According to research by LMT Magazine, more than half of dentists switched their primary lab in the last five years. The reasons cited for the change are no different from what you might find in any industry: Poor Quality, Prices too High, Poor Relationship/Communication, Slow Responsiveness or Turn-Around, and Errors. As an ACDLA member, we know you have already made a commitment to quality and service, but there are definitely additional steps you can take to win new customers and maintain your existing clients:
1) Provide Examples. Share with your existing and potential customers what you are doing with other customers provides credibility and may help you gain more business. In addition, be sure to take samples of your work with you on sales calls. While pictures are good, physical examples that the doctor can touch and examine will tell more about your quality claims than anything you can say.
2) Stay Connected. Regular mailings, and email messages, Social Media, and telephone calls are all ways to stay connected. You need to have a plan in place for being sure you speak or communicate regularly with your customers. If the only time you talk with them is when there is a problem, you are probably not going to keep that customer. If you aren’t talking with them, someone else probably is.
3) Become a Resource. In the LMT research cited above, 97% of doctors indicated they want and expect their lab partners to provide them with advice on everything from materials, restorative options, shade matching and impression taking techniques, plus new digital technology. ACDLA can be YOUR resource for information that you can use with your doctors.
4) Think Added Value. As an ACDLA member, you are already part of a unique association of labs. Our members have made a commitment to quality and service, desire to stay abreast of technology, and are agree not to supply restoratives made overseas. These are all ways to differentiate yourselves in the market. In addition, consider what additional benefits you can bring to your dentists. Are there marketing services you can offer? Is there access to information you can share? At ACDLA we believe labs who can bring additional value to their customers are going to have a leg up on the competition. Some of the ACDLA Sponsors offer promotional services, reduced prices on dental materials and more which might be great benefits you can offer your clientele.
Begin with quality and service, communicate early and often, become a trusted advisor, and bring your customers something extra. Follow these four steps and your business will benefit.