Inbound Marketing

How NPS takes your dental lab’s inbound marketing to the next level

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We’re big fans of inbound marketing. Using high-quality content that answers questions, solves problems, and leads your customers through the buyer’s journey is a smart, modern way to find new customers and build loyalty. And — if you couldn’t tell — we’re also big fans of the net promoter score (NPS). (You can read more about NPS and how it can grow your lab right here.)

But did you know that NPS and inbound marketing can work together to grow your lab faster and more efficiently? Inbound and NPS can exist in a symbiotic relationship. When done well, both flourish. You can use the insights from your NPS to refine your inbound marketing which will, in turn, improve your NPS.

Typical inbound marketing automation is fueled by customer behavior — what pages they’ve visited, forms they’ve filled out, actions they’ve taken to learn more about your company.  But NPS is based on an entirely different data set — how someone feels about your company and the services you provide. A customer can give you hints about what they think about your company with their actions, but with NPS surveys, they’re telling you exactly how they feel about you.

So, how can you use your NPS surveys to better guide your marketing automation?


Segmentation is everything

NPS gives you a quick and easy way to segment your customers: promoters, passives, and detractors. The content your detractors see from your company should probably be different from the content your promoters see, right?

For example, you can offer your promoters frequent opportunities to share content with their friends and colleagues, follow your lab on social media, or request they leave you a review.

Conversely, you can offer detractors an opportunity to unsubscribe and clear your list of people who are just dragging down your stats anyway. Your unsubscribe page can also be an opportunity to win them back — offer them an opportunity to give you feedback on how your lab could do better.

What about passives? They’re a little trickier. It may take a little bit of trial and error, but the goal is to find out what delights this bunch. Maybe a special offer or a piece of premium content (without making them fill out a form)? Get creative, give it a shot, and be patient.

You can also use your inbound marketing software to create “smart” lists that automatically add a customer into the correct segmented list based on their behavior. This will make your marketing automation more accurate over time.


A zero detractor and a six detractor are not one in the same

Openview Labs says you should take your segmentation of your detractors even further. Someone who ranks your company at a zero (an almost certain candidate for churn)  is going to be a very different person than the one who ranks your company at a six — someone who could become a passive, or even a promoter, given the right customer service attention.

Dive deeper into your customer data to identify what makes a zero customer different from a six customer, as well as which detractors are of value to your business. Not every customer will be the ideal fit for business, and that’s OK — you can learn a lot from them to help refine your marketing efforts, too. But once you find which detractors are of value, you can take steps to find out what they want or need in order to improve their experience.


Measure, segment, nurture, measure again

Neither NPS nor inbound marketing are magic pills that will transform your business overnight. It’s a constant rinse, refine, repeat process that will only make you better over time:

  • Conduct an NPS survey
  • Segment each respondent into the correct group:
    • Promoter
    • Passive
    • Detractor
      • Your almost-passive detractors
      • Your near-guaranteed churn detractors
    • Nurture each group to meet their needs and delight
      • Promoters:
        • Thank them for being great customers
        • Offer them something special to show your appreciation
        • Ask them to tell their friends and colleagues about how awesome you are
      • Passives:
        • Dig into the data to figure out how to delight them
        • Offer them something special
        • Get creative
      • Detractors:
        • Get in touch and find out how you can do better
        • Offer an unsubscribe option
      • Conduct another NPS survey

It’s certainly not a set-it-and-forget-it solution— it’s a long-term process. But, when done strategically, will lead to long-term, sustainable growth.

Do you want to learn how to use Net Promoter Score to grow your lab’s revenue 2X faster than your competitors? Click here to sign up for a free trial. Or schedule a meeting with LabWorthy Founder, John Schwartz to learn more!

5 things every dental lab needs to understand to achieve its growth goals

5 Things Every Dental Lab Needs to Achieve its Growth Goals

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Our friends at LabStar recently invited us to give a webinar presentation on boosting sales and increasing customer loyalty with the power of a Net Promoter Score (NPS). Click here to check out the recording! (And click here to find more great webinars from LabStar.)

We wanted to pass along some of the valuable takeaways from that presentation that will help you achieve your growth goals.


1. Dental labs are facing three main challenges that are preventing growth.

One of the biggest challenges is customer acquisition costs. Thanks to competition, DSO aggregation, and dealer demands, the costs associated with acquiring new customers is rising across the industry.

A potentially larger problem is the dreaded customer churn. A certain portion of your customers are leaving you annually, and if you don’t identify the causes and slow your churn, you’ll never reach your growth goals.

The third challenge is that many companies aren’t measuring their customer loyalty against industry benchmarks. And if you’re not measuring it, you’re not managing it, right?


