive reviews provides persuasive social proof for leads, and positive word of mouth from your patients will give referrals an extra push to schedule an appointment.
The good news is that more than 80% of happy customers are willing to recommend a business to friends and family. When you receive a positive review, it’s not just a pat on the back—it’s a note from a happy patient who will mostly likely provide a referral if you ask.
Patient satisfaction is essential to success in modern dentistry – make your patients happy, and leverage them to grow your business. Rather than becoming consumed with stacking up the most reviews, focus on creating happy patients, uncovering patient sentiment, and maximizing your referrals. With this approach, you can avoid the headache of chasing numbers and build a thriving, patient-centered practice.