After purchasing his practice the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence in Philadelphia in 2007, Dr. Leonard Tau solely used the power of the internet to help grow his new patient base and went against the traditional way of marketing one’s dental office . He lectures nationally and internationally on internet marketing, social media and reputation marketing and its ability to make your dental office more visible and credible. He is also the General Manager of the Dental Division for Birdeye a reputation marketing platform and founder of iSocial Digital a consulting firm that helps dentists develop a comprehensive online marketing plan. His content rich, engaging seminars allow him to bring his first hand experiences to his audiences.
Chosen as one of the top leaders in dental consulting by Dentistry Today, Dr. Leonard Tau DMD is a Dentist, Consultant, Speaker, Practice owner and Podcaster. Few professionals within the dental industry have the level of expertise, knowledge, and passion for the field. He has traveled the country educating dental professionals to help them succeed in growing their practice, reigniting their passion for dentistry and navigating the fast-changing nature of the job. Be sure to check out his podcast, The Raving Patients Podcast available on iTunes.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1066 - Len Tau
AUDIO - DUwHF #1066 - Len Tau
Howard: It's just a huge, huge honor for me today to be podcast-interviewing Leonard Tau, DMD, FAGD. After purchasing his practice, the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence, in Philadelphia in 2007, Dr. Leonard Tau solely used the power of the internet to help grow his new patient base and went against the traditional way of marketing one’s dental office. He lectures nationally and internationally on internet marketing, social media and reputation marketing and its ability to make your dental office more visible and credible. He is also the General Manager of the Dental Division for BirdEye, a reputation marketing platform, and founder of iSocial Digital, a consulting firm that helps dentists develop a comprehensive online marketing plan. His content-rich, engaging seminars allow him to bring his firsthand experiences to the audiences. He's been chosen as one of the top leaders in dental consulting by Dentistry Today. Leonard is a Dentist, Consultant, Speaker, Practice owner and Podcaster. Few professionals within the dental industry have the level of expertise, knowledge, and passion for the field. He has traveled the country educating dental professionals to help them succeed in growing their practice, reigniting their passion for dentistry and navigating the fast changing nature of the job. Be sure to check out his podcast, The Raving Patients Podcast, available on iTunes.
Thanks for coming on the show, man, and when I'm reading that, this is why DSOs are getting so much more popular because a dentist just has to wear so many hats. It's so hard to come out of school. We just graduated six thousand dentists, Len, this month and it's so hard to learn crown and bridge and then molar endo and Invisalign and now you've got to be a social media marketer and HR and- There's just so many hats to wear. What advice do you give dentists on how to wear one more hat, which is advertising? When I got out of school. It was just the Yellow Pages. Now it's all gone digital.
Leonard: Yeah, when I came out of school, I graduated in '99 from Tufts. I thought I was ready for private practice. Let me start off by saying that and far away I was not, and you think you are, but you're not. I did a residency in Southern Jersey, it was AEGD. I did all dentistry. I didn't want to do hospital rotations. Again, I thought I was ready for private practice, went into a group practice in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and six years later I bought my own practice and that was in 2007. And you don't realize when you go into private practice you don't know everything that you have to be doing. You are a mini CEO of your own business. Like you said, you have to know how to do molar endo, you have to know how to do extractions and crown and bridge and you have to know how to handle the team and have to handle patients. Now you have to know how to do marketing and reviews and social media and it's hard and it's not the easiest thing to be doing. And it's very attractive for a dentist to graduate school and they’re are now- I'm sure you saw the article that was all over Dentaltown about the guy in the Wall Street Journal who is a million dollars in debt after however many years it is. Then, he's paying the minimum loan payments and after twenty-five years they're going to forgive his loan, but to be even if it's $400,000 or $500,000- I was very fortunate and I was talking to my dad and yesterday. I came out of school with no dental loans. My dad and my mom planned, they paid for school 100%, so I was very fortunate. I didn't realize how fortunate I was obviously till I finished school and kind of have my own practice, but these are people that have a mortgage without a house basically when they come out of school. And it's very enticing to go to these places and just get paid to do nothing other than do dentistry. There's a lot of rewards and a lot of great things to have for being a solo practitioner, but it's hard, it's not easy, and having to do all these things on top of being a dentist, make it all that more difficult to do and having to throw yourself into the marketing realm, it's difficult and I'm fortunate that I found my niche. I help dentists all over the country. I speak to hundreds of dentists a month with their reputation and their marketing online and I don't envy anybody coming out of school now because I'm forty-five almost and I've been doing it for twelve years on my own and it's not the easiest thing in the world for them to do.
Howard: So let's stay on that subject. What advice would you give these recent grads? Because they literally graduated last week. This is May 31st. Did Tufts already have their graduation ceremony?
Leonard: Yes, they did.
Howard: So what would you tell these people? Looking back, do you think the residency was a good idea? Would you go work for a DSO? Give them your advice. You've gone through this.