2. Lower prices and increased marketing and sales aren’t always the solutions.

Contrary to what many believe, cost is not the biggest factor when it comes to customer loyalty. Price cuts often lead to a race to the bottom with your competition — someone will always find a way to go lower, and no one wins. Quality and the customer relationship will always win out, but both will suffer with a price cut.

Marketing and sales are important — don’t get us wrong. But throwing more money at this problem will only lead to further increasing your customer acquisition costs.

3. One question can be the key to increasing customer loyalty, decreasing churn, and attracting new customers. Yes, just one question.

And that question is: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this lab to a friend or colleague?

How your customers answer this question will give you valuable insight into your lab’s predicted growth rate for the foreseeable future. This is called a net promoter score (NPS), and it segments your customers into three loyalty groups:

  • 0-6: Detractors
  • 7-8: Passives
  • 9-10: Promoters

Your “score” is equal to your percentage of Detractors subtracted from your percentage of Promoters.

% of Promoters – % of Detractors = NPS

On average, an industry’s NPS leader outgrew its competitors by a factor greater than two times.

The dental lab industry average NPS is 41.


4. Labs must “weaponize” their Promoters while identifying Detractors in order to achieve growth.

Promoters are your best friends. They’re thrilled with the products and service they’ve received, and they’re loyal to your brand. And the best part of all: they’re telling their friends and colleagues about you. Word-of-mouth is the most valuable marketing tool, so it’s important to make it easy for them by offering referral incentives. You can also thank them for their loyalty and ask that they leave you a review. Then sit back and watch these customers turn into your best salespeople.

On the other side of the spectrum are your Detractors — they’re not big fans, to say the least. And worse, they’re telling their friends and colleagues about you and the negative experiences they’ve had. These customers have a 40-50% chance of bailing on you in the next 90 days.

The good news is that your Detractors are not a lost cause. You still have a chance to turn it around, but you have to do it quickly. If you can identify your Detractors and address their issues in a timely manner, you have a good chance to prevent them from churning.

But it’s important to remember a few things in this process:

  • Listen first. Act second.
  • Respond in a professional manner.
  • Follow up more than once.

There are also opportunities in the Passives group. They’re commonly new customers, so they haven’t had enough interaction to come to a solid conclusion about your work. Use your NPS data to understand their needs and gain their loyalty.


5. Tracking your NPS over time can help identify trends and find your ideal customers.

Keeping an eye on your NPS data can tell you a lot about your business and your customers. What do your Promoters have in common? What do they love about you? Where and how did you go above and beyond for these customers? Use this information to create an ideal customer persona and target similar prospects with future marketing and sales efforts.

What do your Detractors have in common? Are there any common complaints? What can your lab do better to improve customer service for these customers? These answers will help decrease your percentage of Detractors and your churn over time.

Do you want to learn how to use Net Promoter Score to grow your lab’s revenue 2X faster than your competitors? Click here to sign up for a free trial. Or schedule a meeting with LabWorthy Founder, John Schwartz to learn more!

Sign up for your FREE NPS Score Now

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld


3 Ways Churn is Destroying your Dental Lab

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Churn sucks.    

In the brilliant Mad Men, Don Draper famously presents one of the dark realities of the ad business to his protege, Pete: the day a new client is signed, it is literally the beginning of the end.  Don trafficked in the darkness of a specific world view, but the grim universal truth is that no customer is as loyal as you would like to think.  Here’s my corollary for the dental lab industry:

If you think you have loyal customers and your business is not growing year over year, you don’t have loyal customers.  

Most dental labs have no idea how loyal their customers are.  Each year customers disappear — good customers.  And then owners are forced to fill these holes by doubling down on sales, cutting prices, maybe opening a no-frills product line.  The process continues to repeat the next year with more churn.  Churn kills slowly over time and it forces dental labs to make bad decisions.  Here are 3 of the most common and preventable (read to the end!) ways dental labs drive churn:  


#1 Not identifying at-risk customers early enough

By the time you notice that their case volume has dipped, it’s too late.  Case volume is a trailing indicator of loyalty and it means this customer is already sending cases to other labs.  The key is to identify and engage the customer before they make the choice to trial another lab.


#2 Dismissing churn as price driven

It’s not.  Not every dentist that tells you it’s about price is telling you the truth.  Another way to think about the price objection is like telling the person you are breaking up with “it’s not you, it’s me”.  It’s a convenient lie that typically ends the conversation with ambivalence on both sides. Or the salesperson agrees to cut a deal and now you definitely have a customer based solely on price.  And the problem with a customer based solely on price is that the customer will churn when a better price appears elsewhere.  If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, everyone faces this one.  But know that you have choices.

