The near-total worthlessness of Relying on on-line reviews

It is rare that a week goes that I don't receive a solicitation by some company to boost the number of my online reviews to help me grow my business.  Of course, this help comes with a contract committment and monthly fees - adding several $1000 to my cost of doing business annually.  As a healthcare provider, I know that my patients are price conscious and do not want to spend their healthcare dollars on unnecessary stuff, I always ask myself "how will this purchase help me deliver better orthodontic care?", before adding expenses to my (already pretty steep) overhead.  If the answer is "yes - my patients will benefit from this purchase!", then I either make the purchase right away or begin saving up for a future purchase.  Believe me, not all new toys make the cut.   High quality brackets that make treatment more efficent and are easier for me to use - YES!, I buy those.  Costly promises of more Google review - NO!, that adds nothing to the quality of the orthodontic care found at Ellis Orthodontics.

Not only does focusing my attention on my on-line reviews drive up overhead, they also take my attention off patient care and put it on something I call "how to game the system".  What do I mean by "game the system"?  Well, that would be the age old idea that you can short cut the tried and true method of orthodontic success - persistent, consistent, committment to your patient's orthodontic health and wellbeing, with a get-rich-quick sceme via a lot of on-line reviews.  The more I worry about what is on-line, the less time I am able to spend focusing on my patients.  (what an ironic thing to post in a blog!)

The idea that healthcare businesses can game the system to get rich quick thanks to the internet  is very popular propaganda with lots and lots of self-proclaimed marketing experts, these days.  I have found that the best ROI for my business is delivering really good care and treating my patients like I would want to be treated.  If you want to leave an on-line review, great.  But I refuse to buy into the idea that Google has more influence on the success of my business than I do.