Leonard: I'm not a fan of the DSO model, so I don't recommend a DSO, but that's just my own personal opinion. I think take as much CE as you can. I strictly now work two days a week, Howard, Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesdays I have off, but I travel forty work weeks out of the year to various trade shows. We spoke at Action to Win together in Arizona a few weeks ago, but I travel to about forty meetings a year teaching, exhibiting for BirdEye, teaching the world about the power of online reviews. So the Mondays and Tuesday I'm in there, but I have very busy schedules because I only do certain procedures, and part of that is because I didn't enjoy doing things because I didn't do them in dental school. And I didn't want to practice on patients outside of school. That's what dental school's about. So I didn't take teeth out, I didn't do a lot of these things I wanted to do, so take as much CE as possible until you become comfortable with those procedures and find what you enjoy. Don't do it just because you're doing it and just because you want to make money. I think that's something that I am very fortunate is I love dentistry, but I love doing certain procedures within dentistry. I'm a general dentist for a reason. So find what you enjoy, do what you enjoy. Don't do it just because you have to pay loans back. Find your passion. I'm very fortunate I have my dental career I love, I have BirdEye, which I love, I speak, which I love, I love podcasting now. I wake up in the morning every morning and I'm excited to do what I'm doing that day and not everybody can say that. So again, find out what you enjoy doing, do as much of it as possible, tons of CE, whether it's from a business perspective to learn how to do better in your practice from a marketing perspective or even from a clinical perspective. There's so much CE right now, and I think most importantly, find a mentor. Find someone that can mentor you, teach you the way. Call a dentist in your area. See if you can learn from them because there's nothing better than finding a local dentist who can show you the way to be successful.
Howard: That's great advice. By the way, before we get in dentistry, you're from Philadelphia. Is the Rocky Statue still in front of the museum or whatever happened to that?
Leonard: They put it in front of the museum. So it's actually down below the museum by the stairs.
Howard: So they took it down, but they put it back right where they-
Leonard: Well, they moved it from the previous location. Just to clarify, I'm not from Philadelphia. I am a transplant from New York. So I'm a New Yorker. I'm a New York sports fan. I love every sports team from New York, but I came to Philadelphia after I did my residency and I stayed because I met my wonderful wife who was from Philadelphia and I decided because I already had a practice here that I was working at, I would stay here, but I'm very much a New Yorker still.
Howard: So you didn't move to Philadelphia for the Rocky Statue?
Leonard: No, I did not.
Howard: That was not the main reason?
Leonard: And I never actually seen the Rocky Statue. I've never been down there.
Howard: So what was it? It was a front of a museum, then they moved it or…
Leonard: I think it was in front of it. I think it was from a different part of the museum and they moved it down to the bottom of the steps is what I think. I actually (unclear 00:08:31) three weeks ago when I went on my son's trip to Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies play and the Independence Hall. I'd never seen the Liberty Bell, and I've lived in Philadelphia for almost twenty years. I'd never seen the Liberty Bell. We did that on a class trip, so I finally saw that.
Howard: And you know what's the coolest part of the Liberty Bell? It's running right across the street from the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Leonard: I still haven't been to that either.
Howard: Oh my God, I think that's my favorite art museum in America.
Leonard: I haven't been to the Betsy Ross House. Just like if you live in New York, you don't go to the Statue of Liberty all the time, you know?
Howard: Here's what's really embarrassing. Half my staff have not been to the Grand Canyon, and when you go to the Grand Canyon, everybody there is from Japan and Germany. But anyway what's hot and what's not now in reputation management? And hell, it wasn't even a word or a term five years ago and now it's all the buzz.
Leonard: Well, I don't love the term "reputation management". Reputation management is an old term. Reputation management is worrying about negative reviews, taking negative reviews off the first page of Google. I want practices to focus on getting positive reviews, getting your happy patients to talk about you online, giving that to help promote you, getting that in front of Google. So Google will promote your practice so more people see it. It's your happy patients talking about you online to get more new patients, so I call it reputation marketing. I hate reputation management. That's like reverse SEO. So what's the latest and greatest? Well, literally I was just in Hawaii at the APD meeting and I personally had my reviews drop from two thirty five to a hundred and seventy seven. So I lost about fifty Google reviews and I was like, "What the hell?" So it turns out that I was one of the original guys who got involved with the reviews back in 2008, '09 and '10 before Google+ existed, and when Google+ came about, everybody created a Google+ account with a name. Prior to Google+, nobody had a name on Google. Everything was called a Google user. After many years Google finally said, "Okay, anybody with a Google user is anonymous, so we're going to consider those reviews somewhat not credible anymore." So overnight, anybody who is a long time reviewer or a long time user of reviews like myself, because I've been doing it so long, those reviews dropped off Google, So literally overnight, I went from two hundred thirty five to a hundred and seventy seven, so it tells you that Google wants fresh, current, relevant reviews rather than older reviews. So that's some really hot news that literally just came out in the last week that most dentists don't really know existed. Overnight they may have lost, even if it was six reviews, most of the times they lost it because they just got old reviews that Google said are no longer credible. So that's the latest and greatest stuff that came out, along with the fact that Google doesn't want you to gate reviews anymore. So gate is asking a prescreening question whether the patient had a good experience or not prior to getting a review from them. So they don't want any more gated reviews so they don't have that question prior to asking them to put a review on Google anymore.
Howard: Wow. It's always changing out. Now there's all these websites. It seems like every website you go now that you have to re-agree to the terms of conditions because of something that went down in the EU. Will that affect in any dentists or not really?
Leonard: Not really, no. I just think that there's so many sites, there's so many websites, there's so many ways a patient can leave a review about you online. There are so many ways that they can talk negatively about you online. I just think that dentists have to be aware of what's going on and be able to know how to deal with it. I don't know if you saw recently in the news, I know this was on Dentaltown in the forums as well, that a gynecologist was given a negative review on Yelp and I always have taught from the very beginning, the best defense against a negative review is more positive reviews. Just ask your happy patients to write a review about you. This guy who had only four Yelp reviews at the time, one bad, decided to sue the patient for a million dollars, $1,000,000. Now Howard, what is your opinion of that?
