Service Versus Price: A Dental Perspective

Ever go into a big box store and look around for a service person to help you, and then after having no luck in this endeavor, send out a search party (on Sahara-tested camels) to find one? While this is barely an exaggeration, it shows what happens when you let price and volume take over from service and quality.

Obviously, there are some big boxes that do a better job than others, but as the old adage goes - there is only so much milk you can put in a gallon jug. Dental marketing is no different. Actually, most dentists know this is true for their delivery of dental care as well. Every dental practice has a level of service, which determines what their dental patients can access.

A simple way to express these limitations is the days and hours a dentist practices or how long or short consultations with the dentist are. Lowering prices at some point means reduced service capabilities no matter how long the practice is open or how much the patient sees their dentist. The limitations might come in how nice the environment is, what technology is available, what kind of dental lab they use or how well the dentist is trained.

My business also has certain limitations. However, few are related to service. While I can try to get the lowest priced vendor for the dental marketing I do for my dentist clients, to offer prices low enough to standout I would need to flat line my service strategy, creating a very rigid structure.

The rigidity of the low price dental marketer is centered around flexibility (lack of it). Unless you purchase exactly what the low priced marketer offers - with maybe a few minor customized elements - the marketer cannot provide the service (at anywhere near the price advertised). Let alone help you (the dentist) with a tangential dental marketing need.

Dentists who are looking for one marketing product, want the lowest price, and have no need for advice can use these services to meet some goals. However, many dentists want to navigate many marketing concepts and challenges at one time and will struggle to meet any longtime goals using these limited groups.

The biggest reason these groups fail dentists is because they perceive dentists as the same: "Our concept works for all dentists." That is like saying one form of TMJ treatment works for everyone. After the meds wear off, the pain will be back.

Unfortunately, these limited groups often do not get dentists the right "therapy" for many reasons including...
  • There is already heavy competition using the same (often generic) method in the dentist's area
  • The method while "cool" and having gains in other industries, is not as valid for dentistry
  • There are not enough "ready" dental patients viewing/listening to/or receiving that media
There is already one way to get all the dental patients you need: The Yellow Pages! Before your local rep sells you that bridge, we should talk.

Dental Marketing Commentary by Dick Chwalek
Dental Marketing Consultant
Niche Dental President-Owner

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