Alan Halls DMD
Alan Halls DMD
As a dentist and software developer, I often get asked technical questions regarding how technology can help an office overcome certain challenges, as well as advice regarding hardware and software for their office. Enjoy and comment.
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How can the most advanced patient communication service be only $50/month

4/15/2019 9:20:14 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 134

This is perhaps one of the top concerns for many offices looking at sign up with, and I completely understand. Let me address this in the best way I can.

The short version is that through experience and leveraging technology, ReminderDental minimized overhead in every area that didn’t affect performance. By doing so ReminderDental provides superior service at a lower price that it’s competitors. 

Now the longer version. 

If I were looking for an endo handpiece and there where several brands to choose and most were $2000-4000, or this other one that was only $250, I'll admit, I would be pretty skeptical. I would assume that there was some catch. Maybe it only worked with super expensive consumables, or would only work once a day, or something that made it worth less than all the others.

Like this, I know that your patient communication is a BIG deal to you. This represents the first line defense of keeping your chairs full, freeing up time for the front office staff, and providing critical information to keep things running smoothly. If it is so important, why don't I charge more for it?

Something I learned early in life was the phrase "Excess profits breads ruinous competition". Because of this, I believe that the cost of any service should be proportional to the cost of providing that service and have always worked to bring down costs.

For most appointment reminder companies, the main costs are typically:

  • Costs associated with supply of goods 
  • Product Development 
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Product Support

Let's face it, the cost of sending text messages, emails and placing phone calls, or in other words our "Supplies" aren't that expensive. In fact the average cost is about $7/month per office and will go even lower in the future.

Unlike a receptionist answering the phones where answering the phone on Tuesday has no effect on Wednesday, software development is also something that only needs to be done once for each solution.  Also, to some degree, it doesn't matter to our servers whether we have 5 offices, 500, or 50,000. In technology, things continuously get easier to do over time. What may have cost us $2,000,000 to build may only cost someone $50,000 in a few years. Because of this, including development costs into the monthly price is not an ideal way to establish prices.

If ReminderDental had used development costs to set prices and someone else comes in with a similar service but with lower development costs, we couldn't compete. It is also why we will continue to improve our product day after day. While this isn't the place to discuss all the features we have that exceed those of our competition, a superior and more flexible service is our main focus. Second to that would be expanding our services so offices will no longer need to use a reminder service, a review management service, and a statistics service.

I will also say that being first to market isn't necessarily an advantage. I had the benefit of being able to visit in person with many offices to find what the liked, and what they didn't like about their current services before ever getting started. This creates a product with more "vision" with less patchwork producing a more polished final product than could have been done by the trailblazers.

Once a company has figured out their supply chain, their product development, it is time to sell. A sales staff is expensive. It is actually probably the #1 expense in a company such as ours. A good salesman will always have stars in their eyes with visions of making hundreds of thousands by selling your product. The only way they get a good commission is if your product generates enough profit to share generously. Once you build a company that relies on this model, it is hard to change. A sales staff doesn't typically lead to any customer loyalty, nor will it allow your company to adjust to shifting market forces as the prices in your industry fall.

An alternate way is to grow through word of mouth. Rather than pay a sales staff high commissions and residual income, I can provide the service to the customers at the same cost that would have been our profit with the sales team and let your customers positive reviews be your sales force. As I said, our low price is one of our potential customer's greatest concerns, but when our customers come by referral, this isn't the case. It actually removes objections and creates loyalty. Nearly 30% of our customers have never used any other reminder service because they were all too expensive.

A referral driven company starts slower than one driven by a sales team making thousands of calls per week, but once going becomes an unstoppable force. With a great service, lower overhead, and loyal customers, a company such as this can adapt to any changes in the market.

Of course you also want to know you get product support. At ReminderDental, Google's Gmail service has always been an inspiration, which is why we do that differently as well.  Call another appointment reminder company and you will get a "Product Support Specialist", which really just means someone that knows how to navigate the menus for you. If you have a problem, suggestions, or if things aren't working right, they can try to help navigate you around the problem, or make a note of it for someone else. To me that is a waste of money. If the something isn't working properly for you, it likely isn't working properly for every other customer. I don't want to help you navigate around that problem, I understand if something went wrong, or simply needs to be clarified and fix it. This is why our first line support staff are also software developers / engineers.

Management is important, it provides direction, vision and consistency. It also, like sales, doesn't have a lot of value to a customer once the account is set up. At ReminderDental, all members work together in software development to bring a unified solution.

With a lean operation, eliminating waste, ReminderDental stands to be the patient communication product of choice now, and in the future.

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