Howard: He's an asshole.
Leonard: Exactly. Now I put this on a number of Facebook groups and it was very interesting to see the reaction of the dentists on there because they were saying, "Congratulations, a doctor finally decided to sue a patient." Now there has been many doctors who have sued patients and it's the Streisand effect. I'm sure you know about that terminology, what the Barbara Streisand effect was. Do you know about that?
Leonard: So what the Streisand effect was Barbra Streisand I think had a home in Malibu and a helicopter flew above and was taking pictures of her home and she found out who the photographer was and sued the photographer for taking pictures of her house. Now nobody gave two craps about her house before the photographer took a picture of it. She brought all this negative publicity to her own self because she sued this photographer. So of course if you now look again, when the guy got a- Before this happened, he had four reviews, four stars, whatever it was. Now fast forward two days later, this has been on New York Post. It was on Good Morning America. It's been all over the news. He has sixty-eight one-star reviews on Yelp all calling the guy an asshole, every name under the book, because he's suing this patient for a million dollars. The woman now has a GoFundMe account trying to raise money to fight the gynecologist for suing her, so this is the worst publicity someone could have. The best defense is just to get more positive reviews from your happy patients, and that's what I've been teaching dentists for years: not to react in a way that hurts them. This will never go away. It's like the lion killer. Cecil the lion? When that guy shot the lion-
Howard: Walter Palmer or what wa-
Leonard: Walter Palmer, yup. He had all these bad reviews written about his dental practice because he's shot and killed a lion. Huge publicity. At least he didn't sue somebody, but don't push this negative publicity upon you. It doesn't make any sense, doesn't. You're doing that to yourself.
Howard: You mentioned Yelp and one of the first times- You really exploded as a legend on Dentaltown. Going all the way back to 2013, you wrote an article, a second opinion, "Yelp Can Be Detrimental to Your Practice: Ways to Combat It" by Leonard F. Tau. Do you remember writing that article?
Leonard: I do.
Howard: My God, that was huge. If someone read that article today, have your views changed on Yelp from 2013 to 2018, five years later? You still stand by that article or is it all changed now?
Leonard: First of all, that article put me on the map on Dentaltown, but it also got me attention for a lot of the other things I was doing and I don't think I'd be where I am today in the position I was in if it wasn't for that article. So I owe a lot of my successes to that article being written and published. I met actually-
Howard: Is it a still good article to push out? I got the article. Is it still a good one to push out on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and all that stuff?
Leonard: I'm not sure it's as relevant enough because Yelp is still- There's a lot of dentists that don't like Yelp, because of Yelp's business practices and I teach a class, I had many dental conferences called "Help on Yelp" because I've studied it over the years. I know how to beat it at its own game, but you have to stick by the rules. Back then it was more of what you heard. It was all hearsay back then. Now I really know how to beat it at its own game. But Yelp in Philadelphia is not that big a deal. Yelp in L.A., Yelp in San Francisco, Yelp in Chicago, Miami, New York, those are much bigger deals for dentists to have to really make sure they have a huge Yelp presence, huge number of Yelp reviews. Philadelphia, not too much. But Yelp's business practices are really put into question. I don't necessarily believe they extort money. People who work with Yelp have to understand they're paying Yelp for advertising. They're not paying them to get the reviews in and out of the filter. If you have a patient who is an active Yelper, someone who leaves a lot of reviews, has a lot of friends, those Yelp reviews will come out of the filter and stay out of the filter. If they are not, if someone who's never been to Yelp before or a patient comes in and you tell them, "Hey, do a Yelp review," but they'd never been on Yelp before ever, they create a profile and they do a Yelp review for your practice, that review's not going to stay. It's just that simple. That's just how their policy is. Now if they're filtered out and then they go and leave a review for their gynecologist or cleaners or haircut person, and then they friend forty people, that review may come out of the filter. So you never know the true way they do business, but you have to understand, if you're paying them, you're paying them for premium placement on their website, not to get the reviews in and out of the filter. If you think any other thing, you're wasting your money, and I don't think if you don't have a lot of reviews, you should be even spending money with them because if people see your ad, they're not going to click on it unless you look great on Yelp. So unless you look great on Yelp, don't pay for advertising. So my views on Yelp haven't changed in the sense that I just don't love the business practices. I think they can be detrimental to any business, but times have changed over the last five years.
Howard: Do you advise your clients to use Yelp or do you stick to Facebook and Google?
Leonard: I think Yelp is a very important citation, which is a site that Google trusts immensely. So from a citation perspective, making sure you have a claimed profile, making sure the name, address and phone number's consistent. You have photos on there, you have office hours correct. As long as the information is on there is normal and correct, I think you're great. I think if you're in one of those cities I mentioned like maybe Seattle or a couple of the other cities, I think it's important to get reviews on there, but if you're in a town like Waxahachie, Texas, or the middle of Mississippi where you don't have people who are active on Yelp, Yelp going to do nothing for you because the reviews can't stay. So I think it's very geographic-centric. I think the most important site, no matter what, 100% is Google. There's no doubt in my mind that you have to dominate Google no matter where you are in the country because Google runs the world. Google runs the Internet. So if they don't like you, they don't trust you, they won't show you online. And if they don't show you, you're invisible and if you're invisible, people can't find you. So if you're doing a search- Howard, if you look for a dentist in Phoenix where you are, if you were looking for a dentist for Phoenix, what would you search for?
