Your Dental Lab Needs Reviews to Grow
There’s a lot to be anxious about if you own a dental lab these days -- offshoring, technology, cheap crowns and price-sensitive dentists... the list goes on. If you lose business to competition, it’s difficult to replace without investing even more money in direct marketing. It's a vicious and costly cycle. But that’s not really the whole picture as labs can tell you that have wasted thousands of dollars in flashy “marketing campaigns". It doesn’t matter how much you spend...somebody has to vouch for you.
You might even have fancy new digital equipment, but if it doesn't drive referrals from your customers, you might as well save the money. Today's consumers (and dentists ARE consumers) expect reviews for every service they use (Angie’s List) and every product they buy (Amazon, Wirecutter). Dentists look to online reviews for social proof that a dental lab is doing a good job. In fact, 72 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from someone they know. If a dentist can’t get a personal referral or find an online review for your lab, there’s a good chance you will not be getting that business.
Focusing on Quality Pays Off
The easiest way to earn positive online reviews for your dental lab is by focusing on quality. According to LMT, the #1 reason dentists leave labs is "inconsistent quality/technical problems":
Being a dental lab with a reputation for excellence will drive positive and trusted reviews online. Great lab reviews are like word-of-mouth referrals that build trust among dentists and increase the chances of good clinical outcomes for their patients.
While the quality of a dental lab is important, so are several other factors -- make sure that you ask your dentists to rate or review things like value, fit, and communication:
Provide potential customers with as much insight into your lab as possible. If a dentist is unhappy with the communication they have with their current lab, let them see that your lab excels in communication. Another benefit of focusing your reviews on factors like quality and clinical outcomes is that it takes the conversation away from price.
Authentic Reviews Grow Dental labs
Dentists are savvy and can sniff out a paid endorsement from a KOL. Simply put, paying dentists to write positive reviews of a dental lab will negatively impact business. Authentic reviews are the most valuable earned media because they reflect a dentist’s true feelings. This word of mouth marketing is the closest thing you can get to a personal referral.
Dentists want to see fellow colleagues in good standing providing thoughtful feedback. When you search for a review platform, make sure that all of the dentists are authenticated via email, LinkedIn or professional affiliation/practice name. Ideally there will be avatar pictures of each dentist that correspond to their practice name.
How to Ask for Reviews of Your Dental Lab
How you ask for honest reviews from dentists is vital. Your lab can include a call to action in every email signature, ask in person, or send out a an email using a standard template. When emailing customers for a review, you should send the request from a real person's email address and write it as a personal request. A good solicitation will also have a clear call to action link and use the recipient's name in the subject line. Also, respect the dentist’s time by providing an estimate of how long it will take to finish the rating/review.
You can also provide the dentist with helpful tips for writing a useful review.
Keep in mind that dentists live and die by the quality of their reputation management with patients. Position your request in similar terms (e.g. “I know how much reviews mean to your dental practice, and you would be helping our lab in the same way by leaving a review…”)
How to Handle Negative Reviews
Fact: You will get the occasional negative review.
Fact: The degree to which it hurts your business is up to you.
Getting a negative review is not the end of the world. Dental labs have the opportunity to use a negative review to re-engage a customer that is unhappy and potentially win back the business. Plus, resolutions can usually be posted on the review site. And "90 percent of customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently" according to a recent study. As many as 15% of people are actually more likely to do business with a company if they see a negative review that has been respectfully resolved.
If your lab wants to address poor reviews before they happen publicly, you should also investigate building a Net Promoter Score (NPS) system.
Reviews are Your Lab’s Best Content Marketing
Look at reviews of your dental lab as content that can be shared across all media (postcards, your website, invoices, social media, articles, on the wall of your lab etc.). The holy grail of marketing these days is having compelling content that solves the problems your customers face. Reviews answer the big questions your potential customers have about working with your business.
Once you have collected reviews, displaying them is key. Some review platforms offer widgets that can be embedded on a dental lab's website. Using a trusted third party to facilitate the reviews is important. LabWorthy lets dental labs create widgets to display their verified reviews on a website:
Think about all the businesses that exist on the basis of reviews that are popular with millennials (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Postmates etc.). Millennials have replaced the power of brands (think big hotel chains like Starwood, Marriott) with a crowdsourced trust in reviews. Reviews are a proxy for brands. Therefore, engage your early-career dentists and let them know how important their feedback is to you. You will not only build sales, but also loyalty.
If you would like to know more about the LabWorthy dental lab review platform, you can email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can simply go to LabWorthy to claim your lab and start generating reviews. I love feedback!