Yiannokos July

Green dental offices: A perfect choice for our practices and the environment

July 2, 2013
Going green is an important move for any dental office

Due to the revolutionary technology that we use in our dental practices and the implementation of environmental regulations that we must follow, more and more dental offices are going green.

One of the questions that arises is, what marketing tactics will help us benefit from our green choices? My approach is a strong marketing tool called the 6 P's, which consists of 6 elements:

· Packaging the service
· Price
· Promotion
· Physical evidence
· People
· Process

Our challenge is to involve our environmental friendly approach in each element.

Let’s get specific:

1. Packaging the service — The goal in this “P” is to invest in materials and technology that are good for our patients and our planet. For example, the use of digital imaging has minimized patient radiation exposure up to 90% and has erased the need for using toxic X-ray development chemicals and film. Moreover, the sterilization of medical instruments by steam has the benefit of not using chemicals for the process. Other evidence of our environmentally sustainable practice is the application of nontoxic materials during our dental treatments, and special filters to collect the old mercury fillings.

2. Price — This “P” is our opportunity to show our differentiation point against our colleagues. We create additional value to our patients through our environmental friendly dental services without raising our rates. Our patients appreciate us more when they recognize how much we care about our planet.

CONSIDER READING:Bogobrush continues its quest for a completely biodegradable toothbrush
CONSIDER READING:Smiles for the People donates toothbrush for every one sold

3. Promotion — Our challenge is how much will our new green strategy integrate with our verbal and nonverbal communication with our patients? Our promotional items include nonplastic bags, green marketing in our website, the educational leaflets that we send to our patients, and use of our green trademarks in our emails after our signature (environmentally friendly clinic). We reduce paper use with double-sided copiers. We send our newsletters via email to minimize the need for printing, which reduces our carbon footprint. Additionally, we match our green marketing to our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, for example we donate money to environmental groups or help sponsor an event that supports the environment.

4. Physical evidence — We use low VOC paints, furnishings, and flooring made from natural materials, formaldehyde-free cabinetry, and biodegradable cleaning supplies. We reduce our energy consumption and thus minimize our costs through efficient lighting (compact fluorescent lights use two-thirds less energy and last 6 to 0 times longer than incandescent light bulbs). Proper placement of windows in our clinic allows in more sunlight, we’ve installed energy efficient A/C equipment, we use low cost passive infra reds to switch off lighting when areas such as toilets, corridors, or offices are unoccupied. We work with a company that gathers our clinic’s toxic waste weekly, and we use recycling bins rather than regular garbage bins for the recyclable supplies that we throw away.

5. People — Our staff must be aware and supportive of our new green approach, and their values should match the office’s eco-smart strategy. Imagine if a member of your staff doesn't care about the environment or does not want to participate in such a cause, how can this employee follow your environmental-friendly rules?

6. Process — The last element of the marketing mix is the process that we use in our practice in order to display our eco-smart existence. We confirm patient appointments via email or send their X-rays via the Internet. Also, we use an online process for appointments and payments, and we encourage patients to go digital when giving their medical and dental records.

Dentists should make green dentistry our competitive advantage. We cannot have a healthy economy with a destroyed planet!

Dr. Anna-Maria Yiannikos has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years in Cyprus, and she is a pioneer in the field of dental lasers and cosmetic dentistry. Her clinical research about dental lasers received a Golden Award in ISLD Congress in Berlin 2006. Dr. Yiannikos has two Masters Degrees, one in lasers (MSc.), and an MBA, and recently completed a Master Clinician Program in Aesthetic Dentistry at UCLA.