Howard: I go to Google and search "dentists near me".
Leonard: Right, or "dentists in Phoenix" or something. There are three dentists on that list there. You need to be one of those three. Very few people click on more places. When you're searching for anything, how often do you search past page one of Google?
Howard: Yeah, not hardly.
Leonard: Okay, and do you use any other search engines other than Google? Do you use Bing?
Leonard: Do you know what Bing stands for?
Leonard: Bing is "because it's not Google". Bing, because it's not Google.
Howard: Is that serious? Is that a joke or is that true?
Leonard: No, it's a joke, but Bing is "because it's not Google", B-I-N-G. That's why people don't use any- I think 90% of the search people use is on Google. They say it's like 75%, but I don't know anybody who doesn't use Google for a search and you know, the best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google search results because nobody goes there. So you need to make yourself visible and credible on Google and focus on Google. And Facebook is important too because more and more people are spending time on Facebook. The average person spends two hours on Facebook in the day. So you have to have a Facebook presence as well. So Google, Facebook, to a lesser extent depending on where you are, Yelp, and other than that, doesn't matter. If you're not on those three places, you're not being found. A lot to do with your success online is going to be dependent on how you look on those places.
Howard: So what do you think my homies are doing right and what do you think they're doing wrong?
Leonard: Well, I think that they need to focus their attention on making themselves credible and visible before they spend their money on marketing, and too many people throw too many dollars into paper click advertising, whether it's on Facebook or Google, social media, display advertising, SEO without making themselves credible. And if you don't have reviews online, no matter what you're doing, you're not going to be effective with your ROI. We talk about return on investment. If you're spending money on something and you're not seeing ROI, you should stop it. So if you're spending $500 a month in SEO and you're on page two after a year and you spend $6,000, you got no patients from it if you're still on page two. I think the moral of the story here is that if you're going to do marketing, make sure you have reviews before you do any of the other marketing you're doing, and not everybody does that. People focus on other things first, which is, "I've got to get more new patients", "I've got to go to Google AdWords and get paid advertising going first," when they have six reviews. I think that's backwards. "I've got to spend $10,000 in a brand new website," when they're in business for two months. That's backwards. You need to be found first online.
Howard: So it sounds like you really think that the most important metric in social media digital marketing is your number of reviews.
Leonard: Well, I think it's number of reviews, your score too obviously. So when they have polls out there, surveys and they said that 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The two main things they look at are the number of reviews and the star rating attached to it. Reviews, 73% of people want reviews within the last three months, 70% want them within the last two weeks. These are some really strong statistics that show the value of online reviews, and if you don't think that that's the way it is, then- They always say, "I'm a word-of-mouth practice. I don't need reviews," or "I'm in a small town and there's no dentists. There's only a couple of dentists in my town." Well, what happens when that young guy comes into town who has a ton of social capital, has a ton of followers online and opens up two doors down from you and all of a sudden he takes a number of insurances and he pulls out some of your patients from your practice. You don't have a lot of reviews. Then you have to react. I don't want you to be reactive. I want you to be proactive and being proactive is making it a point today, tomorrow, yesterday to start asking your patients for reviews or feedback as I call it rather than just hoping for the best and hoping that patients walk in your door. Reviews are literally the foundation or the building block to doing other things online.
Howard: Why do you think- I'll go in my backyard. I got two buddies, great, great, great friends and one of them has two hundred and nineteen reviews and the other guy right next door has three, but they're both amazing dentists or quality guys. Both of them can treat anybody (unclear 00:25:24). Why do you one has two hundred and nineteen and one has three? Obviously the one with two hundred and nineteen is working it, right? Because random entropy- It couldn't be that two dentists, same age, same street, next door, you just couldn't have random that one guy had two hundred patients that left and wanted to write a review and the other guy only had three when they're both adorable, amazing, nice guys.
Leonard: But what's really funny is, and you have people who have been in practice- How long has the one with three been in practice? You have any idea?
Howard: We're all the same age. We're all fifty-five. So we're very, very young. We're all very young, who has practiced thirty years and one has three reviews and one has two hundred and nineteen.
Leonard: So you would think by normal patients, just normal activity- It proves a point here though. You would think by normal behavior, people would just go online and leave reviews in twenty years or thirty years, however long he's been in business for you. You think that people would go online to his page and write reviews when naturally he only has three of them. Obviously in all those years, only three have gone online, so he's not doing anything to get reviews. Now you take the reverse. The one with two hundred and nineteen, I think you said, they're obviously using some type of service, whether it's BirdEye, whether it's Podium, another company, whether they're just asking, one's making it a point to ask or get the reviews, one's ignoring them completely and just hoping for the best. The first thing, the most important thing you have to do is ask patients. You have to make it a culture in your office to ask patients to do it. If your patients aren't doing it, and you're not asking, you never going to get them. So I think that's what separates those two offices. One's doing it, one's not, and if you don't do it, you're going to get none. So that's the biggest disparity there. One's doing, one's not doing it.
Howard: If someone's listening to you right now- So they should go to Google, type in their name, their dental office and they look it up and they say, "Okay, I've only got four reviews." How do they contact you? Is is Dr. Len Tau, L-E-N-T-A-U dot com? Is that what they do? Or do they go to birdeye.com?
