I was listening to a radio story yesterday on the subject of the changing face of Dentistry in Australia.
The story raised the issue that consumers were going to suffer as a result of the increasing corporatisation of ownership of Dental Practices. The concern was raised that employed dentists working in these corporate owned offices would be remunerated on a bonus programme based on the more dentistry they drilled and billed, and that this would result in patients receiving more treatment than they should.
In general private practice, dentists are remunerated on what the patient pays for…. isn’t that the same playing field?
But I digress, because one interesting comment came from an employed dentist who worked two-part time jobs in two different corporate owned dental offices.
This dentist said that in one office he was required to work at a very exhaustive and hectic pace where he saw in excess of twenty-five patients each day. The dentist complained that at the end of each day there he struggled to remember who he saw and treated and what in fact he did for each patient, let alone have a conversation with a patient to find out who they were, what they did, and anything more about them.
In contrast, the dentist said that at the other corporate owned dental office he worked at a much more comfortable pace, with longer appointments and would see ten to twelve patients per day. The dentist commented that he earned less at the second dental office, but that he enjoyed it more there because he was able to spend time with each patient getting to know them and gaining their trust.
My opinion is this:
Giving it time, the second practice would end up being a far more profitable dental practice to be working in as the patients got to know the dentist better and gained some trust in him and some respect for him, because he was taking the time to get to know them.
In the first dental practice, the churn them and burn them approach does very little to produce customer loyalty and respect. It would be proven with time, that dental office number one would simply be a pickle factory with very little recognition of the practitioners by the customers. And as such, would be subject to the tidal effects of price consciousness and client dissatisfaction.
The problem is that when dentists get tricked into confusing activity and accomplishment, and they choose activity, then the simple things that create customer loyalty get sacrificed as being in the way and unnecessary.
The trouble with that mindset is that a significant number of customers will notice the less than favourable differences.
And those customers will choose to go elsewhere, where the fringe benefits are still apparent and the business takes its time…
Twenty to twenty five percent of the population still hate to feel rushed and still like the little extras, and it is this twenty percent of the population who will provide eighty percent of your income.
Your business cannot be everything to everybody.
But it can be everything to a significant number of somebodies, who will happily pay your prices to be treated well.
It can be done, and it can be done in every geographic location.
I hope for his sake that the young dentist interviewed learns the best part of his story is just in front of him, if he’s willing to “trust the force” and believe.
When you believe, things do happen. I’ve seen it time and time again.
You just need to believe….
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