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    The top 10 developments in dental technology in 2017

    2017 has been a year of advancements ­— not in tools themselves, but in how they impact the industry.


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    6. Reputation management    

    The third most important thing that happened in tech this year for the dental industry, according to Noles, is that reputation management and the lab’s online presence is easier to control than ever. That’s good news for small labs like Keatings’. He knows how hard it is to market his practice to dentists. 

    “I always thought we had the best monolithic on the market, it’s just that a lot of dentists don’t know about us,” Keating says. “It’s amazing how hard it is to get to a dentist as a dental lab. It’s hard for the smaller labs to get their information out to a dentist. At trade shows, as a dental lab, you really don’t have anything to give a dentist other than information. You’re not selling anything. And most doctors aren’t going to a convention to look at a dental lab. So, you have to have the best products and the best service and people start to find you. 

    “Reputation management is so important, and not enough labs are doing it,” he adds. 

    Trending article: 10 reasons to be thankful for your lab's customers

    To incorporate that aspect of lab management into his own business, Noles has started working with a startup called LabWorthy, an online platform that collects customer reviews for labs and allows them to be found by dentists. 

    “They also give you something called net promoter score surveys, or NPS,” he says. “There is clearly a body of data that shows NPS can make a difference in a few different ways.” 

    NPS surveys group your customers into three categories depending on how they rate your business: 0-6 scorers are called “detractors,” 7-8 scorers “passives,” and 9-10 scorers “promoters” — that is, customers who are satisfied, loyal partners. The kind of customers who will be responsible for your business’s referrals. 

    “This company basically gives dental labs the survey and then you can get real-time data on how to improve the performance of your lab, or get real-time data so you can grow your business,” Noles says. “So, it’s this thing that’s not new, but is very new and innovative for the dental lab industry, which usually lags behind in this stuff. This is an example of harnessing the power of online reviews and reputation management that dental labs should be using. This is a tool they can use now.” 



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