Leonard: Well, they can always contact me directly so they can reach out to me. My speaking website, my consulting website is drlentau.com. Obviously if they want information about BirdEye, they can contact me at birdeye.com. They are two separate entities completely. I don't own BirdEye; I run the dental division for them. I had my own software called iSocial reviews and BirdEye acquired my company from me almost four and a half years ago now, so I run their dental division for them, but they certainly go to BirdEye's website and they can reach out to them and they can request a demo of our software that way, but if they want me they can also reach out to me on my own website. Either way it's easy.
Howard: Give them the website. Which website should they go to?
Leonard: So it's drlentau.com, D-R-L-E-N-T-A-U dot com.
Howard: Okay, that'd be the first one.
Leonard: Yeah, or they can reach out me at birdeye.com. It's B-I-R-D-E-Y-E dot com.
Howard: Where does that name come from, BirdEye?
Leonard: Well, it's a bird's-eye view of your business, so it's like overlooking everything for a business. So we were able to tell them where they're struggling, where they're doing well from a review perspective. So it's the bird's-eye view of the business.
Howard: And what if they want to email you? You give that out?
Leonard: Yeah, they can email me at drlentau, D-R-L-E-N-T-A-U at BirdEye dot com.
Howard: And what is your average client? This is Dentistry Uncensored, so get in the nitty gritty. What is your average client? How much money do they give you? Does the money pay for the service? Do you take more money to buy Google AdWords? Tell them how it works.
Leonard: We're a strictly a reputation marketing company, so we send out automated messages after the appointment asking for feedback about the experience. We integrate with 98% of the practice management software that are out there. After the appointment, the text message goes out asking for feedback. When the patients click through they're either- We don't have a gate anymore, so the ad says something like, "We hope your experience exceeded your expectations. If for some reason it did not, please choose to contact us below. If you would like to leave a positive review, click on one of the sites below." We have three sites normally: Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, and then below that, contact us directly. There is a big red button that says, "Reach out to us directly," so that they can go direct.
Howard: You said that you're a New Yorker. You said that real fast. Three websites, what were they? Google, Healthgrades?
Leonard: Sorry. Google, Facebook and Healthgrades. And then below it it says, "Contact us directly if your experience did not meet your expectations," and there's a big red button there, so they're able to contact us directly if they had a problem. We're one of two companies that has a direct Google partnership now that allows the patients to leave a review in our software that will go directly to Google through our software as long as the patients have a Gmail account or Google account. We also put the reviews on their social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, their website. We create a microsite for them which aggregates all the reviews around the internet, so we're generally just focusing on the reviews. Certainly depends on the number of patients they see in a typical day to day to determine how many reviews they're going to get in a typical month. I have some practices that are seeing fifty or sixty that are getting near twenty or thirty a month. I have some practices that are seeing fifteen to twenty patients a day that are getting ten to twenty a month in terms of reviews online.
Howard: And how much does this cost?
Leonard: $200 a month or $2,000 for the year with no setup fees, so it's a relatively inexpensive platform for what they get.
Howard: So buy ten months, you get two months free.
Leonard: Correct. You're getting-
Howard: So for the average homie who gives you $200 a month, how many reviews do you think they would yet? You're saying depends on how many people they're seeing a day?
Leonard: Yeah, but a small- Like even though I have an associate now, I'm still a one-dentist practice. You know should be getting anywhere from eight to ten reviews a month, so at the end of the year you should have a hundred reviews.
Howard: There's two hundred and eleven thousand Americans alive today with an active license to practice dentistry. A hundred and fifty thousand work thirty-two hours a week or more in general dentistry and thirty thousand work thirty-two hours or more a week as a specialty. Of those groups, of all those that are working thirty-two hours a week or more, what do you think the average number of reviews-
Leonard: That they have?
Leonard: I would say the average dentist in the US probably has ten to fifteen reviews, maybe less.
Howard: You think it's that high?
Leonard: Maybe eight to ten. Look, I have some that have six hundred reviews, I have many that have a hundred reviews. There's all these that have two thousand reviews, believe it or not, but maybe the average is five to eight reviews. I mean it's not any higher than that. I mean it could be. I don't think it's any less than that though, because when you average it out- We have seven thousand active clients who use BirdEye from a dental perspective-
Howard: You have seven thousand dentists?
Howard: Seven thousand?
Howard: So are you the biggest firm then in this space?
Leonard: We're one of them. There's a couple other ones that are somewhat big, but we're certainly one of the leaders in the industry. We have a lot and it's not seven thousand direct, so we have about forty-five hundred direct, but we have a couple of larger resellers that use BirdEye as their engine, who (unclear 00:33:29) they have other names, but yeah, we have a total of about seven thousand dentists. We have about twenty-seven thousand businesses who use our software because we're not only dental.
Howard: Holy moly Len, congratulations on that. That's huge. So tell us, what have you learned from seven thousand dentists using it? Do they get more reviews than they did, and does this translate to higher numbers of new patients, and does that translate to increased in collections?
