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Dental Rewards: A Toothsome Proposition in Loyalty

tooth illustrationSay the word “dentist” and people are more apt to get sweaty palms than to applaud. But with some loyalty initiatives, they may be able to fill in those worrisome gaps.

Recently I read how the company eTrove is launching a loyalty program for dental offices that rewards patients for ‘liking’ or posting on the office’s social media profile. The eTrove program, which operates on a mobile platform, details the practice’s social media performance, including stats, feedback and participation levels, on a dashboard. Patients can also manage their membership via smartphone, and points are delivered automatically.

The goal is to empower dental practices to expand their online presence and better engage with patients. This is a great step, but if you drill down deeper into the patient relationship, I think there also are behind-the-social-scene ways that medical practices can improve loyalty. Among them: Why not join a supplier’s loyalty program?

In my book, “The Loyalty Leap for B2B,” I actually used a dental supplier’s loyalty program as an example of how to create relevance with dental offices and their patients.

The first step is understanding the doctor’s touch points. What if she has a dental degree but specializes in cosmetic dentistry, not teeth cleaning? If the supplier wants to capture her interest (and help her better serve her patients), it will need to engage her with a different suite of products from a dentist who deals mainly with cavities. Her specialty changes which incentives, including discounts on equipment rentals or extended warranties, will be useful to her and ideally her patients.

Henry Schein Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of health-care products and services, is a good example. It operates a program called Privileges, which gives points toward personal rewards such as small appliances or vacation getaways, as well as offers for office supplies. Its website serves as an exclusive portal where registered members can track their points, find complimentary invitations to events, and cut costs through member-only special pricing. Further, its sales reps could perform a “dental practice analysis” that uses a dental office’s data to identify opportunities and increase income through coding corrections, hygiene changes, technology investments and other activities designed to improve patient relations.

Schein essentially built a value exchange in which data is accumulated and used to generate engagement with its medical customers, who in return share more data. And the cycle continues, enabling them to improve their practices in many ways.

That last step is among the most important when operating a successful loyalty initiative – the feedback mechanism. Be sure the goals are brushed up regularly; I’d say every six months.

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