Extensive research across hundreds of dental practices has demonstrated that, simply with the right conditions in your waiting room, at least 40% more customers will treat themselves to lucrative private cosmetic procedures. What’s more, the entire patient experience improves.
You may ask how can we have a dramatic increase in sales, with no effort and at very little cost? Such statements inevitably invite scepticism and the very reasonable question: ‘What’s the catch?’
After all, selling more products and services without huge promotional budgets is the holy grail of business owners around the world, whether you’re Richard Branson or running a micro business. Companies investing nerve-wracking budgets have been satisfied with fractional increases in sales. So why is it different for orthodontists and dentists? And what is the catch?
Entertain, inform, influence
It has only become a business development dream for dentists very recently – and after detailed research. We now know that only 10% of patients read magazines or posters in waiting rooms – the traditional method of keeping customers ‘entertained’ (magazines) or informing them of products and services (posters). Far more enjoy watching a screen: it’s what we’re used to, now, thanks to TVs, PCs, mobile phones, tablets, Kindles and such like. However, a TV in the waiting room, broadcasting silent daytime TV or off-the-shelf dental videos, is far from stimulating and does little or nothing to encourage patients to consider additional treatments.
The answer is to use the screen to entertain, inform and influence: it’s what plays out which is the most important factor. Expertly crafted, it keeps customers happy and, on average, they buy 40-50% more treatments and products.
How it works
The service is aptly named SmileVision (it puts a happy smile on the faces of customers and orthodontists alike!).
SmileVision involves placing one or more modern media screens in patient contact areas. You can use an existing screen, if you have one, although the size, position and style of the screens are all factors in the success; we can advise you. The content is tailored specifically for each practice. It comprises a medley of short, high-quality, silent media productions, run continually throughout the day in a loop. The sequence of the medley is imperative and has been developed over seven years to reach the optimum in capturing and holding patients’ attention and encouraging them to take action.
One third of the loop involves TV-quality commercials for branded products which you probably sell at reception. Another third carries all-action excerpts from the latest film releases from Pixar and Disney: particularly pertinent for orthodontic practices, where the target market includes the parents of children attending for funded treatments.
The final third is dedicated to information and promotions for private treatments and expertise available at the practice. SmileVision doesn’t involve practice staff: it is remotely managed by a team of experts. It costs very little and can be branded to the individual orthodontist. Quite simply, there is no catch, and over 700 dental practices have already signed up for the service.
Statistics and results
On average, 86-91% of patients choose to watch the screens. They enjoy the experience, feel more informed and about half indicate intended behaviour change. Increases in sales of private and cosmetic treatments are, perhaps, the most interesting to the orthodontist. Typically, sales increase by 40-50%.
Product sales also normally soar by 40-50% during periods of promotion but in some cases sales have more than doubled: for example, sales of electronic toothbrushes rose by 107.3% during a three-month campaign across 250 practices. During another trial, two mouth rinses were promoted, each for a period of four weeks across 150 locations. Sales of the two products rose by 40 and 43% respectively. It’s not something for nothing, but it’s certainly an almost unbelievable return for very little.
Dan Durie is founder and managing director of Intentor Ltd, developers of SmileVision. Dan’s background is in IT and finance, and his special interest in digital media brings these two disciplines together, enabling businesses to harness the power of innovative technology to maximise their growth potential.