Leonard: So here's a really interesting thing that we did. We have a couple of large organizations that work with us, some large DSOs. Some of the bigger DSOs are with us and one in particular, they had fifty locations with us and we analyzed all the reviews, we do some keyword analysis, and we can put all these keywords into little buckets based on the analysis of the keywords. So like, one-star review, "I waited two hours", and five-star reviews, "the dentist was great". We put them into little segments into our platform, and we asked the people who run the business, the CEO and CFO, "Can you tell us which practices make the most revenue? So give us from top to bottom, from number one to number fifty." And almost to a T, the highest-rated offices made the most money and the lowest-rated obviously made the least money. It was almost to a T. We've also worked with a company called Blaze Pizza. They were a franchise for pizza, a pizzeria and they had their annual get together with all their franchise owners and they were using BirdEye in their organization as well, and they showed it during their presentation from the CEO and CFO. Their highest-rated offices were also the highest grossing offices as well. So if you give great customer service and you have great reviews online, you definitively make lot more money. No doubt in my mind. We proved it many, many times over, but it all starts with the customer service. So if you don't have great customer service, you're not going to get good reviews because if you read reviews, Howard, most of them are not "the dentist sucks". It's "the staff is rude", "the dentist ran late", "my information wasn't private", "there was an insurance issue", "the money was a problem". It's not about the dentistry. So you've got to fix your customer service first. We definitely learned that most of the negative reviews are not dental-related issues; it's customer service issues, so it's a customer experience problem. So what we learned was that the revenue is directly related to the number of reviews that the practice has — the higher rating, the more money you make. But the practices that get the most new patients are the ones that have the most reviews as well, so there's a practice that we have that has about six hundred reviews online and they started with two, two years ago, February of 2016, right around the time of the midwinter meeting in Chicago, and they had two reviews. They have six hundred and thirteen now I think, so three hundred plus a year they're getting and they're seeing an average of fifteen to eighteen new patients a month from those reviews because they ask. So what is fifteen new patients to a practice? Huge numbers, Do you know what the average value of a new patient to a practice is nowadays? About $2,000. So I mean you're spending $2,000 annually to get $30,000 a month in some cases. To me it's such an easy decision and I still get people tell me they think $2000 is expensive for the year. I'm like, "You need your head examined. You're in the wrong business then," because I talked to probably a good three, four hundred dentists a month now, whether it's at my seminars or at my trade shows or even on the phone because they do five to ten demos a day sometimes. "Oh, that's too expensive. I can't afford that." I'm like, "What are you talking about? You don't how to run a business if you can't afford it." You appreciate that because I know you talk about that stuff. But yeah, those are some things that we definitely learned. The more reviews you have, the more money you're making. The higher the rating, the higher the revenue when you compare these businesses together, but you've got to have the customer service.
Howard: Okay, and you've been talking a lot and it sounds like you're talking about general dentist, family practice. There is nine specialties. Is there anything unique about any of the nine specialties? You talked about a new patient is worth two thousand bucks. Well, for an orthodontist, hell, Invisalign-
Howard: You can't get Invisalign in Phoenix for under six-five hundred. Oral surgeons- So do you work with a lot of specialists? Do they use it more than general dentists or something? Let's talk about specialists because a lot of them are on the show.
Leonard: So the best specialists for us are orthodontist and pedodontists, strictly because they have a huge number of patients, huge number of patients. And it's quantity when it comes to reviews you're getting, so the more number of patients you treat, the more reviews you're going to get, simply as that. As you said, orthodontists are doing Invisalign, so each patient for them is higher monetary value. We have a lot of orthodontists, we have a lot of pedodontists, we have some periodontists, to a lesser extent endodontists because they don't get patients online that often. They're very, very referral-based businesses so the endodontists, not so much, but the endodontists do very well because they don't see as many, but it's more of a personalized approach. Those are the main specialists that we work with, orthodontists, my oral surgeon-
A funny story. My oral surgeon that I use in my practice who is a personal friend of mine said to me when I first started my own business, "Len, we can talk about it, but there's no chance of buying your product." I'm like, "Okay, no problem." He got two bad reviews online in about a week. What do you think he did? Call me on the phone and he said, "Len, let's sign up." I was like, "Great." So he started with two bad reviews, now he's with me three years, he has over four hundred and fifty Google reviews now. Every single year — and he just got another one — he gets about four or five All-on-Four cases specifically from those four hundred plus reviews he has now, which are thirty thousand-dollar cases he's getting four or five times a year for a $2,000 a year investment.
Howard: Yeah, All-on-Four in Phoenix, they charge twenty-five thousand an arch for that, so that's a $25,000 or a $50,000 case. So talk specific, Len. They go to drlentau.com, and it's going to be $200 a month. They go to drlentau.com, they sign up, $200 a month. What exactly are you going to do for them?
Leonard: We're going to help them get reviews online automated so they don't have to do anything because once we integrate with the practice management software, it's all automated, which is great. So we spend about an hour and a half with their team on the phone integrating into the practice management software. Everything's done for them. It's not team driven. I do recommend they have a conversation with the patients, letting them know they're getting a text message, but it's very hands-off for the team. And then when the patients leave, we send the text message and off they go. It's a very, very hands-off approach. We have a very turnkey solution for these dentists because we know how busy they are and being one of them, we wanted to make it so simple for them to be able to get these reviews on the sites that matter.
Howard: Okay, now I'm going to ask the uncomfortable question. I know you can't answer it. Maybe you can, I don't know. They're going to set up a practice. You work with all of these practice management systems. There's Dentrix, Eaglesoft, SoftDent, Open Dental. There's tons of them, but if your daughter was twenty-five and just walked out of dental school, you use all those systems, which practice management system do you think works best for them?
