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Gift card offer leads to smile reminder purchase

June 25, 2013
Free $10 Starbucks gift card! This is all it took to get me to take the online demo of Smile Reminder.

by Michael DiTolla, DDS, FAGD

Free $10 Starbucks gift card! This is all it took to get me to take the online demo of Smile Reminder. Once a month, I'm asked to fill out an online survey for which the soliciting company will send me a $5 check. Don't bother. I don't want to walk it over to the bank.

But a $10 Starbucks gift card? A staff member goes to one of the company's drive-through locations every day on her way to work. Well played, Smile Reminder.

What started off as a demo turned into a purchase just 10 minutes later when I saw the platform's mind-boggling suite of features (Fig. 1). These features address everything from reducing no-shows with messaging, to filling late cancellations, to sending targeted e-mail campaigns based on patient surveys.

A good survey to send out would be one that asks patients if their spouse snores. The second question would ask if they would be interested in a nonsurgical method to stop the snoring. We have been asking these questions on health histories for years but can never harness the power of the answers. With Smile Reminder, we can now send a targeted email to patients whose spouses snore, and let them know we have a new snoring appliance available.

The software gives dentists and staff the ability to record custom video birthday greetings to send to patients. This is a surprisingly easy way to stand out from the crowd with pre-printed postcards of Garfield holding a lasagna birthday cake. Timely reference, I know.

You can even track your online reputation as the Smile Reminder software finds positive and negative reviews on the top 20 review sites patients might use. It identifies the sites where you need more positive reviews to counterbalance any negative reviews. The software invites patients to write reviews, and will post them to the sites where your online reputation needs a boost.

The electronic "recare" feature (Fig. 2) alone pays for the service. This feature automatically contacts patients who do not have an appointment and are past their recall frequency, pulling the data from your practice management software. We use Henry Schein's Dentrix®, and the front office loves it. It shows a live update of each patient's preapproved CareCredit amount.

Smile Reminder's fixed price guarantee is also a refreshing approach I wish other vendors would take. Dentists who signed up for Smile Reminder years ago are still paying the same price today. I like knowing what my monthly flat fee will be, and that there will be no surprises down the road.

I left out about 50 other functions that makes this powerful software shine. So it's time to put down the magazine and go get your Starbucks gift card. For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/smilereminder.

Michael DiTolla, DDS, FAGD, is the director of clinical research and education at Glidewell Laboratories in Newport Beach, Calif. He lectures nationwide on both restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. DiTolla has several free clinical programs available on DVD through Glidewell Laboratories or online at www.glidewelldental.com.

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