Digital tools that boost cosmetic treatment enquiries

Not only do they please your customers, they’re also your best sales ambassadors – with no salary or commission required. Dan Durie explores the latest tools already being exploited by over 1500 UK dental practices

Put your posters and leaflets in the recycling bin. They fail to engage your customers, they’re very old-fashioned – and they’re standing in the way of your enjoying a 40 per cent (plus) uplift in private sales.

Over recent years, across the country, increasing numbers of practices have implemented a new, specialist approach to keeping patients occupied while they wait and educating them about oral aesthetics. Played out over modern screens positioned in areas of high patient traffic – most notably, the waiting room and reception areas – the new approach is to broadcast a series of short, high-quality, digital promotions.

A tried and tested trio

The channel (tailored individually to a practice or group of practices) typically comprises of a mix of expertly-produced content. Approximately one third is devoted to educational information including dental products such as branded rinses, brushes and flosses sold at reception, retailing of which can enhance practice profits as well as encouraging oral hygiene. Another third is given to entertainment unrelated to dentistry, such as daily news, sport and extracts from the latest films releases. The final third involves the element which pays the biggest financial dividends for the practice: attractive, TV-quality promotions for private cosmetic dental treatments.

Multiple different clips from each of the three elements are carefully interspersed to maintain credibility, attention and patients’ interest. All the production and programming are updated remotely by a team of experts.

The results

The results are now well-researched and documented. On average, 86-91 per cent of patients watch the screens. This compares very favourably with the less than 10 per cent who read posters or magazines. It also creates a far better chance of the practice benefiting from the 80:20 rule: 80 per cent of custom comes from 20 per cent of customers, so it’s important to influence as many of that 20 per cent as possible.

Patients report they actively enjoy the screen experience and about half indicate an intended change in behaviour. In terms of treatment booking uplifts, in a trial across 150 practices, purchases of teeth whitening treatments increased by 43 per cent during periods of on screen activity and promotion.

The fact that the service is managed remotely means practice staff have no involvement – the screens are even switched on and off automatically at the beginning and end of each day. However, key personnel should carefully monitor the effects of the on-screen promotions, mainly the increases in enquiries for respective products and treatments, to ensure maximum gain. The service can also be used to test interest in new services or new products stocked: changes can be made to an individual programme with only 24 hours’ notice, with promotions created and branded at a fraction of the cost of advertising agency rates.

In an economy where many businesses are losing the fight for consumer budgets, it is almost unbelievable that such an inexpensive, unobtrusive approach is not only improving customer experience but significantly and almost effortlessly escalating product and treatment enquiries.

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