Leonard: If I was just starting a practice now, 1,000,000%, I would go to Open Dental. Not even-
Howard: Nice. I just switched after thirty years is of SoftDent.
Leonard: If I was starting a practice now, there's no other choice I would ever give only because of the amount of money it costs, and look, we want to cut back on expenses anyway we can. If they could perform the same way as the big ends- And I do with Dentrix in the beginning. It just doesn't pay for me to change at this point, but it's already paid for. But if it's going to cost you $15,000 or $20,000, whatever it costs now to set up a practice management software, I would just go with something that is just as good and it's a monthly fee.
Howard: Okay, but I'm going to get more specific. So this dentist goes to drlentau.com, the dentist uses Open Dental and then what do you do? Do you have to train the staff? Is it a Webinar? Is it a software?
Leonard: We have an onboarding. So the onboarding spends about an hour and a half integrating with Open Dental and training the staff for about forty-five minutes on how to use our software. It's all automated, like I said, and then the next day the reviews go out. It's a very simple process.
Howard: Do they go out by email or phone text?
Leonard: We do text mostly and then we can do an email as well. The email open rate across the board is about 5%. The text message's open rate is about 35%, so I'd much rather send the text message.
Howard: Now, you send the patient a text. Some people are just weird. Not everyone's normal like me. If you text someone an online review and they feel like that's an invasion of privacy, is there something on there where-
Leonard: They can stop it. It says you can stop, just hit stop and we won't ever send it again and it's a practice-
Howard: What percent of patients hit that stop thing?
Leonard: Oh, maybe 5%, 3%? 5% at the most.
Leonard: Yeah, because when we're only sending one time to them within a thirty-day period. So they're only getting at one time.
Howard: You know, I've only been texted one time by a healthcare provider, "one minute is all it takes for our review", but it's my proctologist doing my five-year colonoscopy. I don't know, just some reason, I don't know, I just didn't want to leave a review about my colonoscopy that I get every five years. So you're going to text every single patient that was scheduled in Open Dental today where-
Leonard: As long as they've not been sent a text message within the last thirty days. So the only information that we're taking out of Open Dental is the name of the patient, the email address, the mobile phone number, and the last visit date. So if the last visit day was within thirty days. We're not sending it again to them.
Howard: But do you send it the day they came into that appointment?
Leonard: Yeah, that day. At the end of the day, yes.
Howard: Because it's not the most likely time you'd really review (unclear 00:44:47) that day.
Leonard: Yes. I actually prefer the practice uses a hybrid method which is they actually pick some patients during the day that they're going to send it to while they're there in the office. So it's done some in the office manually and then some at the end of the day automated and that gives them the best results. By far and away, that gets them the best results.
Howard: Is "texted" a word?
Leonard: "Texted"? Yeah.
Howard: Okay, so each patient seen that day is texted- Is that even the right word? "Texted"?
Leonard: Yeah, that's right.
Howard: Is texted a link to do an online review. Now when they hit that link, are they going to be going to Google or Healthgrades or Yelp or… Where were they going?
Leonard: Let's role play. I'm going to send you my text as we're speaking right now. How does that sound okay? So I'll send you a text. We'll role play this out. Howard, what is your- Do you mind giving out your cell phone or you don't want to give out your cell phone number?
Howard: Will you edit it out?
Leonard: Yeah, I just sent it to you, Howard. So you will get the text message.
Howard: Wow, it's got a picture of your lovely staff.
Leonard: Yep, and it asks for?
Howard: That looks like a modeling agency. Really, those are beautiful staff.
Howard: PA Center Dental. "Hi, Howard. We value your feedback. Please tell us about your experience by clicking the link. Text stop to unsubscribe." So I just text the link, now it's taking me to BirdEye, and it says, "Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence, sixteen hundred and forty-seven reviews with a four point eight star rating. We hope that your experience in our office exceeded your expectations. We really enjoy seeing you and I hope you want to leave us a positive review. However, if you're not completely satisfied, we hope that you will contact us directly to make things right for you." So then I can click "Review us on Google" or "Review us on Facebook". Before I click one, you have Google on top, Facebook below. That's because Google is probably more important?
Leonard: Correct, Google is more important, so I-
Howard: But what factor?
Leonard: Hundreds, I mean there's not even-
Howard: A hundred to one.
Leonard: At least, maybe more. I mean, there's no comparison between Google and Facebook. You want as many Google reviews as you can possibly get because Google runs the Internet. Now below it says, "Please contact us directly" if you saw that. If they hit the red button, it will go directly back to the practice.
Howard: Now I got to sign in with your Google account.
Leonard: Do you have a Google account or not?
Howard: Yeah, I just don't know what I'm going to do when Ryan moves out because when Ryan moves out, I'm going to revert back to the Flintstones. Okay. "Howard Farran, posting publicly. Share details of your experience of this place." That's pretty neat, and Lenny- Len- Do you ever go by Lenny? Do they call you Lenny?
Leonard: Oh, "Lenny" was when I was a kid and when I was in dental school. After I graduated dental school, I just saw a girl who was in Hawaii with me at the APD and she called me "Lenny" and nobody knows me as "Lenny" other from dental school so…
Howard: What does your mother call you when she's really mad at you?
Leonard: She calls me Leonard.
Howard: And is Lenny Kravitz your favorite musician?
Leonard: No, no, no.