Flip the conversation from price to value and ask questions — there is likely another reason the customer is leaving — especially if it’s a $10 differential on a crown.  I know this sounds like a simple approach, but what if you really applied it?  What if you also measured it across your team and discussed it weekly?  You will also want to make sure you have a robust CRM to track these conversations over time and provide visibility to all team members working on that account. Hubspot actually provides a free CRM that is pretty amazing (full disclosure: Hubspot is part of our tech stack at LabWorthy).  Pipedrive and Salesforce are also popular — just make sure your solution is cloud-based so you can access it easily.       


#3 Confusing history with loyalty

Just because you have customers that have worked with you for 20 or 30 years does not mean they are loyal to you today.  Just ask the former execs at Blockbuster…they had loyalty cards too.  Or all the people who used to buy books or really anything in physical stores that now use Amazon.  I am sure all of those small businesses assumed their customers were loyal. And they were… right up until they weren’t.  Our friend, Don Draper, would remind you that your customers are merely on an angsty slide from awesome to out-the-door.  

Net Promoter Score is a leading indicator for customer loyalty

But, how do you identify the tipping point for that customer who is about to bolt?  How do you know when they are in trouble?  You ask them a simple question…

“How likely are you to refer my lab to a friend or colleague (on a scale of 1-10)?”

The responses you get will neatly segment your customers by loyalty:

Promoters (9, 10):

Brand advocates will tell their friends about your dental lab.  They have real passion for your brand.

Passives (7,8):

These are your “satisfied” customers, but they are tricky because their loyalty can be easily swayed by better prices or offers.  They are not passionate about your brand or service.

Detractors (0-6):

Unhappy customers that hurt your business by sharing their thoughts with colleagues.  They are most vulnerable to churn.  The good news is that if identified early and engaged, there is a good chance you can save them and move them up the loyalty chain.

Imagine being able to segment your entire customer base into these three loyalty buckets — you would be able to immediately address the concerns of your Detractors and leverage the positive sentiment of your Promoters to acquire new customers, thereby reducing your cost per acquisition in the process.  You would have a growth machine.


Net Promoter Scores Correlate Positively with Business Growth

According to Bain & Company:

In most industries, Net Promoter Scores explained roughly 20% to 60% of the variation in organic growth rates among competitors. On average, an industry’s Net Promoter leader outgrew its competitors by a factor greater than two times.

Because NPS helps you drive new customers AND save existing customers (vs. your traditional churn model), it leads to significant growth opportunities for dental labs that apply it.  Loyal customers tell their colleagues about your business. It’s estimated that every 5 Promoters you have will deliver 1 new customer (20%).  Along with your ability to spot at-risk customers, this turns revenue growth from linear to exponential.  

We will explain this in depth in a future blog post, but here is a graph tracking a hypothetical lab with an average annual customer spend of $24K that is churning 10% of its customers annually and adding 12% back through sales (blue line).  The red line represents what can happen when that lab adds an NPS program to identify and nurture detractors and promoters over time–before they churn:

Does your lab face any of these struggles with churn?  How are you addressing it currently?  Feel free to share in the comments section or email me directly at:  I enjoy a good discussion!  If you would like a complimentary NPS survey delivered to all of your customers, we would be happy to help!

Sign up for your FREE NPS Score Now

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld


How to Communicate with Your Dental Lab

How to Communicate With Your Dental Lab

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Have you heard this one?

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

It’s a deep cut from Tolstoy and referred to as the “Anna Karenina principle.” It refers to how poor performance in any one of a number of categories can kill an entire relationship. You might also know it as the reason you left your last dental lab. Lab expense can be the second biggest line item for dentists monthly—it’s why nailing the relationship with your lab matters. About 22 percent of dentists switch labs because of poor communication. Read More

How to Grow Your Dental Lab with Reviews

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Your Dental Lab Needs Reviews to Grow

There’s a lot to be anxious about if you own a dental lab these days — offshoring, technology, cheap crowns and price-sensitive dentists… the list goes on.  If you lose business to competition, it’s difficult to replace without investing even more money in direct marketing.  It’s a vicious and costly cycle.  But that’s not really the whole picture as labs can tell you that have wasted thousands of dollars in flashy “marketing campaigns”.  It doesn’t matter how much you spend…somebody has to vouch for you.   Read More

Why should you leave dental lab reviews?

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Dentists spend $5.4 billion annually with their labs. That’s a big investment.  But, unlike most mature service industries, there has been no way to rate, review, and search for dental labs.  There has only been word of mouth.  But what if the best lab for a dentist is across the country?  This has always puzzled me, and I have been in the industry for 15 years.

So, I built LabWorthy.   Read More