A four-star retaurant. A five-star movie. As consumers, those stars get our attention; they suggest a proven quality or track record. But a new study indicates that as attractive as all those stars might be, the quantity of online reviews any small business gets – and that includes dental practices – is far more important to its bottom line.

Dress for SuccessThe study by Womply, a reputation and customer relationship management company, shows just how important online customer reviews are.  They are “the new word of mouth,” Womply says. Since more reviews means more profit, you should do everything possible to generate as many online reviews as you can for your practice.

Increased Revenue

The study evaluated online review data for more than 200,000 small businesses across the United States: from restaurants to hair salons to dental practices. The most important findings include:

  • More reviews means up to 54% more in yearly revenue.
  • Businesses claiming their free listings on four or more customer review sites earn 58% more revenue than those that don’t.
  • Responding to as few as one of every four reviews can boost revenue by 35%.

A couple of the findings seem counter-intuitive:

  • Small businesses with 3.5 to 4.5 star ratings do better than those with 5 star ratings.
  • Businesses with 15-20% negative reviews earn 13% greater revenues than those with bad reviews in the 5-10% range.

We’ll get to that in a moment. First:

Reviews = Trust

Potential patients always look for a dentist with positive reviews, and they trust the reviews they find – that new word of mouth. Positive online reviews demonstrate your expertise, and will bring new patients to your office.

But, why would businesses with more negative reviews have greater revenues than those with fewer? It doesn’t add up, and Womply doesn’t know for sure why that is. But they think that when consumers research a business, they expect to find a certain number of negative reviews. Businesses that don’t have very many seem new or unproven.

Why would a 5-star business earn less revenue, on average, than one with fewer stars? There are no firm conclusions here, either, but 5-star businesses generally don’t have as many total reviews as those in 3.5 to 4.5 range. That may make consumers skeptical: maybe the business is cooking the numbers.

The More, The Merrier

The lesson from all of this is clear: the more reviews practice gets, the better. Multiple stars may look good in search engine results, but in the long run more reviews means greater profits. You should do everything you can to increase the number of online reviews your practice gets.

For dentists, the most important review sites include:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Healthgrades
  • 1-800-Dentist
  • Dentistry.com

How can your dental practice improve its online profile? ProspectaMarketing is an experienced Internet marketing firm specializing in dental practices. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.