Dental Rewards: A Toothsome Proposition in Loyalty


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Dental Rewards: A Toothsome Proposition in Loyalty

Say 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.

What do you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bryan Pearson
Retail and Loyalty-Marketing Executive, Best-Selling Author
With more than two decades experience developing meaningful customer relationships for some of the world’s leading companies, Bryan Pearson is an internationally recognized expert, author and speaker on customer loyalty and marketing. As former President and CEO of LoyaltyOne, a pioneer in loyalty strategies and measured marketing, he leverages the knowledge of 120 million customer relationships over 20 years to create relevant communications and enhanced shopper experiences. Bryan is author of the bestselling book The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy


  1. Bryan: I think this is an example of how far we haven’t come, and an equally compelling example – a veritable ‘poster child’, in fact – for why commercial marketing practices don’t belong anywhere near health care.

    Full disclosure: I have a few dentists in my immediate family, and this is a topic near and dear to my heart. As I recall hearing vividly during many dinner table conversations, “the patient has little idea about the quality of the dental work he or she is receiving, only that it doesn’t hurt.” I heard countless stories about patients who had shoddy work done elsewhere, but were delighted because the restoration was inexpensive and didn’t cause a lot of post-procedural pain. “Like!” – Who finds that kind of feeback helpful? The dentist who performed the procedure, for sure. But it’s horribly misleading if you’re considering which dentist to choose for a surgery you might live with for 10 years or longer, or might end up disfiguring you if done improperly.

    Most concerning to me is the “‘dental practice analysis’ that uses a dental office’s data to identify opportunities and increase income.” This sounds perilously close to how pharmaceutical companies got into trouble by giving physicians spiffs to prescribe their drugs. “Mr. Rudin, I strongly recommend this oral cancer screening package. We have it on special this month! I know your dental insurance doesn’t cover it, but if I sell 40 of these, my wife and I get an all expenses paid trip to Martinique.” Yuck. Rinse, and spit.

    How can you find out about the best dentists and other specialists, such as periodontists and orthodontists? Ask a medical practitioner that you trust. They know. Find out who they go to. But please, please, whatever you do, don’t choose a dentist because he or she has a lot of ‘likes’ on a Facebook page, or a nifty website. You’re only asking for trouble.

    The best way for medical and dental practices to improve loyalty? I know one – deliver the right patient outcomes. And leave social media buzz and marketing glitz to nail salons and dry cleaning establishments.


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