Growth & Gamification At The Dentist

Published by Danny Denhard on

Growth & Gamification At The Dentist

I recently went to the dentist for a chipped tooth, it started when we were in the middle of lockdown and unsurprisingly it is actually difficult to book a dentist appointment. 


The dentist was very well prepared for everything that was happening.


You rightly had to wear a mask, you had to sanitise your hands, you had a designated seating area with where you could sit and where you could not. There was a designated entrance and exit and the whole process ran very smoothly. 


Just before your appointment, the dental nurse would come out and take your temperature, pretty standard with the area in which they work in and around. 


As a person who likes to understand and breakdown processes, you weren’t always told your temperature and you will walk into your dentist not knowing how you ‘scored’, well unless you were too high and in which case you were sent home. 

Upon asking, thankfully this has not had to happen. 


As many of us have, I have struggled on and off with lockdowns, new processes and not understanding certain decisions and other peoples behaviours, one thing that it has given me is time and space to think more clearly and think about addressing problems or issues I see. 

The dentist trip was one experience that gave me yet another idea. 


Understanding Your Score 📈

The idea popped into my head that if you knew your temperature, you didn’t know how you scored or if you were low, average or high. 


We have been primed for understanding how we do vs another person. It is how a lot of are wired…and some always have to win. In this case, winning is being average or low not scoring the highest.  


The dentist practise logs all temperatures taken and thinking it through it would be super easy to anonymise data and having a daily, weekly and monthly average would be something that could be applied. Doing this whilst the seasons change and the weather becomes colder, might well help keep track of many things. 


The Idea 💡

I suggested to my dentist that if you were to have a scale (not a scoreboard, it would suggest higher is best) in the reception area, you could reduce the fear of your temperature and gamify it. Especially for those younger patients and the concerned, the dentist scares enough people let alone another thing to be worried about.

My temperature was early 36c’s which was fairly average. 


As a kid, visiting the dentist was a process, as a twin my brother and I had to go together and was a family checkup. We were always given a lolly and an A-Team sticker, as a reward for going.

That reward loop made sure we as the kids would keep going back and stay with that dentist for years to come. Retention 101.


As I said in retention growth ideas, retaining customers and helping them along the journey in a way that helps them first, will help you as a company retain the best customers and create loyalty.


Why not reward someone now with information and reduce the fear? Maybe too subtle of an idea but one that plays on everything we learn as Marketing leaders and in growth.


It made me think about how there could be feedback and rewards loops applied to this process.


Let’s face it, when we go to the dentist we tend to have to follow up with another appointment, if we knew we scored lower or kept a similar body temperature we would not be nervous, we would remember it and likely be a topic of conversation. 


I haven’t been back yet to see if this has been rolled out however it’s a simple exercise we can apply in other areas or visits that could be intimidating us. 


Why Is This Important? 🤔

By reducing the fear and increasing our ability to normalise the newer processes and behaviours, we can have a more positive experience. 


We will tell numerous of our network about the experience and provide some normality to new and well-thought-through processes and create a game with our friends and family. 


I believe there are many areas like this with a simple reframe or tweak we can apply marketing or growth mindset to help reduce fear in the time we need to most. 


We often forget to think about how we could apply Growth thinking or gamification to simple routine behaviours or importantly how we could use our skills to newer processes. 

We as humans are more predictable and conditioned than we think, if we can reward simple behaviours with the feedback we can normalise many things happening around us to reduce fear and normalise even brand new behaviour.  


Maybe the next time you go to an appointment or have your hair cut or see a doctor, there might be an optimisation or an opportunity to apply your skills and help to improve a new process or habit to help many others. 


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