Many of us have heard of — and perhaps even used — 1-800-Dentist, the free national phone service that connects patients with vetted dentists in their local area. This enterprise was so successful that Larry Twersky, the former president of 1-800-Dentist, decided to do it again, but this time with a different customer in mind: snorers.
In 2010, Twersky founded 1-800-Snoring to help chronic snorers get a better night’s sleep. Snoring is often seen simply as an annoyance to spouses, partners or family members of snorers, but Twersky said sleep-related breathing disorders can be potentially fatal conditions. Sleep apnea, for example, can cause the sufferer to stop breathing for up to ten seconds, increasing the risk of health complications including cardiovascular issues and hypertension.
“There are millions of Americans suffocating themselves every night without even knowing,” said Twersky. “There are serious long-term ramifications to not getting treatment from this condition."
Commitment to service
Like 1-800-Dentist, 1-800-Snoring was created to accomplish one goal: to provide people with high-quality care from doctors in their area. To that end, part of the company’s business plan includes hosting seminars and Web presentations to further educate its dental and medical professionals about snoring and sleep apnea issues so they can better help patients who use the service. To ensure that all facets of sleep apnea care are included in its service, 1-800-Snoring is also maintains working relationships with sleep labs, cardiologists, pulmonologists, home sleep testing companies, medical equipment providers, manufacturers of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilators, and the American Academy of Sleep Apnea.
Twersky’s business model is effective because it's designed to fill a void in the medical business.
“A practitioner’s office cannot promote themselves on the level they need to get the word out about sleep apnea, its side effects, and what dental options are available for treatment,” Twersky told BusinessNewsDaily. “This is where our service comes in.”
1-800-Snoring offers a cooperative marketing program for medical and dental professionals who want to offer their services. Each member pays a monthly fee to 1-800-Snoring, and with that money, the company is able to run advertisements and send out promotional materials. When potential patients call, the company matches them with a provider who can treat their specific needs and takes their insurance, and transfers them directly to the provider at no cost to the callers. 1-800-Snoring does not make money per referral. However, its member doctors recognize the value of the company’s service.
“It costs a lot of money to create commercials, and having the members share in these costs as a group allows them to reach a public in need of their services who would have no other way to know about it,” Twersky said.
Since its launch less than a year ago, 1-800-Snoring has already had thousands of calls each month and tens of thousands of inquiries on its website from patients in need of a solution to their snoring. Twersky attributes his early success to the support from 1-800-Dentist in helping to create momentum for the new business .
“We were provided with the call center, media buying and technical support for the first six months,” said Twersky. “Thus I was given the opportunity to put in the time and money necessary to launch the new brand and create an impact in the new industry.”
One major obstacle that Twersky’s company faced at the beginning was making callers understand that their condition was potentially fatal without scaring them off. Overcoming this challenge required a more personal, sensitive touch in fielding calls. The operators at 1-800-Snoring ask questions about the patient to discover the nature of his or her condition, and without giving medical advice, help the patient understand how dangerous snoring and sleep apnea is. The company also began taking calls during evening hours in order to reach even more people, many of whom, according to Twersky, find 1-800-Snoring in the middle of the night.
As someone whose father suffered from sleep apnea, Twersky is dedicated to raising awareness about sleep-disordered breathing and helping others relieve the physical, mental and emotional stress associated with it.
“Snoring and sleep apnea affects families. Besides health consequences, these conditions can damage marriages, relationships and work performance,” Twersky said.