Howard: Does he make the top ten?
Howard: Yeah, he's that good. So I'm shocked dude. Seven thousand clients. Congratulations. That is huge. And by the way, this isn't a commercial. No one's ever paid me to come on the show. Several people have wanted to pay me to come on the show. I asked Len three different times. I was lecturing with him last month, so all this adulation isn't a paid for commercial. I don't do that stuff. So you're giving a lot of good advice. You need Open Dental and you need to have- Another question I want to ask. So let's say I go on there and I say, "You're horrible," and I post that review. Is it going to be there a hundred years from now or do they have a life expectancy? Do they drop off some day?
Leonard: f you had left a negative review there, it would be posted to Google, unfortunately. The best defense against a negative review is just to get more positives, and that's what we do. So it's not going to limit every single positive review you have. But Google wants to have credible businesses. They want your business to be credible and as you know, Howard, being a business owner, you can't please every patient. So having a credible business doesn't mean you have all five-star reviews. Google does not respect that and they want you to have some negative reviews. We're not a perfect business. So the best defense against a negative is more positives.
Howard: I totally get that, but I was just wondering, is it on there for eternity?
Leonard: Well, we thought so, but again, I told you when we first started that I went from two hundred thirty five to a hundred and seventy seven reviews because Google took away reviews that were anonymous five or six years ago. So you can't leave an anonymous review anymore on Google. You can't do that.
Howard: So anonymous reviews are gone.
Leonard: Anonymous reviews were eliminated last week. You can no longer leave an anonymous review on Google anymore.
Howard: Wow, so anonymous reviews are gone, but the reviews where Google knows who you are that left this review, again, are they just permanent? I thought it was funny when the EU was doing this deal- Did you read that deal from Google when the EU, the government officials and all that were passing all this regulation on terms and conditions for the Internet, which is mostly aimed at Google and Facebook. The government leaders wanted what, thirty-eight thousand things about them that the politicians permanently deleted from the internet. Did I paraphrase that right?
Leonard: You did. The only way a review is going to come down from Google is if it violates one of their terms and conditions. So there's like twelves things. It has to actually meet one of them for Google to take it down. So I had told a patient to stop her bitching and moaning in my practice. I said, "Stop your bitching and moaning." And she goes, "You called me a bitch." Like, "No I didn't. I said you were complaining. You were bitching and moaning." She says, "No, no, you called me a bitch." And then she went on Google and told all of the followers that I didn't like gay people. That's what she wrote. I didn't like homosexuals. So I wrote to Google, said that this is not true, and about seven other dentists posted on my page that this is not Dr. Tau, he has nothing against gay people. Google took that review down immediately after seeing that. So unless there's like racist or hate or anything like that on Google, they're not going to take these reviews down in most cases, even if it wasn't from a patient. It's very hard to prove that. So, they're going to stay on there for quite a long time.
Howard: So what advice would you give Roseanne Barr today? How do you do damage control for somebody like that?
Leonard: Use common sense next time. She just has no common sense. Her ex-husband, Tom Arnold, said that she wanted to get her show canceled. That's why she did that. That's the latest news. That's just stupid what she did, but some people are just stupid. What are you going to do?
Howard: Yeah, and that's something else. I can't believe we're at an hour. What questions was I not smart enough to ask, Len? I'm going to call you Lenny. Lenny Kravitz, Lenny Kravitz, DMD, FAGD. What questions was I not smart enough to ask?
Leonard: No, I think we covered everything. Negative reviews, BirdEye- Oh, my podcast, The Raving Patients Podcast, it's downloadable on iTunes. I'll have it on Dentaltown soon. How to deal with negative reviews… I think we covered everything. I think we're good.
Howard: Crazy, so Dentaltown has a quarter million dentists. When Jobs came out with a smartphone, we came out with a podcast and sixty thousand of those quarter million dentists download the podcast. Those are pretty much millennials. The guys my age are on desktop, (unclear 00:53:21) desktop millennials, but they have an hour commute each way. The views on these podcasts- Let me show you just one. "How To Open A Dental Office". Look at the views this got. Sixty hundred and eighty-eight thousand four hundred and fifty eight views. This technology is insane because because they're free and they get information, but who would've thought- When I first saw a cell phone the first time, it was like a brick attached to a briefcase, and then I thought it had reached all that and a bag of chips when it was the little Motorola flip phone. The smart phone, who would have ever thought that you'd be carrying the power of an IBM mainframe in your pocket? Put a podcast on there and have it downloaded sixty hundred and eighty-eight thousand four hundred and fifty eight times.
Leonard: That's crazy.
Howard: It is crazy. And they tell me they get in their car in the morning, they open the Dentaltown app and they're just like, "What am I in the mood for?" or "What problem do I have? What's wrong with my dental office?" And you just came in- I'm going to call you a Toys 'R' Us or Babies 'R' Us, a category killer. You come in as a dentist that just absolutely slaughters one exact problem, and that is not reputation management. It's just- What do you call it?
Leonard: Reputation marketing.
Howard: Reputation marketing, not reputation management. So Leonard Lenny Tau, thank you so much for coming on the show today and talking to my homies and I hope you have a rocking hot day.
Leonard: Thank you very much, Howard. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me after three tries. We finally got it done. Thank you very much.
Howard: Oh, the honor is all mine. Thank you, Ryan. Bye bye, Len.
Leonard: Bye. Thanks, Ryan.