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Northeast Delta Dental – How Being Relentless Creates 70 Percent Market Share

The biggest problem of many CEO’s is that they are not relentless when it comes to customer service. The exception to the rule is Tom Raffio, President of Northeast Delta Dental since 1990.

I have been following Tom since 1990 and since I have known him one thing stands out to me and that is that he is relentless. The results of his relentless pursuit of customer service speak volumes and they are AWESOME!

Readers have asked me for examples of smaller firms that are service leaders and the perfect example is Northeast Delta Dental with 182 full-time employees.

In 2019, Northeast Delta Dental spent $203,645 on employee training; or 1.4% of payroll. This represents an investment of $1,140 in training for each full-time employee. Amazing!

This is a dental insurance company in 3 states, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. They have 3 customers:

  1. The company that buys their insurance plan.
  2. The employee at the company who uses their dental insurance.
  3. The dentist who they partner with.

Market share in New Hampshire is 70%, Vermont 60% and Maine 50%. They are retaining well over 97% of their customers.

Tom moved in 1996 from Delta Dental of Massachusetts to become President of Northeast Delta Dental. In 1990 he helped to start the Guarantee of Service Excellence (GOSE) and then made some minor changes and rolled it out with his new company. He increased revenue from $57,559,309 million in 1995 to $399,120,213 in 2019 and $(2,128,266) net loss. The loss is because of million-dollar donations related to dental school scholarships and other oral health philanthropic initiatives. Raffio said, “Giving back to the community. We are so well reserved (surplus), that they can easily afford to ‘lose’ money by philanthropic donations. More of an investment in our oral health mission.”

They now have 457,717 primary subscribers representing more than 930,000 covered individuals by the end of 2019.

This is a non-profit. The Reserves/Surplus was $8,573,838 when Raffio started. At the end of 2019 the Reserves/Surplus was $137,998,020. They invest in technology and excellence in customer service.

Northeast Delta Dental is committed to providing extraordinary service to all customers including purchasers made up of employers, unions, associations, individual product buyers, government and municipal workers; subscribers who are covered through purchaser groups; and providers or dentists. To emphasize its commitment, it guarantees seven major areas of service and reinforces them with its comprehensive refund policy. To view the Guarantee click here.

Northeast Delta Dental has retained 100 percent of its largest purchasers (all three state accounts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and typically more than 95 percent of all other purchasers for the past eleven years.

No competitor has copied its service guarantee. Most are looking for ways to work with Northeast Delta Dental.

This is their payout for 2019:

Year Refunds Average Refund Total Refunds
1999 23 $44.96 $1,033.59

If you want to see each year visit our website.

Here I showed their first year in 1996 and results for 2019. This is the only company I know of in the world that puts their money on the line instead of baloney.