The Power of the Patient Referral

I recently saw one of the truest ads ever: “Our satisfied customers are our best ads.”

Of all the tactics you utilize in an effort to market your dental practice, there is only one that validates and confirms any claim you make about your practice or the quality of your services. I’m speaking, of course, about patient referrals.

Patient referrals can take many forms, but referrals of any sort occur through word of mouth – and positive word of mouth is the result of an awesome customer experience. It’s human nature; when people are 110% satisfied with the experience they’ve had – whether at a concert, a hair salon or a dentist – they will talk, and they will encourage their friends and family to imitate them and invest in the product or service that has added value to their lives. This happens quite naturally and organically, but there is also something to be said of being intentional and requesting referrals or testimonials from your patients.

Consider: who among your patients would potentially make good advocates for your practice. Who are the regulars, the returning clients who’ve been using your services for some time? If you feel you’ve formed a good relationship with any of your patients, built on their trust in the consistent quality of the care you provide, ask them to write a brief testimonial about your practice. These testimonials should definitely be displayed on your practice’s website, either somewhere on the homepage or under a “What Our Patients Are Saying” tab. But don’t stop there. Thanks to the plethora of ways anyone can spread a message via social media, you can find creative ways to broadcast endorsements from your patients on the platforms you are currently using. One great way I see a number of dentists doing this is by video recording testimonials from their patients and uploading them to a free online video sharing network such as Youtube or Vimeo. For even greater marketing potential, post these videos on your practice’s Twitter and/or Facebook page. It’s all about spreading your message far and wide, and if the praise is coming from your patients, that message will have a stronger, more lasting impact than anything you could ever proclaim about yourself.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about patient testimonials is that you can never have too many. You can easily overuse most marketing tactics (even ones that have worked really well in the past) and therefore should always strive to create marketing material and promotions that are fresh, unique and relevant. But as far as showcasing testimonials from satisfied customers expressing how great your staff or the quality of your work is, the more the better! Also keep in mind that this should be an ongoing effort; don’t just publicize a few testimonials and leave it at that. Rather, you will benefit greatly by displaying new customer testimonials with some degree of frequency. This will show potential clients that your practice has a history of providing a great patient experience.

Remember, dentistry is also a business, and the best way to grow any business is through positive word of mouth from happy customers. If you make your patients happy, they will reciprocate by doing a good amount of your marketing for you.

What are your customers saying about you?